Showing posts from July, 2016

Solving Wicked Problems Parts 1 - 3

Note: This blog entry was originally published in 3 parts at TCEA TechNotes blog at I've combined all into one blog entry here. The term "wicked problem" was introduced to me by previous work is defined as a problem that endures in spite of effort brought to bear to solve it. Having solved my share of wicked problems in the technology field, I thought I'd share how I got it done. “Our kiddoes are stuck in a portable building with no internet,” challenged a kindly, experienced principal, smiling her demand, “and I’m not sure why. Can you help me, please?” In any environment, there are various ways of accomplishing goals and objectives and of receiving funding for needed projects.  In some locations, a conversation that moves participants towards action suffices, while in others, the value is placed on a formal presentation or proposal. In the next few blog entries, I explore several ways that most supervisors will ask for plans o…

App-Smashing with #GoogleApps Tools #gafe

“How do you blend tools to solve a real-life problem?” That’s a question that pops up often for me. A popular concept from using iPads is “app-smashing,” which involves taking what you made in one app and dropping it into another. Usually,this results in a refinement of the initial product, enhancing it with audio or video, so that the overall product is improved. You can do the same with Google Apps tools. Let’s consider these real-world scenarios which may all be solved by combining key Google tools such as Sites, Forms, and Sheets: Classroom Scenario: Students have asked how they can know who else has signed up to attend an after-hours, academic field trip. To automate the process, you realize you can create a Google Form to capture student registrations, which are saved to a Google Sheet, and those responses can be displayed on a Google Sites location. District Scenario: Staff have a variety of questions regarding a new initiative. They want to make sure you, the administrator, are get…

Geocaching in a Real World, Augmented Reality Geosphere

New digital technologies (such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and geocaching) enable us to transform our experiences in the real world. In essence, we are increasingly able to include layers of virtual and augmented reality, replete with information and visual transformations, in our real world interactions. In a previous blog entry, Cultivating a Maker’s Attitude, I shared the perspective that blending high-tech and hands-on (e.g. crafts) yields a new way of creating and working in the world. In the past, we enjoyed a dichotomy between working with your mind and working with your hands, even though it is ridiculous to think that you could do the latter without being fully engaged. Still, the latter has long been seen as less valuable. That is why “college ready” has held such a high appeal, while going to “vocational” schools been seen as a disappointment, a failure somehow to realize the full potential of a human being. Yet that perspective and understanding of the world must …

Cultivating a Maker's Attitude #maker #makerspaces #makered

“Being a maker is about having an attitude,” remarked Peggy Reimers (shown left) during a workshop. A reluctant convert to 3D printing, I had often asked myself the question “Why make stuff when you can just order it on Amazon?” That was before I realized how important it is to own again the experience of “making” things, as well as “programming” things. And that idea certainly connects to having the right attitude. As Peggy points out, we need to cultivate a maker’s attitude towards teaching and learning. Definition of a Maker’s AttitudeAs I explore my growing understanding of being “a maker,” I see that a maker’s attitude may be defined by a few key concepts: A willingness to blend high-tech with hand-made crafts:Often, there is a bias against hand-made crafts, the work we do with our hands. But this bias poorly reflects the reality. Plumbers, electricians, drone handlers, and 3D printing experts make money with this work, often more than those who have earned a college degree. What …