A great deal has been said and published lately on changing educational paradigms. In fact, this conversation isn't a recent development – even in the 1980s, iconic science fiction author Isaac Asimov was pushing for reinjecting creativity into school curricula in order to fix a broken and uninspired education system. Unfortunately, not much has actually been done in that direction. Though Microsoft's REDU initiative spurred a fair amount of buzz last year, it too remained a disjointed effort largely devoid of actionable change.
No Right Brain Left Behind is a new project that aims to change that through an open speed innovation challenge enlisting the creative industry in envisioning new ways of placing emphasis on the so-called "soft skills" – creativity, inventiveness, empathy – in school curricula. Underwritten by an admirable roster of creative industry and education superstars, including Behance founder Scott Belsky, PSFK's Piers Fawkes and Sir Ken Robinson, the initiative plans to actually pilot the best of these ideas in schools by the end of 2011.
It is not about creating more artists. It's about giving the students tools to solve 21st century problems. We must understand that creativity is a key constituent that can no longer be neglected in the school systems."
The competition launches with the release of the challenge brief on February 7, the first day of Social Media Week, and submissions remain open through February 11, after which the panel of judges will select the most compelling ideas to pilot in schools. Until then, you can follow the project's progress on Twitter and Facebook.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Design Observer and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.