layers of school IT

Education Cannot Be Engineered

The most flawed educational proposals proceed from the position that education is an engineering problem, and thus we can build educational systems can be built to create systems that produce measurable achievement reliably. For many reasons, those systems that approach all teaching and learning as a recipe that produces learning that can be measured with Read More

layers of school IT

On Problems in Education

In education, problems are not so easy to isolate and fix. Students and teachers are vastly more complicated than IT and their lives are affected by far more variables than even the most sophisticated IT systems. When looking carefully at problems in education, we discover they cannot be isolated; and solutions may resolve symptoms but Read More

layers of school IT

Another Take on Wicked and Tame Problems

In the 1970’s two professors of planning from California published ana important paper in which they defined “tame” and “wicked” problems. While each can be challenging, the two are differentiated by the how we approach problem and judge if they have been solved. Technology problems are typically tame problems, while teaching is a wicked one.  Read More

layers of school IT

Problems for Computers

Computers are excellent at solving problems… that is as long as the problem can be reduced to an algorithm (artificial intelligence researchers are working to change this, but most folks who use computers solve such reduced problems with them). Reduction to an algorithm requires rules to be clearly and completely defined. If the problem reflects Read More

layers of school IT

Let’s Loose the Physics Envy… We Might Be Better Users of Data if We Do

My undergraduate studies included many science courses, that’s what happens when one is studying to be a science teacher. As a graduate student in education, my mentors introduced me to qualitative research methods. For 20 years, I have been attending educational research conferences (and occasionally presenting at them). I’m certainly no expert, but I am Read More

layers of school IT

Thoughts on “Education for Misinformation”

I’ve been kicking around the concept of “red herrings” for a few years, at least since I started to recognize them. I attribute this skill to the habits I developed while a doctoral student, but we all know how “reliable” such stories are about ourselves. For me, red herrings always appeared in our school structures, Read More

layers of school IT

Students’ Experiences Matter

Teaching is an inherently wicked problem. (This idea has been addressed multiple times in this blog– search for “wicked.”) In 1973, scholars Rittel and Webber defined wicked problems as those that are ill-defined and that are judged only from the perspective of the individual who experienced the solution. A defining characteristic of wicked problems is Read More

layers of school IT

Diversity of Solutions to Wicked Problems

When Rittel and Webber (1973) first defined wicked problems, they concluded that leaders cannot reasonably identify a single solution to a given social problem. They observed “that diverse values are held by different groups of individuals—[so] what satisfies one may be abhorrent to another, [and] what comprise problem-solution for one is problem-generation for another,” and Read More