Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Left Brain or Right Brain

On my long flight to San Jose for the Google Teacher Academy, I finally got the chance to finish a book on my "to do" pile: Daniel H. Pink's A Whole New Mind. In the book he writes about the age we are entering, the conceptual age. "In short , we've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers, to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again- to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers" (Pink, 50). To survive in this age, Pink says that we need to ask ourselves three essential questions about our jobs/careers:
  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what I am offering in demand in this age of abundance and conceptulization?
How are we preparing today's students to answer these 3 questions?
Pink gives examples of schools such as
CHAD in Philly that are preparing students for the conceptual age, an age of designers. He also notes the Rainbow Project , a new standardized test developed by psychologists appears to better predict who will succeed in college. Instead of taking a test like the SAT's, students are give 5 New Yorker cartoons and asked to write captions, or write a story using only a title as their guide. The are also presented with real life challenges such as trying to convince friends to help them pack and move. The Rainbow project is trying to replace the SAT, but make people more aware of the role the right brain plays.

Pink also talks about the new Six Senses of the Conceptual Age, Design. Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. He devotes a one chapter to each sense and gives examples of how one can develop these senses:
Design - Choose a household item that annoys you in any way and recreate it. Send your new sketch to the manufacturer.
Story - Write a mini saga about someone's life; it cannot be more than 50 words.
Symphony-Look for solutions in problems. Ask yourself these 2 questions about any object: 1. Where else would it work? and 2. Would flipping it work? or Create an Inspiration board- put anythings that speaks to you from quotes to scraps to leaves on an empty board.
Empathy - Play "Whose Life" - ask a random person for their bag and have them remove only their personal identification. Then determine who this person really is by what they have in their bags.
Play- Play video games such as the Wii or Play Station 3.
Meaning-write gratitude letters to people who are special to you on YOUR birthday.
The book was a great deal to take in ,especially before GTA tomorrow. Somehow I am going to use this in my Connections classroom next year. Maybe I will come up with something on my plane ride back to NJ if my head in not completely "googled."

Image from:http://www.ideachampions.com/weblogs/archives/managing_creativity/index.shtml


Datta Kaur said...


I've decided to order Pink's newest book. When I looked at an intro, I saw that he wrote, "The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't."

Personally I feel that the future belongs to those who can alternate easily between the left and right brain, as needed. So I will read more to be convinced differently.

Thanks for the prompt. ~ Datta Kaur

Lucie deLaBruere said...

Dan Pink will be our keynote speaker at our back to school inservice next Fall. It's a regional inservice and we are very excited to have reserved the ice rink to accomodate all the schools working togeher for "Pink In the Rink". Here is a collection of Dan Pink materials I've accumulated to share with others who need a snippet rather than the whole book. http://del.icio.us/techsavvygirl/dan.pink

It was nice to meet you at GTA.

Erica Hartman said...

I am so jealous. I wish I could attend "Pink in the Rink." We were lucky to see Jonathan Mooney speak last year at our inservice. http://www.jonathanmooney.com/
He really opened my eyes up to the problems we all face with special education and how we need to change the way we teach.