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This is a detailed curriculum design brief for the year 2030. It is a curriculum for a new school subject in Secondary school in many ways.

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The Concept

The school subject PresentPastFuture will provide pupils in Secondary school a chance to develop a more profound understanding of who they are, who we are, what the future might look like, and what they can bring to the future. The pedagogical foundation will be connectivism (Siemens, 2014, p.5) and social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978). Motivational elements such as gamification and multimedia will add to the experience. Experiences, autonomy, and creativity will play a significant part. The framework is inspired by the Living Learning System (Woodgate, 2018b).

PresentPastFuture replaces many subjects in today’s school system, such as science, social science, religion, and adds «future foresight» and «philosophy». PresentPastFuture will focus on critical and creative thinking. It will use the latest and most advanced assessment methods and systems available.

PresentPastFuture replaces many subjects in today’s school system.

PresentPastFuture does not follow a chronological timeline, but instead, it focuses on different themes and subjects such as «What is human?», «Human rights?», «Changes and disruptors», «Create your own future» and so on. It is up to the pupils and the teachers in what order the tasks are to be done.

Man wearing virtual reality glasses.

Learning in 2030 is not linear or fixed but rather rhizomatic in the same way as «any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be. This is very different from the tree or root (…)» (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 7). There is no particular starting or ending point when everything is connected to everything. It is the learning itself that matters.

21st-century skills (learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills) are integrated into all the course modules. The following rephrased 21st-century skills (Woodgate, 2018a) are essential parts of PresentPastFuture:

  • Sensemaking
  • Cognitive interaction
  • Social/emotional intelligence
  • Cross-cultural competency
  • Virtual collaboration (and contribution)
  • Social-motivated creativity
  • Novel and adaptive thinking

PresentPastFuture will offer personalized learning in a ubiquitous learning environment made possible by technologies such as VR/AR, IoT, mesh networks, and the capabilities of AI and ML.

VR can put you anywhere, and AR can bring anything to you. VR can transport you somewhere else. AR leaves you where you are and brings objects and information to you, in context, making them seem like they’re there with you. They both give you superpowers.

Clay Bavor, VP of Virtual and Augmented Reality at Google

PresentPastFuture provides mobile learning in the sense that it is possible to take part and contribute from anywhere, everywhere. Some course features will happen in learning hubs (future classrooms), some in the real world, some in an immersive and hyper-realistic VR/AR-world. Wearable brain-machine interfaces, sound effects, and haptic feedback will intensify experiential learning (Kolb 1984, p. 41).

The Curriculum 2030

In 2030 we will see a whole new way of presenting a curriculum to the teachers and the pupils. We are already seeing this to some extent, with minor updates being made to the core curriculum and quality framework. It is not like in the past when a curriculum stayed unchanged for about ten years before a new plan replaced the old one (in Norway: 1979, 1987, 1997, 2006, and so on).

In 2030 the curriculum will be far less detailed than it is today. It will provide more opportunities to adapt the learning resources individually based on assessment and a thorough and instant analysis of learning style and motivation. We will, by 2030, for sure have moved from a «know it all» to a «learn it all» society, and educational institutions are a vital part of this change. Blended learning (Singh, 2003, p. 53), play theories (Huizinga, 1949), and gamification is integrated as a natural part of the curriculum.

New technological developments will reduce friction between the user and the device. Many, if not all, devices as we know them today will change, and there will be a whole range of new tools available. Most of them will be connected (IoT, Big data), and new definitions of privacy are part of the discussions in PresentPastFuture. This knowledge/mindset has to go hand in hand with developing a new curriculum and learning activities.

The Content (PresentPastFuture)

MODULE 1: Present

Do we have a common baseline? Do we agree on who we are? Do we share the same values? How is life in […]? Why and how do we see things differently? What happens with your way of thinking, decision-making, and attitude towards other people, if you are exposed to «fake news»? What is real? Is it possible or even necessary to avoid echo chambers?

By the push of a button that’s probably not a button, the pupils can change viewpoint.

Arne Midtlund, 2018

Most likely, this will be the starting point of the course. It does not have to be, but starting with something familiar and then moving on to the unknown can be a rewarding approach. Module 1 is perhaps the most philosophical part of the course. The pupils are encouraged to question everything in a Socratic way. In 2030 we will have technology capable of feeding us with thoughts (Ramirez et al., 2013). The world will be even more intertwined than it is today.

