Learning for life.

Fitting that the final week of CEP 812 asked us to consider Friedman’s (2013) ideas of passion quotient and curiosity quotients as we mull around Berger’s (2014) proposition of questioning for life.

What am I most passionate about in education?  Why am I so passionate about it?  How does my curiosity play a role?  What does it mean to be a good educator and how can I be a great one?  How do I teach as best as possible to ensure the maximum learning experience for my students?

When I began the Educational Technology program at MSU, I was curious about how I could integrate technology into my curriculum.  Now, having completed the program, I have realized how passionate I am about curriculum development, the importance of working at the interface of technology, pedagogy and content (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Koehler & Mishra, 2008), and how excited I am to design meaningful learning experiences for my students to be empowered collaborative participants in a global context.

Enthusiasm and inquisitiveness are palpable and contagious.  Educators need to model the learning theories we teach, so to raise lifelong learners and fearless questioners, we must work to become them ourselves.  While I thought the Educational Technology program was the step to discovering a solution to the wicked problem of educating in the 21st century, I have found that it was the stepping stone to the stepping stones.  It has led me to the path I need to continue on to find ever changing solutions to that ever changing problem.

Thank you.

Check out my prezi on Educating in the 21st century.



Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breathrough Ideas. New York City, NY: Bloomsbury USA.

Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. National Academies Press. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368.

Friedman, T. L. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q.. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html?_r=0

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2008) Introducing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology(Ed.), Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) (pp.3-29). New York: Routeldge.

Wicked Solutions for Wicked Problems: Teaching Complex Thinking.

After reading the 2015 Horizon Report and with Berger’s (2014) beautiful questions in mind, my think tank was tasked with finding a solution to the WICKED problem of teaching complex thinking.

Wicked didn’t even begin to describe this problem.  For starters, there wasn’t even an agreed upon definition of complex thinking!  How do you know if you teach it if you don’t even know what it is?!

So we took it slow and used the principles of design thinking.  Starting with questioning and research, and then moving into a visible thinking circle of viewpoints discussion we gradually began to build an understanding of the problem.  Once we thought we knew the problem, we solicited feedback from our CoPs (Communities of Practice) and then took Pariser’s (2011) advice in examining our filter bubbles to expand our PLNs (professional learning networks.

Armed with larger view of the problem and with data in hand we then began to piece together a wicked solution to this wicked problem – one that would be unique to each educator/school’s situation: the creation of a PLC (professional learning community) that would include all parties involved in empowering learners to break through barriers of rote memorization and standardized testing to reach a level of understanding that will allow them to question the world around them, collaborate across cultural and physical boundaries, and generate innovative solutions to address the complex problems that they will face in the 21st century.

Check out all of the details on our Weebly!


Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Pariser, E. (2011, May). Beware online “filter bubbles”. [Video file].  Retrieved from https://youtu.be/B8ofWFx525s

Welcome to the virtual crash course in design thinking (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/.

Balancing Act.

CEP 812 hit us with another wicked problem this week: balancing our information diet.

It started with Eli Pariser’s TED Talk on Filter Bubbles that left me wondering what the internet was hiding from me.

Clearly this is a problem, so how do we get balanced?

Step 1: Consider your current consumption diet.

How many ‘information vegetables’ are you consuming?  Are you overindulging on dessert?

Reflecting on my own information diet – a smorgasbord of election season banter, hilarious parenting ‘wins’, a splash of world events, and appropriately for this class, feed after feed of education technology, student centered learning and design thinking.

But what was missing?  Was I in essence creating my own filter bubble with my search terms?  What would happen if I searched for traditional learning benefits or teacher centric classroom to pros of lecture?

Step 2: Facing the reality.

A bubble.  I live in a bubble.  My results for topics counter to my viewpoints did not actually give me articles contrary to my viewpoints.  While Google was happy to show me an over priced bounce house ad after I searched one time for a much more conservative model on Amazon, it could not understand why after presumably hundreds of searches on incorporating technology into the classroom and designing modern learning environments, I would possibly want to read an article centered on the benefits of lecture.

Step 3: Making sense of it.

After searching for awhile – and disagreeing about much I was reading on standards and one size fits all learning – I realized that I was essentially swinging the pendulum the other way. Wicked problems are just that – wicked.  They don’t have a right or wrong answer so filling an information diet with strongly polarized ‘this way is the only way’ articles – regardless of the stance chosen – is just adding more junk to the plate.  While it is good to know what is out there, balance doesn’t necessarily mean reading articles of opposite stances, but rather, finding sources that provide a fair presentation of an opinion substantiated by research.

For example, I recall Bransford, Brown, and & Cocking’s (2011) idea that foundational content is critical to the transfer of ideas, and this reminds me that not everything has to be posed as a complex problem and it is okay to stop the class groupwork, focus everyone on the same board and give a brief lecture on a point that they need to know to dive deeper into a topic.  Is the entire class lecture? No.  Is the entire class student exploration? No.  It’s the balance that works for each specific group of students working to understand and apply a particular concept.  A balance that is not the same for any two groups of students – now that is wicked!

Step 4: Breaking the bubble – or at least expanding it.

Managing information bubbles is truly wicked.  We need some sort of filtering to allow us to locate valuable information in a time when vast amounts of information are available.  The question then becomes how to manage the bubble to encompass various viewpoints but not expand it so wide that we become overwhelmed with information.

Fortunately, a balanced PLN can aid in this.  A search on the top education feeds and blogs results in hundreds of lists to start with.  After adding a few in the beginning I realized I was simply cluttering my plate so instead, I made a list of a few to check in on and only if they seemed to present views from an objective stance did I follow them further.  In the end, diet is about moderation so don’t overflow the plate!

From one wicked problem to another…

This week’s look at information diets has led to some great insight for our other wicked problem – teaching complex thinking.  To truly understand the problem of complex thinking, we have to look at it from various angles – as parents, faculty with various opinions of teaching methods, administrators, boards of education, etc.  Being cognizant of our information bubbles makes it easier to search outside of that bubble for other viewpoints, however confusing to Google that may be!

Check out this word cloud of my recent notes.wordcloud-1


Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. National Academies Press. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368.