Monday, September 6, 2010

Daniel Pink: A Whole New Mind

Pink recently gave a talk in Toronto that was recorded by TVO's Big Ideas and placed on their podcast.  It appears to have been given on July 1, but I only received it through iTunes recently.

In his lecture, and I guess his book, he discusses how the old skills, math, analysis and straightforward problem solving, are still needed, but also we need new skills - those typically considered right-brain skills: design, intuition and lateral thinking.  We need them for a few reasons.  Chiefly, the old skill-set is easily outsourced - with machines or cheap labour in Asia, for example.

The whole talk is worth listening to, but i was particularly interested in the new style of SAT testing that he suggested.  Rainbow project, robert sternberg:  blank New Yorker cartoon- add a caption, You get a title, "The octopus's sneakers" and you need to write a story...That test turns out to be a better predictor of college performance than standardized SATs.

Again, I like his talk and his ideas, but the thing about standardized tests is that they can be marked easily.  I don't mean this trivially; it is not merely that I am lazy.  Rather, you need a small number of people to mark a large number of tests each or each test needs to be multiple marked - by a committee, to remove biases and errors.  Such a test could ease unemployment by giving people jobs -marking the test, but it will not be as cheap, quick or simple to evaluate as the previous.

If the current test doesn't work, then yes, we need to scrap it.  But if it has some value and the improvement is only a matter of quality, I am not sure it will be worth it.  Yes, I wrote this blog to promote creativity and, as soon as I see a test that rewards creativity I criticize it.  I want to be creative, not blind.

No comments: