Is lack of hope the #1 challenge the Ledger could help address?

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The Learning Ledger world is by no means a utopian future. Players so far have played just as many “shadow imagination” cards as they have “positive imagination cards.” But every future scenario helps us explore possible solutions to current problems. What would the world look like, ten years from now, if we design and implement surprising solutions to the urgent challenges that we face today?

The Ledger is a possible solution to many problems — making classroom learning feel more immediately meaningful and relevant to students,  creating a more legible record of concrete skills acquired at every level of learning, building stronger connections between employers and students, and closing the gap between all of the knowledge we acquired in informal settings and the limited terrain covered by our formal academic records. But one of the challenges that an idea like the Ledger could be particularly well-suited to help address in Australia and New Zealand in particular is this:

A majority of students years 5-12 in Australia and New Zealand say they lack hope for their future. They don’t believe there is a clear pathway for their own success. They can’t see their way to graduation. They don’t believe there is a good job on the other side of school.

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How do you measure an intangible resource like hope? Gallup, the global research organization, specializes in the task. They developed a hope survey for students, consisting of six “agree or disagree” questions:

  • I can think of many ways to get good results.
  • I energetically pursue my goals.
  • I can find lots of ways around any problem.
  • I know I will complete high school.
  • I know I will find a good job after I leave school.
  • There is an adult in my life who cares about my future.

Gallup interviewed more than 10,000 year 5-12 students across Australia and New Zealand, and found that 51% of students are more likely to disagree with the statement above than to agree with them.

(You can download the full results of the Gallup 2015 Student Poll here.)

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One of the most important aspects of the imagined Learning Ledger system is that there are infinitely many pathways forward. The learning environment is bigger, more flexible, more affordable. There are clearer links between learning activities and earning activities. Anyone can be a teacher, and any place can be learning space, and any activity can be a chance to learn, to earn, or to do both at the same time.

Do you think a system like the Ledger could help build hope in students for their academic and career futures? What would a world look like where building hope for the future were a crucial metric of success for schools, libraries, and other learning environments? Play your ideas on this important challenge, and use the hashtag #TeamHope!

(By the way, this isn’t just an Australia/New Zealand challenge — in the United States, only 48% of students are hopeful, while 34% are stuck and 18% are actively discouraged.)

Find out more about the Gallup Student Poll here.