…about Disruptive Technologies

We believe that the development of technological perspective is an important and much under-represented aspect of the design & technology curriculum in secondary schools. Acquiring technological perspective provides young people with the intellectual tools to decide for themselves how various technologies should be deployed in their society. Engaging young people with the nature of disruptive technologies and helping them consider how these might play out in their future world is, to our minds, an important and effective way of developing technological perspective. There is the associated benefit that such an approach allows the curriculum to keep pace with the technological developments and innovations taking place in the world outside school. We like the view of disruptive technologies as developed by McKinsey Global Institute:

The relentless parade of new technologies is unfolding on many fronts. Almost every advance is billed as a breakthrough, and the list of “next big things” grows ever longer. Not every emerging technology will alter the business or social landscape—but some truly do have the potential to disrupt the status quo, alter the way people live and work, and rearrange value pools and lead to entirely new products and services.

To support this thinking, David Barlex, Torben Steeg and Nick Givens are developing a range of materials that support teaching about disruptive technologies. These materials are being made available from the main Disruptive Technologies area of this website.

In our thinking about disruptive technologies we have identified nine that we consider appropriate for the secondary school curriculum and in this part of the website we are collecting ‘stuff’ that provides further information and interesting perspectives about the various technologies. Things that relate to disruptive technologies generally will be gathered on this page. Stuff that is specific to the individual technologies is published separately for each one:


second machine ageThe Second Machine Age – Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee, published in 2014 by Norton. A highly influential survey of current technological developments coupled with an exploration of the possible future impacts these technologies may have. The book ends with recommendations for both individuals and policy makers intended to mitigate the harmful consequences of these ‘brilliant’ (we might say ‘disruptive’) technologies.


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