I spent an hour this evening from 7 to 8 pm listening to Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. But I wasn't sitting on a fold-up chair in a classroom or auditorium. Instead, I heard Pink talk about his book and viewed his presentation on my laptop in the comfort of my own home office via a webinar sponsored by Discovery Educator Network, in the virtual presence of 180 other educators, one of whom lives in Shanghai.
Together we listened to Pink discuss the growing significance of right-brain thinking due to the changes brought about by globalization and technology and the increased importance of right brain development in our schools. Pink writes:
R-Directed Thinking is suddenly grabbing the wheel, stepping on the gas, and determining where we’re going and how we’ll get there. L-Directed aptitudes—the sorts of things measured by the SAT and deployed by CPAs—are still necessary. But they’re no longer sufficient. Instead, the R-Directed aptitudes so often disdained and dismissed—artistry, empathy, taking the long view, pursuing the transcendent—will increasing determine who soars and who stumbles. It’s a dizzying—but ultimately inspiring—change.
Because I had read the book, I was naturally interested in hearing Pink talk and seeing his slide presentation, but I wasn't prepared for the lively sidebar conversations taking place in the chat window among those "present" as they commented on Pink's remarks. I took a few notes, snagged a couple of his slides, and thought, “That’s that.” But it doesn’t end there.
Lo and behold, in comes a Twitter message from one of the note-takers, Vicki Davis, who also probably sat in her house with her laptop, but as it turns out, was part of a cadre of 29 notetakers who, using a collaborative note-taking software, combined their “take” on the presentation into one online document. Within 90 minutes after the presentation, Vicki had posted a link to these notes in her blog and sent out a Twitter message that the notes were now available online.
Now, webcasting isn’t a new technology, nor is collaborative writing or blogging, but put them all together, along with the chat notes archived by DEN, market them with Twitter, and you have a powerful way to build and sustain a learning community. There's no two ways about it!