Last Friday I had the pleasure of participating in a conversation with a group of high school students about 1700 miles west of here.

English 9 students at Karl Fisch’s Arapahoe High School in Colorado have been reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind and once a week are discussing one of the six essential aptitudes we will need as the world changes.

The discussion takes place both in class and online using an inner circle/outer circle technique called the fishbowl. The inner group holds their conversation in the classroom while the outer group uses the comment section of a blog post.

And that’s where I came in. Karl invited various adults from outside the school to add our thoughts to the mix in the outer circle. Through a web cam he also allowed us to peek in and listen to the inner circle discussion.

The result was an interesting insight to how these students understood Pink’s concept of “symphony”, the ability to see and use the relationships between various pieces.

Not surprisingly, the discussion, both in the room and on line, moved from the examples in the book to their school and personal lives and how the assignments required of them did or did not encourage the synthesis of information.

The most fun for me was in asking questions about how their educational life connected (or didn’t connect) to the concepts Pink discusses in the book.

I was very impressed with the thoughtful and interesting responses and really with the overall level of the discourse.

And both their teacher and Karl also deserve great credit for providing a unique setting in which that could happen.

Anyway, I had a great time and I’m looking forward to returning to the fishbowl the week after next to discuss Play with two other classes.

daniel pink, symphony, discussion, education