5th January, 2022

Welcome to the first Class of the 2021-22 St John’s Inspire Programme for Years 9, 10 & 11! This programme examines some of the key areas in which our world is changing in the 21st century, and the implications this has for our lives and our societies, as well as exploring how people have responded throughout history to periods of great change – culturally, politically, philosophically, socially.

In this first class, we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our world and the technologies we use, from vaccine-development to diplomacy, international relations, and digital theatre. We’ll explore the technologies that lie behind some of the key areas of change in the 21st century such as Artificial Intelligence and new sources of clean energy. And, we’ll step back from the modern to get a historical perspective on ‘the future’, with articles on the ancient origins of computing, and on the notion of what it has meant throughout history to be ‘modern’ at all.

How to approach this Class

It is completely up to you how you approach the contents of this class – you may want to look at each article in sequence, or browse through those which interest you most. You can work your way through the material in your own time, and fit it around your schoolwork and other commitments. Each article also comes with links to further reading, videos, podcasts, and more, so you can explore in greater depth the topics that interest you most.

You will also find several challenges throughout the class, based on some of the articles. We encourage you to send us your responses to these challenges – or any work you produce based on any of the articles. Every entry received each month will be entered into a prize draw to win Amazon vouchers, and everyone who submits at least one piece of work to us over the course of the programme will receive a certificate of participation. Details of how to submit your work can be found in the ‘Share With Us’ section.

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