Our challenge is to rewire neighbourhoods to take care of teenagers tending to the specific needs of their age, addressing the formation of social emotions, vocation and self knowledge.
Europe’s population decline must be addressed not only regarding maternity and natural population decrease, but also promoting the dynamic and innovative qualities the younger generations always contribute to society. Making young people relevant, inviting them to our social life, giving them a frame to belong in a European future is the necessary counterbalance for our aging and shrinking population.
The rate of cultural change linked to technology has been constantly increasing and initiatives to educate our people must overcome institutional slowing down, if our societies are to participate significantly in the future.
Education, learning & the value of teenagers
Traditional educational systems are failing to take social changes into account. The inertia of national states behind educational institutions is failing to answer to the reality of communities that are experiencing social change at a faster than ever rate. The future we imagine cannot be reached following old pathways.
Teenagers are left out of social life, with no appropriate spaces or other activities expected from them, apart from attending compulsory school until an age that keeps rising as the human life cycle prospers. In a phase of life characterized by passion and vocation, loads of energy and bluntness, teenagers in Europe find themselves institutionalized and irrelevant.
«Future Tools» project is an acknowledgment of the value teenagers have for society: they hold our future in their hands. «Future Tools» is a space designed with caring attention to fit the needs of our young generation, aiming to connect them to a new world of opportunities by inviting them to work, to collaborate, to participate and to have a voice in their own community. We can now apply our knowledge about adolescence to provide a comprehensive environment in which teenagers can develop healthy social emotions, autonomous and egalitarian participation.
Provide an alternative to corporate uses of technology through the culture of the commons; spread collaborative habits in neighborhoods; build activities rooted in intrinsic motivation that bloom in communal benefit are some of the ways «Future Tools» will engage people in fostering a society with greater equality, solidarity and sustainability.
«Future Tools» is a common learning lab for teenagers. By offering youngster a place to gather and pursue their interests while promoting their autonomy, we aim to empower them to work for a better future. Sharing resources and interests in an alternative learning space, the culture of collaboration and the democratizing possibilities of technology, this place will have its roots in the neighborhood’s daily activities and funnel the parents’ interest in social promotion for their kids towards a more inclusive society.
The abundance of open resources that can be freely accessed through personal learning environments to learn digital skills —such as computational thinking, governance software, UX design, in fact any skills that we may need to implement our projects in the world— is an opportunity, never known before to such a widespread extent, to empower our youngsters to build a better future.
The neighborhood as a community comes to relevance in the task of «helping grow adults». The age group that most closely matches the Secondary Education stage in our culture has in the neighborhood its spatial range of freedom, just one step away from the wide world they will live in as adults. Connecting these neighboring communities to the global emergence of the digital culture as makers and participants through their own teenagers is a pertinent, strengthening link between local and broader communities.
It is urgent for these generations of parents and offspring to leap forward over institutional stagnancy and give ourselves the shared resources we can provide for our own borough, in every neighborhood, nurturing our tribe-prone teens from the gang to the team, by building around them the common ground for community.
It is sometimes sad hear stating that what is being promoted for innovation in the field of education —on the basis of empathic personal exchange, attention to the tempo, sensibility for intrinsic motivations, in short: the wisdom of caring for each other— are outdated methodologies. Digital tools offers a new breeze to these methodologies, an opportunity to enhance the soft aspects of learning and allow us to cast aside production-line techniques when it comes to our kids: lecturing, memorizing, exams, ringing bell schedules, curriculums and subjects. We can now afford those luxuries our industrialized schools didn’t plan for and, dragged by institutional inertia, won’t anytime soon.