This module will help the pupils in Secondary school establish a context and a narrative for the rest of the modules, but more importantly, for their lives. The module will help them establish a link between PresentPastFuture and their everyday life.

21st-century keywords: Sensemaking, Social/emotional intelligence, Cross-cultural competency, Virtual collaboration

MODULE 2: Past

Is it essential to know something about the past? How does the past affect us? What happened in the past? What are the inventions, revolutions, extinctions, conflicts, human rights that still have an impact today? What can we learn from past experiences? How can we better understand both sides in a conflict? How can we present several views on political/historical decisions?

Module 2 will, by large, be based on different ways of experiencing the past through various forms of XR (virtual reality/embodiment and augmented reality). The pupils will experience historical events, play the role of different persons throughout history, and will be given the opportunity to (virtually) change the course of history. In this way, they will develop empathy and a better understanding of what has happened and create tools that can help avoid conflicts and misunderstandings in the future. Research shows that VR technology already are used similarly (Banakou et al., 2018, p. 1-2; Hamilton-Giachritsis et al., 2018, p. 1).

Future technologies will remove friction and layers between the abstraction and us.

Arne Midtlund, 2018

Historical events are presented in a comprehensible way for every pupil. The information and facts are continuously updated via AI, ML, and Big data. The narratives in module 2 are transmedial, and the storytelling happens across different platforms.

21st-century keywords: Sensemaking, Social/emotional intelligence, Cross-cultural competency, Virtual collaboration, Cognitive interaction

MODULE 3: Future

In a world that changes at an unprecedented pace, it is vital that young people, even in Secondary schools, learn how to be an active part of the process. This module is not about predicting a future world but about being introduced to some tools that will help them create their future and dreamworld. How will their preferred future be, what will it look like?

Do we have the same dreams as the pupils in other parts of the world, for example, in Tokyo or Caracas? International cooperation and sharing are essential in this module. All modules, including «Future», can be done in collaboration with pupils from other places/countries.

PresentPastFuture will give the pupils the theoretical, practical, and technical tools to create virtual worlds and let the rest of the class experience these worlds through XR equipment. «The ability to project oneself into a future landscape is a critical aspect for studying and practicing the science of foresight» (Woodgate, 2018b). In PresentPastFuture, the projection will be tactile (XR) and mental (mindset).

Multimedia-enhanced foresight-based learning can transport the learner into new universes by changing the internalized narrative that we create from the holistic experience.

Derek Woodgate, 2018b

The pupils add to the learning process by sharing and discussing what they have made in real-time. This can be done F2F in a Future Classroom or via internet solutions, allowing pupils worldwide to share dreams. The static and fixed curriculum or reproducing of what the sage on the stage is saying is by this literarily «old school».

The pupils will have to learn how to use some of the alternative thinking tools and parts of the foresight methodologies. PresentPastFuture will use a simplified four-stage process adapted from The Futures Labs six-stage process:

Adaptation of The Future Lab six-stage process. Adaptation by Arne Midtlund (2018).

A critical element in this module is to avoid seeing the future as a continuation of the past. PresentPastFuture will provide the pupils with alternative thinking methods to help them navigate and create the future.

21st-century keywords: Sensemaking, Social/emotional intelligence, Cross-cultural competency, Virtual collaboration, Cognitive interaction, Social-motivated creativity, Novel and adaptive thinking

Pedagogical framework

(…) teachers should use a variety of ICT tools such as synchronous and asynchronous learning technologies to facilitate and encourage collaboration, interaction, communication, and knowledge construction and sharing among the students.

Al-Huneidi & Schreurs, 2012, p. 4

Blended learning, connectivism (Al-Huneidi & Schreurs, 2012, p.4), and social constructivism are important parts of the pedagogical framework in PresentPastFuture.

PresentPastFuture is built upon the ideas in Siemens connectivism (2014). «The ability to recognize and adjust to pattern shifts» (Siemens, 2014, p. 4) is essential.

Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

Siemens, 2014, p. 5

PresentPastFuture follows the principles of a social-constructivist approach to education where learning happens through social interaction. The pupils work individually and in groups or communities of practice (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, n.d.). Social interaction does not necessarily happen F2F; it can also occur via different communication tools and technologies.

The pedagogical and didactical framework for learning in PresentPastFuture are integrated into the ten pillars of the Living Learning System (LLS) (Woodgate, 2018b, p. 7):

1) each student learns to his/her own strategy – personal relevance, 2) alternative thinking techniques are critical, 3) technology enhanced immersive exposure and interaction, 4) optimized ZPD transitioning, 5) open communication, 6) opportunities for constant testing and enhancement of individual competencies, 7) technology supported learning, 8) increased creativity (input and output), 9) freestyle delivery of assignments, 10) contribution to the course design and progression.

