Trends: Identifying and
Analyzing Their Impact
There's a battle outside, and it's a-ragin'. It'll
soon shake your windows and rattle your
walls, for the times they are a-changin'.
—Bob Dylan (1964)
Whatever happened to the status quo? Did it ever exist, or was it a figment of our imaginations? Has there ever been a time when we could freeze the world and preserve it just as it was? The title of a popular Broadway musical of the 1960s captures a feeling many of us share at times: Stop the World—I Want to Get Off.
We take snapshots, fill museums, produce yearbooks, and write our own versions of history. Most of us are intent on capturing the moment. For many of us, in fact, savoring those moments is becoming increasingly important, because we know that they will eventually add up to decades, lifetimes, centuries, and millennia.
All of us hope for a brighter future. Together, we're navigating the third millennium, and we're destined to do it without that safe haven called the status quo. That's why knowing how to recognize and navigate trends and issues is fast becoming a basic skill.
Author's note: This chapter condenses information that appears in another book I have written, 16 Trends:
Their Profound Impact on Our Future (in press), published by the Educational Research Service (ERS) in
Arlington, Virginia. 16 Trends provides an in-depth exploration of social, economic, political, technological,
environmental, demographic, and other forces and speculates on their possible implications for education.