The Future of Our Field ? A STEEP Perspective

05 Jun 2017

I hope you are reading this electronically. Otherwise, what is the point of writing about the future when you are decoding it with the technologies of the past? I will present an exploration of the future of our field looking not so much at the field itself ? instruction and technology, but rather at the trends around the field that may influence the direction in which we are moving. Two questions drive the essay: 1. What are the trends around us, and 2. How are these likely to influence our field. To frame these questions I will use four simple definitions. I admit from the start that there are much more elegant and possibly scientific definitions out there, but I use these four because of their simplicity. They are not my definitions, but they are in the public domain in the sense that I have been unable to find the actual source of any. The first definition is that of learning. Learning is becoming able to do something one was unable to do before. The second is education. Education is acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes to cope with the world around oneself. Instruction is the process of facilitating education through enabling learning. Technology is stuff we use to get things done. In answering the first question, to find a way of categorizing the trends I have decided to use the social, technological, economic, environmental and political elements of culture, also known as the STEEP categories (Analyst 2015). These categories will form the headings for the rest of this paper. Others include categories such as ethical, legal and even spiritual models. I will deal with these as sub-categories of the STEEP framework where appropriate. The second question, the influence on our field, will be dealt with under each of the STEEP categories.