Posted to Diigo 03/23/2012

    • I also told students why we were doing this (something that isn’t done often enough in classrooms, in my opinion–why do some still insist on keeping what they want students to learn a big secret, making students stumble around trying to figure it out all in the name of “it’s good for them?”) by writing some “I can” statements for problem-solving
    • I can solve problems by:

      • analyzing given information to determine what you need to know
      • doing research and collecting resources using technology
      • stating the problem in clear language
      • mapping out the problem to arrive at a solution
      • proposing a logical solution to the problem based on evidence gathered during your research, and supporting that solution by citing evidence from your research
  • However, I must still focus on my content area objectives
  • after a few days of processing the initial information given to them in the case report and letter, I sent them another letter from the good doctor which stated the specific “science stuff” they needed to include in their presentation
  • We then added more questions to their “Need to Know” list, and continued the research
  • Our next steps are to plan out their presentations (which is the solution to their problem) and practice them in class before giving them in class
  • Don’t use a case that is easily find-able on the internet
  • Make your problem more than just about finding a “right” answer
  •  Also, the inherent real-world “messiness” of my problem  lies not in the solution itself but in making the connections between the science concepts and the little girl’s symptoms in order to form a coherent and concise explanation
  • Have students practice making connections between concepts
  • students are used to the “memorize, repeat, forget” model of schooling and need practice with upper-level thinking skills
  •  Bottom line–if your students don’t know how to think the way you want them to, you have to have them practice that thinking
  • Just throwing them out into the thinking pool without any training (or even any floaties to help them) is setting yourself and your students up for frustration rather than learning
  • Provide students with activities to help them learn your curricular goals.
  • in order to guide them and help them focus their research, I wrote some learning activities
  • But don’t let students get so lost in the content forest that the content trees are all they see
  • review the problem statement every day
  • Don’t let them get so deep into the memorizing content zone that they lose sight of the problem they’re supposed to be solving
  • Unlearn talking at students and learn to ask them question after question
  • I am also driving my students nuts with my questions, because now I am not the supreme answer-giver and master science-explainer
  • it puts the burden of thinking back on the student

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.