Tag Archives: maet

A best “bad” solution for a Wicked Problem

The past seven weeks, my think tank team, consisting of Mick Haley, Regan Kwong and myself, have worked tirelessly on the wicked problem of Rethinking Teaching.  We began tackling our wicked problem with a brainstorm of all of the questions that we have surrounding rethinking teaching. After much deliberation we broke down the questions into what the top 10 questions from the brainstorm and dwindled it down to the top 5 questions:

WPP_Rethinking_Teaching

After much research and conversation, we came down to the three questions that ultimatley together could help us find the best “bad” solution to our wicked problem..

  1. How can we prepare teachers to utilize student led-questioning and inquiry based questions in the classroom?
  2. How can legislators implement better policies to provide support and resources to all educational institutions?
  3. How could we use technology to assist teachers in innovative thinking?

After even more research, we decided to poll our Professional Learning Networks and created a Google Form Survey that was sent out and available for participants to respond for 1 week (from October 6, 2017 to October 13, 2017).  In total we had 68 responses (mostly all educators from a wide range of locations), check out the questions and responses HERE.

After gathering the data and analyzing it, the next step to the process was finally coming up with the construction of our three-tiered solution to Rethinking Teaching.  We decided to go with a PADLET to express our solutions to this wicked problem.

Made with Padlet

To see the full padlet, CLICK HERE.

Although we came up with an idea that would show our best “bad” solution to rethinking teaching, I think the beauty in the entire process of experiencing this problem, is the idea that there really is no best solution to rethinking teaching.  The question to all educators of How can we rethink teaching or more specifically, how can we rethink teaching to educate our 21st century students, doesn’t have a perfect solution.  In fact, “to quote David Cooperrider, a beautiful question never sleeps,” (Berger, 2014. p211).

If anything, this wicked problem project provides some basic insight into some of the steps all stakeholders in education can look at to help reshape the way we educate our future.

 

How can I make an educational impact?

As I am nearing the end of CEP 812, I was asked to think about my own personal beautiful question, as brought on by the final chapter of A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.

Berger asks us to think about what our life’s beautiful question would be, and although, I don’t think I have yet stumbled upon my overall life question, I will say that the book helped me think about several questions directly related to my career and to think about where I am personally headed in my career as an educator.  Ultimately, I want to be able to make an impact — so my beautiful question is “How can I make an educational impact?” — with the students that I teach at the high school level and the adult-learners I teach at Apple.

This past week we were introduced to Thomas L. Friedman’s idea that intelligence (or your IQ) eventually won’t be as important as someone’s curiosity (curiosity quotient or CQ) and passion (passion quotient or PQ) for creation.  In breaking down my infographic, I decided to talk about the differences between passion and curiosity and how I feel connected to those as a student and as an educator.  I thought about other beautiful questions that someone might ask as they learn more about PQ and CQ and connected it with my passion and curiosity for technology both in and outside of the classroom.

My goal as an educator is to continually ask those Why, What if and How questions in and outside of the classroom. I want to be able to provide my students with an opportunity to ask questions, use technology and collaborate with each other. And through TPACK, I plan to continue creating innovative and engaging lesson plans and collaborate with my Professional Learning Network while also continuing to expand who I follow within my own filter bubble so as to stay open-minded.

Finally, as I was working on this, I started thinking about how the role of an educator is changing.  Especially since it’s common for those outside of the school setting to think that technology will wipe away (or replace) educators.  So I decided to ask one last question — Are teachers obsolete?

It honestly feels like we (in the education system) are in the midst of a major change in the way we educate and become educated in the 21st century. Eventually the role of teachers will no longer be direct instructional practices as they once were famous for.  No longer will the classroom look like one teacher in front asking questions, while students sitting in rows are answering those said questions. Teachers will be required to facilitate and mentor students to ask their own questions, discuss and collaborate with their peers and come up with their own solutions.

And with that, here’s my infographic:

pqandcq_deutch_25341700

 

Sources:

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

Friedman, T. L. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

The Creative I: Defining Creativity

Creativity: such a subjective term that  causes quite a problem of definition.  Reading through Punya Mishra, Danah Henriksen & the Deep-Play Research Group’s article entitled “A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity: Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st century,” had me questioning and wondering why it is so difficult to define what is “creativity” or what being creative actually looks like. “A creative solution is NEW, i.e. it is Novel, Effective and Whole or creativity is a goal driven process of developing solutions that are Novel, Effective and Whole,” (Mishra, et. al., 2013, p. 11).

