Positive Thinking About the Future

Today I spoke with someone who was developing project-based work in artificial intelligence (AI) projects, pre-college experiences in AI, and AI careers and ventures. The company teaches people to harness technology for social good. Projects are technology-based, but they serve the public in some way. The representative attended Stanford, well known for its forward-thinking programs in technology and for its design thinking. Sometimes when you hear about these things, it feels like someone is speaking a different language. What does the future look like?
Now is the time for us, as adults, to practice some positive thinking about the future, and to convey that interest and intrigue with children. The future will be different, as it always is, but we are in a paradigm shift that includes discussions of a metaverse. If you do not know about that, it is worth Googling it! We need to stay informed, stay open-minded, and be supportive so that we can equip ourselves for the future but also encourage our young people to embrace opportunities, new skill sets, and even the possibility of designing their own jobs.  

If you would like to take a peek at the future, please stream “The Future of Work” on PBS.  It is a three-part series, edited in part by our graduate, Cliff Birbrower ’88, and it explains things like the “Gig Economy,” how robots and AI will impact our lives, and other topics. I suspect that you will find it fascinating and it will also help you to have conversations about the future that might have more vibrancy and hope than the ones we often hear. Remember, any glimpse at these future paradigms has an “alienation effect,” and we need to acclimate ourselves a bit over time, but I would argue that it is so important to do so!

Here on campus, it is -4 degrees and sunny! Our ’77 Snow Park is getting lots of action, and at night it is lit up so our students ski under the stars. Today we have two home hockey games, and tomorrow more athletic competitions as well as the start of the 24-hour Play Festival!  Students volunteer to write, act, and direct plays in 24 hours that will be performed in the Nita Choukas Theater.  

Last Monday we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Community Meeting and students and faculty were able to hear Robert F. Harvey speaking from Dartmouth College. He authored the book Abolitionist Leadership in Schools: Undoing Systemic Injustice through Communally Conscious Education, which works from an abolitionist lineage to guide education and community-based leaders in providing preemptive, premeditated, and progressive leadership while countering the impacts of racism that endure in our schools and communities. In Spring 2022, his second book will be released, entitled, Teaching as Protest: Emancipating Classrooms through Racial Consciousness. I hope that we can restart our speaker series in the near future and on a variety of topics with a multitude of perspectives, designed to raise our knowledge and awareness as a community and encourage us to engage in discussion and good work.  

Please stay well and safe through this winter!  We are caring for your children and creating the warmth of spirit and support that is the trademark of our Vermont Academy community – no matter how cold it is outside!

Best,

Jennifer
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Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.