Friday, May 9, 2008

A Whole New Mind

A round table discussion of Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future facilitated by Katie Baxter.

Katie started the session late - on purpose, she said - in order to give people some down time to relax, reflect and take a break before starting the discussion, noting that attending a conference and being required to move from session to session with little time in between is similar to what our students routinely experience in school.

We began by looking at the grapic on p. 49 showing our movement into the Conceptual Age where the idea becomes dominant.

Pink asks us as workers to describe what our business is in imaginative terms. Katie asked the group to describe their work as librarians from the perspective of right brainers. Some of the replies:

  • make the library work for users

  • provide free psychological help

  • connector, facilitator

  • deliverer of curriculum frameworks - literacy - reading and information literacy

Katie pushed the group to not think sequentially as left-brainers. If we're going to survive as part of the movement out of information age into the realm of creativity - how can we get beyond describing ourselves in ordered, sequential terms? More responses:

  • connecting to possibility

  • there to make people's lives better

  • developing life-long learners so students can adapt for all the different jobs they will have to do, to know their future is learning and relearning

  • we're in the change business

  • providing enlightenment - getting students to think critically

  • empowerers - guiding learners, and being guided and empowered ourselves in the process by this interaction

  • a quest with magic keys - something like Merlin - giving learners the key - reminding them of where the key is

  • knowledge navigators

  • learning by leading

  • guide, mediator or facilitator through the Information Age/Cognitive Epoch

  • journey

One of the six senses Pink defines as integral to the Conceptual Age is Empathy. (Others are Design, Story, Symphony, Play and Meaning.)

Are we perceived by our users as empathetic? How about the librarian action figure? Why did we embrace it? Because of the irony of it or because it's true?

Is empathy different from warm and fuzzy?

Where are we as supporters of the quest? How are we going to redesign our spaces to articulate what we really do?

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