18835914_307467086349348_336631501692182375_n
Shane Konte at his Art Show on 6/3/17 at BrassWorks Gallery in Portland, OR. Source:Facebook

To further understand and define creativity, I interviewed my friend Shane Konte who is an artist (and in my opinion, all around creative person) who currently resides in Portland, OR, a major hub for creativity, art and talent. Through our conversation I found out that Shane has always had a knack for being creative and that he felt that it was something that was innate, passed on through genetics.  His mother, to this day, is “crafty,” and does a lot of sewing.  During his high school career, he won several Scholastic Art competitions and as a young adult he has been drawing, tattooing and now currently painting as part of his income.

 

I asked Shane how he would define creativity and he said this: “I think creativity is being able to come up with ideas that aren’t the mainstream and apply it in ways that are unique and captivating to other people.”  And when I asked him what inspires him to be creative he said, “I like doing things that other people haven’t done and I like finding ways to do things that other people have done but do them in a different way. I like the fact that I am able to create things because it makes people happy. When I do my paintings it’s very rewarding to know that I made something that was unique and one of a kind, and that someone smiles when they see it — they really cherish it.”

Shane also states that to be creative, you should be open to every idea you come up with. “I would even say in an entrepreneur type-approach, just seek new ideas. Even if the first idea out of your mouth is not something that would be successful or be turned into something – that idea could always spark and grow into another idea that could be the success or solution to something that you’re looking for.  So, I think creativity comes down to not necessarily questioning yourself, but also being confident. In order to express yourself in a creative manner you have to be confident because you’re probably pushing the norms in a lot of ways,”he said. “You have to be ready for people to judge you and say ‘no, I’m not okay with that.’  That can be a real personal thing. So just having the confidence and encouraging your students (for example) to speak up and have new ideas and be open-minded to those ideas, because everyone has good ideas and they come from somewhere.”

His final tips or advice to people who feel like they lack creativity, such as myself was to: “basically allow yourself to be open, allow yourself to be confident, and encourage others to do the same.” He also said, “take a risk and don’t second guess yourself. Keep it simple. Take the dive and try something out because that’s the only way something is going to change and things will go anywhere.”

I normally don’t ask Shane about his creativity or what inspires him, I usually just look at his work in awe and tell him that “I wish I could do that!” This assignment inspired me to think about my classroom and how I can take his advice to heart.  His points about brainstorming ideas and being more open-minded to them is something I’d like to incorporate.  

In my professional life, I think that I normally second-guess my initial thought process and I don’t have a lot of confidence in the ideas that I come up with. I want to turn that mentality around and push myself to take on a new idea for my class and test it out.  The worst thing that can happen is that it flops and we are back to ground-zero and I have to re-teach the topic (or unit).

In my personal life, I’d like to try picking up a new artistic hobby — maybe drawing or painting and just push myself to create the first thing that comes to mind and not second-guess it. Just let it flow and be open to others’ opinions after creation rather than be my harshest critic and scrap the creative process entirely.

Check out Shane’s work here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HairyMonkeyBoy
Source:

Mishra, P., Henriksen, D., & the Deep-Play Research Group (2013) A NEW approach to defining and measuring creativity. Tech Trends (57) 5, p. 5-13.

Pattern Activity: Recognizing the pattern of Human Struggle in Latin Art

Recognizing and forming patterns through the topic of Latin Art this week was a challenge as I was considering what the true definition of patterning means.  To me, patterning is the development of similar ideas or guidelines in a specific construct, based on previously created schemas or biases.  According to Robert and Michèle Root-Bernstein’s “Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People,” a pattern is “…a repetitive form or plan,” and that to “…perceive a pattern means that we have already formed an idea of what’s next,” (Root-Bernstein, 1999. p. 92).

Prior to this class, recognizing patterns within Latin art was not an element (or “spark,”) that I focused much on with my students when finding connections (or discussing) pieces of artwork. Because Latin Art is a sizeable topic, I can say that finding a patterns within this topic can be quite the feat to conquer.  Previously to this course, I have introduced my students to some Andean traditional art (specifically art created by Indigenous people of Ecuador, Peru or Chile) and show them the intricacies and elaborate color schemes of these pieces. I’d have students point out things that they recognized in the work and then we’d talk about them as a group and eventually I’d give my students an opportunity to create their own similar art but in drawing form.  Students usually point out the pattern formations that they noticed – both in color and in shape.  For example, in the following Peruvian woven textile, here is a dualistic pattern of two serpents:

hb_29.146.23
Source.

In the above piece, students would point out the double pattern on each side (both top and bottom, as well as side to side), which is specific to dualistic art.

Or here’s a Peruvian Wari Tunic, again showing us a continual pattern both in color and geometric shape:

3959
Source: https://www.ancient.eu/image/3959/

I think there is a point in discussing Andean art in the class, because it allows students to see the consistency of pattern creation across a traditional culture in South America.  When my students get that opportunity to create their own (or mimic) traditional Andean art, they enjoy the simplicity of setting up a very visible pattern and then providing a pattern of color in it as well.  

