GeoWorld September 2012

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on the brain's right side (dealing more with intuition, synthesis, stories, etc.). Pink proposes six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend, and he includes a series of hands-on exercises culled from worldwide experts to help readers sharpen the necessary abilities. These six aptitudes include design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. Most of Pink's six senses are self-explanatory. The one that needs a bit of explanation is symphony. By borrow- ing a musical/orchestral metaphor, he argues that the ability to synthesize (as supposed to analyze) information from diverse sources is crucial for suc- cess in this high-concept and high-touch age. Just like running an orchestra, we need multiple players who specialize in a single instrument. But, equally important, we also need a conductor capable of bringing these players together to produce an enchanting symphony. Moving to the Right Future GIS educators should make a conscious effort to shift our focus from training the left to educating the right side of the brain. Incorporating Pink's six aptitudes into GIS education efforts/activities may serve as the first step toward this direction. It's gratifying to notice that recent research efforts by the geospatial community parallel nicely with the six aptitudes of right-brainers. The following are some highlights: attracted a lot of followers after the inaugural Santa Barbara workshop in 2008 (www. are relying on maps to tell stories ( next big thing in GIScience (see "Mashup and the Spirit of GIS and Geography," GeoWorld, December 2009). expose worldwide human-rights abuses promoted empathy and action to eradicate these evils (srhrl. geogame.osu. edu) and light-hearted GIS application sites such as have reassured the public of the playfulness of geospatial technologies while demonstrating that mapping can be fun. The Ultimate Question Among the six aptitudes, the most elusive is perhaps the last one: meaning. How can we enrich students' lives and give them deeper meaning through what we teach using geospatial technologies? It's ironic for human existence that the means to live often is inversely proportional to the meanings to live for. Furthermore, as Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl eloquently summarized: "The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment." More than ever, we have better means to collect data about individual lives and behaviors with detailed spatial and temporal tags. But does that mean we have a better chance to flesh out the meaning of life through geospatial tools? Technologies are good at getting things done but are often silent on why we're doing it in the first place. For GIS education, the biggest challenge remains the "why" questions. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "Whoever has a WHY to live for can endure almost any HOW." Let's keep this in mind when we educate the next genera- tion of GIS leaders. If we shift our attention in GIS education more on design, story, synthesis, empathy and play, we will have a better chance to provide a path of tran- scendence for our students and lift them out of the banality of the mundane. Furthermore, we may even succeed in alluring our students into a new reality—a reality of the technological and moral sublime. ADVERTISER ADVERTISERINDEX Esri GeoSpatial Matters GeoWorld Emergency Management eBook GeoWorld on Facebook GeoWorld Subscriptions PAGE 5 29 9 32 31 SEPTEMBER 2O12 / WWW . GEOPLA CE .C O M 13

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