The Adaptable Mind

The Adaptable Mind (11 mins) asks the question: what are the skills we need to flourish in the 21st Century?  Of the hundreds of inspiring stories that flooded in from social media, one stood out: Los Angeles-based professor and artist, Mary Beth Heffernan, was listening to coverage of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and how isolating and traumatic it must be for patients to interact only with hazmat suits for weeks on end. She thought, “what if they put pictures of their faces on the front of the suits?” Thousands of letters, grants, and hurdles later, Mary Beth’s story reveals that, while there is a lot of fear that technology is displacing our jobs, the skills we need most in the 21st Century — curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy — happen to be skills that machines don’t have; only humans have. The film is available with subtitles in Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian, and Swahili.

*The Adaptable Mind was selected by the US State Department’s American Film Showcase to represent America at embassies abroad.

*The Government of India organized its annual India International Science Film Festival in Chennai featuring The Adaptable Mind.

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Online Resources

The Adaptable Mind Discussion Kit: Ages 4-9 | Ages 10-14 | Ages 15-18 | Ages 19-99+
Translations: Spanish | Chinese

Character (Every) Day Resource Hub

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