Although I show my students traditional art, I personally find more modern Latin art to be more entertaining and interesting for the fact that it is more communicative and represents something much larger than the paintings/drawings themselves.  It communicates to the viewer information about the time period of when it was created and also emotes the feelings and sentiments of the artist and/or the Latin people portrayed in the art.

As I was thinking about finding and forming patterns in this module and doing my research on modern Latin art work, I noticed a recurring theme or rather a pattern for viewers to be able to feel and understand the human struggle during the 20th and 21st centuries for Latinos. This same pattern continues to present day Latin art, which even rolls over to Mexican-American (or Chicano) artists today who portray the modern day struggle through their art work (including graffiti murals and paintings).

The pattern of portraying human struggle in latin art isn’t as obvious as the patterns in color and shapes, like that of the Andean traditional art.  In fact, it wasn’t until I was doing research on different Latin artists that I came across this pattern.  I noticed that many pieces of art were portraits of people using darker-toned colors (blacks, browns, deep reds, navy, etc.) and showed a story.

Tasking my students to identify patterns, I would show them something like this ThingLink I created with different pieces of Latin artwork:

https://www.thinglink.com/scene/972883903670910978

With my students, I would keep this pattern of the human struggle in the back of my mind, but I wouldn’t mention it to them at first. I would show them different pieces of Latin art (by different artists) and ask them to describe what they see in each painting.  From there, I would task them to get in small groups and use their senses to first perceive (use all of their senses) the painting and write that down.  Then I’d ask for them to find a pattern – I’d ask them:

  1. What similarities do you see in each of these paintings?
  2. What differences do you see in each of these paintings?
  3. Is there a notable pattern that you have found?
  4. Do you see any emotional connection to these paintings?

After working in small groups, we would get together as a large group and discuss the recognizable patterns that are easier to find (such as color similarities), and then through that discussion, I’d hope eventually someone would turn out a response about the human struggle pattern. If not, I would allude to it or ask probing questions to get to that response.  From there, I’d give my students an opportunity to relook at those paintings and see if they can find that pattern and denote what elements clue into the pattern of human struggle; what colors, what expressions, what shapes or what images within entire painting as a whole allude to that pattern? This way they can not only interact on a deeper level with the painting but also grasp a historical perspective of Latinos at the time in which those paintings were created.

Source:

Root-Bernstein, R. S., & Root-Bernstein, M. (1999). Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

 

Perceiving Activity: A perception of Frida Kahlo’s “Self Portrait with Cropped Hair”

I chose to pick a specific painting that I would show or use in my Spanish class to introduce and teach my students about 19th Century Mexican Art. I really enjoy Frida Kahlo’s art and I think that she shows  many different perspectives of Mexican culture and self-portraiture through her work.

As I was exploring which piece I specifically wanted to work with, I was thinking about what may open the minds of my students and question some of their own thinking about norms and normative behaviors. Which is why I chose to re-imagine Frida Kahlo’s “Self Portrait with Cropped Hair” from 1940.

Here’s the original piece:

 

self-portrait-with-cropped-hair-by-frida-kahlo-1940_2
Source: SARTLE.COM

 

At the time that Frida created this piece, she was divorcing her husband, Diego Rivera (another famous Mexican artist) who had been unfaithful to her (Source: MOMA).  My original thoughts and perceptions of this painting was that Frida was expressing her more masculine-of-center side. The side of her where she could and would feel more independent and maybe even do more (especially in the ‘40s and in Mexico).  I honestly took the painting as a way to express a feminist perspective on the “machismo” societal views of Catholicism in Mexico and the times of 1940s.  A viewpoint which was very gender-binary, you were either male or female, no middle ground and on top of that, masculinity was much more valued than femininity.

For the most part, when we look at a painting or piece of work we analyze or perceive it as it is. What does this painting do for us? What is this painting telling us? What is the story behind this painting? Often times we question the artist, asking them why the artist painted it the way they did and what does it symbolize? And we even question what kind of emotions are evoked when we look at this painting?  To re-imagine this piece of work, I decided to do the opposite and think about what it was like to be Frida Kahlo in that painting.  What was she thinking, feeling, seeing, doing?  And what was Frida’s perception sitting in the chair looking back out?  What was she wanting to tell the viewer about her feelings and emotions at the time of this creation?

In my re-imagination, I wrote out spoken word (poetry) and playing around in GarageBand on my computer, I created some music with loops to put behind the following spoken word: Link to Frida Perception Activity.

As I’m sitting here, peering out into an empty home.  

Thinking about every beautiful moment we had together.

