Three months later:
And then, Jack turned to face the four of them. “Look!,” His hands flew out in front of him. “Electricity, penicillin, airplanes: some inventions have transformed lives across the planet.”
They stood in silence. After months of agonizing research they had not hit on a single workable idea to reboot the global economy into Game B mode.
“Woah! Wait a second.” Michael pressed his fingers to his forehead, his eyes widened. He stood this way for a whole minute. Then he spoke. “Sure, we can sharpen the tools people use, but it would be far better to just sharpen the people.”
“What did you say?” Winston asked.
Michael continued. “All the gadgets we can build are not as valuable as the minds that use them.”
“You think we can build something to make kids smarter?” Ichiro said.
“My lord, what if kids were smarter than the marketplace…” Jack whispered.
“Smart enough to think before they buy,” Michael said.
“Smart enough to think twice about what they eat,” Desi said.
“Or what they wear,” Winston added.
And so, the Game was born.
In 2019 I was invited to give the keynote presentation about Junana at the ESRI Education Summit in San Diego. So I talked to several hundred classroom teachers about how the future of education starts outside the classroom. Here is the video: ESRI EDUCATION.
This project to imagine and describe transformative technology for education began in 2002, at an educational showcase at the Hotel Del Coronado. I was demonstrating new, NASA-funded, data-rich, interactive educational games that I had helped to program.
One teacher and I chatted for a while about how lame educational games were. At the end of the conversation, she stepped up to me and whispered, “At some point, someone is going to invent the software game that will totally disrupt education.”
That got me thinking…
I began to assemble information about a range of existing or experimental technologies and to imagine how someone could build this disruptive game.
I didn’t have the finances to go out and do it. Instead, I wrote the novel, Junana, as a way to nudge others into imagining their own games and conceiving of an educational landscape that takes full advantage of current technologies.
Several years ago, I was visiting a friend who taught a graduate class in the geosciences at the University of Arizona. He told me some of his students really wanted to chat. When I entered their seminar room, a bunch of them closed the door behind me, and guided me to a chair. After a brief introduction, one of them spoke up:
“We want to do it,” she said. “Let’s build the Game for real. What’s holding us back?”
Game B is just waiting for the templates it needs to open up a new, coherent episteme.