Flash Forward: What do you want to remember 10 years from now?

What, exactly, do we want students to remember? 

This is a question we might contemplate, but we rarely take the time to think about it fully.

Why not turn this into a classroom activity? Read below about Flash Forward. This is a critical question – one that you and your students need to ponder.

P.S. Check out the new issue of Phi Delta Kappan, dedicated to the science of learning!

Flash Forward: What do you want to remember?


We often reflect on what we want students to learn and remember. But why not give the same opportunity to students? What do they want to remember?

Toward the end of the semester, ask students for their Flash Forward:

Now that you've taken this class,
what is one thing you want to remember 10 years from now (and why)?

Of course, you can change "one thing" to many things (we suggest 5 max) or change "10 years" to any amount of time you want (20 years from now?).

Flash Forward benefits for your students:

  • They're retrievingBy retrieving one thing in particular, they'll remember it even better than if you hadn't asked the question at all.

  • They're spacingThey have to think back to course content throughout the entire semester and bring it to mind.

  • They're drawing on metacognition. They'll reflect on what they know and also reflect on what they've already forgotten.

Flash Forward benefits for you: 

  • You build a supportive class culture around the process of learning

  • You get feedback on topics that are the most meaningful for students

  • You gain time for self-reflection and inspiration for next semester

Try Flash Forward, even for just 5 minutes, for any grade level. You'll be surprised by students' insights. During discussion, students will remind each other of more course topics, too. Who knows: They may even ask for your Flash Forward!