In the year...

I was five when Zager and Evans' one hit wonder was Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. For a boy with a vivid imagination, equally obsessed by the what the very best of late 60s and early 70s Sci-Fi TV at that time had to offer, it offered a fascinating vision of the future...

Gerry Anderson characters

Images of course made all the more poignant by Friday's sad news about the iconic Leonard Nimoy...

Leonard Nimmoy as Dr Spock

I think the song also resonated because it was also at about that time that I first saw the 1960 film version of  HG Wells' 'The Time Machine', starring Rod Taylor...

Rod Taylor in The Time Machine

On reflection, listening to it again now (and I haven't made a habit of it) the song actually offers a very bleak and dystopian vision of the dehumanising impact of technology on mankind! Not one to inspire!

So where are all these meanderings going?!

My last blog before half term referred to my experience of being 'Katalysed ' at the Youth Sport Trust Conference; the annual gathering of those who lead and support a charity whose mission is to positively change young lives through sport.


The Youth Sport Trust are celebrating their 20th anniversary by looking forward a further 20 years into the future  (not quite as ambitious as Zager and Evans in terms of long term predication) in their 'Class of 2035' campaign.

'Class of 2035' poses a series of interesting scenarios based on the way in which technology may empower - or disempower - young people in terms of their engagement in sport and physical activity.

At best, technology is envisaged as energising young people's involvement both inside and outside of school; at worst, it gives rise to a 'sidelined generation' whose obsession with digital media leaves them sofa-bound and lethargic.

Class of 2035


The Sport and Recreation Alliance have also explored this issue in a slightly wider context in an equally fascinating study commissioned by the Future Foundation...

www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/sites/sportandrecreation.org.uk/files/web/Future 20Trends 20report_0.pdf

Both studies pose key questions about how technological change will impact on young people's learning, lifestyle choices and well being.

Will, for example, the next generation be choosing to take part in traditional outdoor sports without leaving their living rooms in an enhanced virtual reality environment? Is the future of competitive performance comparison and the motivation to fulfil personal goals through sport to be achieved primarily via social networks rather than on the field or track?

They are questions that are also the forefront of our thinking here at Park House, as we begin the roll out of our 'Bring Your Own Device' initiative and work through, with the input of our students, the protocols on the acceptable use of mobile technology. The concerns in relation to the latter understandably focus on misuse and abuse; bullying. All I can say in this respect is that it was possible to misuse the available technology in my school days, too...

Fountain pen

That technology was a pen and paper, and it was sometimes used to send inappropriate notes to classmates. What prevented it being misused in this way was the vigilance of teachers and a values-focused culture of mutual respect. Some things don't need to change.

Whether it's now, 2035 or 2525 it's imperative that our approach is one that embraces rather than fears the opportunities that new technology offers; engaging and empowering young people to actively learn and play together responsibly...

Zager and Evans