Solving Big, Complex Problems Smartly (and Morally)

"It's a global problem" by "barbndc" is licensed under CC BY 2.0
It’s a global problem” by “barbndc” is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This week in CEP 812, we began exploring James Paul Gee’s The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning. During our reading, we were asked to keep in mind the following question: “what limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?” In this short essay, I focus my ideas on what constitutes a proper education that will allow future generations to adequately address complex global problems. I begin my essay by outlining the limitations, challenges and social ills facing humanity as shared by Gee. Then, I discuss the unequaled potential, capacity and nobility of man to overcome complex problems. This leads to the main position of my essay, which questions whether being smart is truly enough to improve conditions in society. Rather, I suggest that being smart should include a moral component which teaches students to make appropriate choices. I conclude by sharing my fairly-limited experience on how a framework for moral education may be incorporated in our curriculum.

Problems of Practice and Digital Tools

This week in CEP 812 our goal was to identify problems of practice in the classroom, either well-structured or ill-structured, and explore different digital tools that could help us address these problems. The problem of practice that I will be focusing on relates to a Social Studies unit on celebrations for a Kindergarten class. In order to explore a certain cultural festival in greater depth, the students will be asked to learn about the history and meaning behind the celebration. Their goal is to retell the story and their understanding of the sequence of events using a storyboard. The video below shows how the digital tool called “Storyboard That” serves this purpose and is particularly useful in allowing students to focus on organizing information and retelling the key events within the story.