Living Learning System (LLS), Derek Woodgate, 2018b, p. 7

All of these pillars are important in future learning and education. The focus in PresentPast Future will be The use of all available technologies to enhance the learning experience (3, 5, 7), continuous assessment and personal and adaptive learning (1, 4, 6), and creativity and contribution in every module of the course ( 2, 8, 9, 10).

Assessment and taxonomies

There are many ways to assess learning. Regardless of method or taxonomy, the assessment must happen timely, if not instantly. This is important regarding motivation and learning, and AI and ML can help achieve this in ways we could only dream of in the past.

We will see a reformulation of well-known taxonomies such as Blooms’ digital taxonomy (Niall, 2017), Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning (Fink, 2003, p. 3), and Biggs’ SOLO taxonomy (Biggs, n.d.). Future learning taxonomies will focus on elements borrowed from games, and it will consider that ubiquitous learning and connectivism are a reality. The assessment will still be competency-based, and the accuracy will be far better than today due to the capabilities of AI.

Future legislation will demand that all of us get instant assessments, personalized learning, and the possibilities for lifelong learning.

Arne Midtlund, 2018

The modules of PresentPastFuture will contain gamified (Deterding, 2012) micromodules with timelines, progress bars, badges, and similar visual clues helping the pupils understand where to go next and what to do. The tasks will adjust to match the pupil’s ZPD perfectly, and «there will be a relatively low cost of failure and high reward for success» (Gee, 2007, p. 59).

The grading system is inspired by games where one can only progress through different levels of competence within the ZPD (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86). Positive reinforcement and scaffolding (Bruner, Ross, & Wood, 1976, p. 90) will lead to more motivation. According to the theory of flow, the tightly integrated system of assignments and assessments will contribute to motivation (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014) and the Self Determination Theory (Ryan, 1995, s. 399-400).

The AI-driven assessment system reflects that: curiosity, imagination, contribution, and creativity are essential. It is crucial that the pupils have fun while learning, and they have to be rewarded for their effort and when they complete tasks. «On balance [the] experience needs to be pleasurable» (Salen & Zimmerman, 2004, p. 345).


PresentPastFuture is divided into three modules. The pupils (13-15 years) will learn 21st-century skills individually and in groups during tasks and assignments. Blended learning, connectivism, and social constructivism form the pedagogical basis for the course, while LLS provides the learning platforms.

Keep some of the learning inside the box, but DO keep most of it outside the lines, confinements, limits, whatever…

Arne Midtlund, 2018

The assessment is individual and instant based on a complete insight and understanding of each person’s motivation and learning style. Micromodules, gamification, ZPD, a focus on flow, and elements from the SDT, combined with XR, AI, and ML, will make the learning fun, enjoyable and motivating.


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  • Banakou, D., Kishore, S., & Slater, M. (2018). Virtually being Einstein results in an improvement in cognitive task performance and a decrease in age bias. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(JUN).
  • Biggs, J. (n.d.). SOLO Taxonomy. Downloaded November 19, 2018 taxonomy/
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  • Huizinga, J. (1949). Homo Ludens – A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Kettering, Ohio: Angelico Press.
  • Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall, Inc.
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  • Salen, K & Zimmerman, E. (2004) Rules of Play. Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Massachsetts: The MIT Press
  • Siemens, G. (2014). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 1, 1–8.
  • Singh, H. (2003). Building Effective Blended Learning ProgramsSingh, H. (2003). Building Effective Blended Learning Programs. Educational Technology, 43(6), 51–54. Educational Technology, 43(6), 51–54.
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  • Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (u.d.). What is a community of practice? Downloaded November 21, 2018:
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  • Woodgate, D. (2018b). Immersive Spatial Narrative as a FrameWork for Augmenting Creativity in Foresight-Based Learning Systems, 1–13.
About Arne Midtlund

Arne Midtlund

Jeg er lektor med opprykk, og har jobbet som lærer på ungdomstrinnet siden 1998. Jeg har mellomfag i nordisk, grunnfag i idrett og en mastergrad i multimedia og utdanningsteknologi. Jeg har trener1-lisens fra Norges Judoforbund, og er sertifisert Apple Teacher. Underviser stort sett i norsk, samfunnsfag og medier og kommunikasjon.
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