CSI visits Duke’s Futures Institute

Last month I braved the stormy waters of the internet to teach a guest lesson at Duke University’s Futures Institute: Shaping Tomorrow Now, a summer experience for high school students that is part of Duke’s Talent Identification Program (TIP). I’m happy to report that the future is in capable hands. The Futures Institute teaches students skills in foresight, strategic thinking and scenario planning, and encourages them to consider the social, political, cultural and economic implications of scientific and technological change.

We spent our session working through a 5-step science fiction prototyping process, building a foundation for a story that dramatizes the full human implications of advancing science and technology. Our process focuses on worldbuilding and character development, which sets the stage for a thorough exploration of how the setting, characters and relationships are transformed by radical innovations.

The Futures Institute students will be submitting their work to The Future – Powered by Fiction, a storytelling competition co-presented by CSI, Intel’s Tomorrow Project and the Society for Science & the Public. The competition is open to people ages 13-25 worldwide, and 10 people will receive a $1000 prize and have their work published by Intel’s Tomorrow Project in an e-book anthology distributed for free. The competition is open until November 10, so check it out and help us imagine tomorrow!

Final lesson learned: teaching via Skype is an adventure! And if you are using a laptop microphone for audio, warm up your voice and get ready to project.

Image courtesy of Nina Miller. Thanks Nina!