All the discussions about health care reform have reminded me of a workshop I did with high schools students last summer as part of a youth forecasting project with the KnoweldgeWorks Foundation. I developed a curriculum for teens about key trends in technology, community, health, economy, and demographics and worked with the Center for Digital Storytelling to conduct 3 workshops in which high school students imagined their lives ten years in the future.
The stories were personal, about distinct moments in their future lives, and they revealed issues that mattered to them. One theme that came through in several stories was their recognition that they would be caregivers – not only to their aging parents – but to their chronically ill peers and to their friends and family members who had become ill as a result of toxic environments and food. Part of their vision of themselves as caregivers involved developing personal relationships with digital para-professionals (robots), with human medical professionals thorugh social netwokring, and through online markets for medical services.
Here are two of my favorite stories.
My big take away from these workshops is how capable and insightful the teens were at imagining plausible futures and teasing out the implications that mattered for them. It was also rewarding to see how excited they got about the present when faced with a set of possible futures. I need to do more of this work!