Wicked Problem Solution: Rethinking the Role of Educators

At the commencement of CEP 812: Applying Educational Technology to Issues of Practice — my third graduate course in matriculating through the Master’s in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University — I was offered the opportunity to explore what characterizes a problem of practice and to what extent it can be solved. While one may use logic, critical thinking and creativity to solve well-structured problems and complex problems, the same cannot be said for wicked problems. As John C. Camillus states, "A wicked problem has innumerable causes, is tough to describe, and doesn’t have a right answer” (2008).

Although a wicked problem is seemingly impossible to solve, my classmates and I took on the arduous task of researching and proposing a solution to Rethinking the Role of Educators. As linked to below, we constructed a multimodal presentation that encompasses a narrative of our journey, beginning with an explanation of wicked problems and ending with a proposed solution. Our proposed solution encapsulates refining and enhancing professional development practices for educators.

The Why/What If/How problem-solving process we conducted was adopted from Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question (2014). The process stems from curiosity, as we brainstormed a multitude of Why questions, progresses into the What If stage where one begins to imagine a solution and concludes with developing plans on How the solution can be implemented. Of note, our presentation includes excerpts from infographics that we designed, peer-reviewed research, and data collected from a survey that we created and conducted, which assisted us in forming a solution.

To access the presentation, please click on the image below. Additionally, please feel free to comment with any questions, concerns or feedback you may have. Thank you in advance for exploring our proposed solution.

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

Camillus, J. C. (2008). Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

Calling All K-12 Educators: Survey on Rethinking the Role of Educators

The best way that I can describe the wicked nature of Rethinking the Role of Educators is to compare it to this cartoon from 1943.

The moment my fellow classmates and I develop an idea for a proposed solution, it seems as though numerous additional components arise, spawning out exponentially. Although, it is no wonder that this is the case given that the role of educators was first defined in the 18th century, producing factory workers during the Industrial Revolution. Fast forward to present day; history shows years of technological advancements, rapidly-changing demands for students and the necessity to evaluate what it is that teachers should be doing to support students’ needs.

Proposing an Adequate Solution Requires Feedback from Teachers Themselves

While we move closer to formulating a proposed solution to our wicked problem of Rethinking the Role of Educators — which focuses on professional development needs and in-class support for teachers —  my classmates and I are seeking responses to the brief survey below. Moreover, it includes 15 multiple question questions and one optional, open-ended response. We hope that it will inform us with insights regarding student-centered learning, leadership, and professional development practices. Of note, NO personal identifiable information will be collected as all responses are anonymous. Further, data collected will be analyzed and submitted to my professors at MSU for further evaluation.

UPDATE: Although the survey is no longer accepting responses, a list of questions and data collected can be found here.

Masters, J. (2014). Gabby gabby goes fishing (1943) fleischer Studios-1 cartoons (Video). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/HQs1dmznuGg