Ruined by your unfaithfulness.  

I sit here with your ruined perception of my beauty.

I say goodbye to my hair.  Goodbye to my traditional clothing and goodbye to your words:

“Mira que si te quise, fué por el pelo, Ahora que estás pelona, ya no te quiero”

 “See, if I loved you, it was for your hair, now you’re bald, I don’t love you any more.”.

The faint smell of fresh empanadas and mole linger in the background as I cut every inch of my silky black hair.  Falling to the floor, each lock of hair unties me. Letting me be free, letting me be who I am as an independent person. Independent from your norms and the norms of our people.

I sit here before you with a lingered pain but also a feeling of freedom and comfort.

This loose suit just barely grips my shoulders and waist. In a way that doesn’t force me to sacrifice the person I have always been.

And for that, thank you for what you have done.  For now I am who I am, independent of who you are, both as a man and as an artist. I can sit here, perceived as an equal.

Originally, my thought of what perception is, is the idea of how we initially look or view our outside surroundings. However, after this module, I am understanding that perception is more than just visual. It includes perceptions using all of our senses — hearing, smelling, thinking and touching. Perception can also push the boundary of what we are perceiving physically and try to flip ourselves into understanding what that person or thing we are perceiving is perceiving upon us (like an inception).

I really enjoyed this module because it pushed me to think beyond what I normally do for my own classroom.  I want to take this activity and give my students an opportunity to pick pieces of art and instead of looking at what the art tells them, have them come up with their perception from the art’s perspective.  I’d even try to get them to write their own poem, spoken word or rap; and then teach them GarageBand and how to create a music to accompany their spoken word.

WPP: Rethinking Teaching Survey

My think tank team got together today and discussed some really great WHAT IF questions that inspired us to think about potential solutions for our wicked problem.

Our wicked problem is Rethinking Teaching which ultimately means we want to find a way to redefine what skills, resources and support are necessary for the 21st century learning environment.  In essense, we have trickled down this broad topic into three main key ideas to push us toward the best “bad” solution. Those key points that we have

  1. Inquiry-Based Learning
  2. Policy Change
  3. Technology

Visually this is how I personally have been thinking or imagining how our wicked problem would eventually find potential solutions or a best “bad” solution:

WPPChart

We came up with three questions to help push us ultimately toward our solution for Rethinking Teaching:

  1. How can we prepare teachers to utilize student led-questioning and inquiry based questions in the classroom?
  2. How can legislators implement better policies to provide support and resources to all educational institutions?
  3. How could we use technology to assist teachers in innovative thinking?

As a group we came up with a total of 18 questions that will take about 5 minutes to answer.  We are planning to send these questions out through our professional learning networks so that we can get a varied mix of responses.  These responses will remain anonymous and we will analyze them to better understand our wicked problem and suggest a solution.

Here’s a Link to the Survey. 

If you are reading this blog please consider answering this short survey about the wicked problem of Rethinking Teaching in our professional context.

I have crafted this survey for an assignment that is part of my graduate program in educational technology at Michigan State University. I also hope that the results will inform discussions and planning for technology integration in the work we do together, and with students.

Please complete this survey no later than Friday, October 13, 2017. Thank you very much for your time and insights.

 

Thank you so much for your time!

-Mara

WPP: Rethinking Teaching InfoGraphic

This week I got together with my Think Tank for my Wicked Problem Project. We brainstormed questions revolving around the wicked problem of Rethinking Teaching. After spending some time looking at the problem from several different standpoints – stubborn teacher, student and policy maker, we came up with three different sections to look at overall:

  1. Teacher Preparation
  2. Use of Technology
  3. Effective Assessment

These were the three main topics that came up as we ran through all of the questions we came up during our question brainstorming activity in week 3. After participating in the roundrobin discussion, we decided to prioritize our questions and came up with the following WHY questions:

  1. Why can’t the teaching and questioning be put into the hands of the students and away from the teacher?
  2. Why can’t traditional education change to be more hands-on?
  3. Why can’t there be more support to help teachers experiment in the classroom?
  4. Why are laws based on student performance on standardized assessment proficiency?
  5. Why can’t teacher performance be based on collaboration throughout the district or based on teacher creativity or teacher-student relationships?

After breaking our generalized topic (rethinking teaching) into specific questions my further research this week based on these questions has shown me how important this topic really has become as the 21st century has changed the way students gather information and work in a classroom setting.  I even came across an article from The Atlantic that questions the whole role of the teacher in general and asks the question of whether teachers are even necessary anymore. I am curious to see what the teaching profession could even become as rethinking education is a topic on the forefront of many policy makers and educational institutions in the United States.

 

 

WPP_Rethinking_Teaching
Want to view the interactive infographic? Click Here.