Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Are 21st Century Skills Right Brain Skills?

This intriguing topic came up in my feed reader on George Siemen's elearnspace blog. I followed the link to read more about the article by Doug Johnson in Education World, "Are 21st Century Skills Right Brain Skills?"
Outsourcing jobs to countries with lower costs, especially costs of labour, is having an impact on the types of jobs available now and in the future in countries such as Australia.
Daniel Pink raises the spectre of a Conceptual Age as taking over from the Information Age. This has huge implications for job seekers, education and lifelong learning.
"Successful players in this new economy will increasingly be required to develop and use the right-brain abilities of high concept (seeing the larger picture, synthesizing information) and high touch (being empathetic, creating meaning). "
Daniel, in his book, "A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age," provides examples of right brain skills which need to be cultivated in 21st century learning to complement left brain analytic skills.
Pink provides six right brain "senses" of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning which should be developed and valued. Doug Johnson provides a range of examples of how Pink's model could be applied to classroom practice.
As more governments spend increasing amounts of precious education funding on basic skills testing and schools must respond to this, the chances of nurturing right brain skills in 21st century learning environments are reduced.

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