Critical Thinking and Problem Solving – Day One

1. I updated you grade (commercial). Find out your score and comments here.

PART ONE: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Our next topic is critical thinking and problem solving. We teach and learn to make better decisions and solve problems in our daily life. Most real-world problems are not like math problems, however. What does a real-world problem look like? What strategies are needed to deal with these problems? How can we integrate technology to enhance those strategies?

1. Let’s look at this video that introduces a way to deal with wicked (ill-defined) problems. I converted this Youtube video to online instructional materials usingTedEd. The tool can be used to contextualize your lessons using videos and provide questions and prompts to scaffold student thinking. Watch the video. With your group member, answer the four embedded questions, and explore further references as needed.

(1) According to the video, why are those wicked problems hard to solve?
(2) Designing a lesson that addresses each student’s unique needs and curriculum requirements is one of wicked problems. Think about one example of wicked problems you have recently experienced in your life. What was it?
(3) How did you solve the wicked problem you just shared?
(4) After watching the video, did you get a better idea of dealing with your problem? How would you differently solve the problem?

2. So, what does this have to do with technology integration? Are there tools available that can support student problem solving?

3. Here is a set of National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) that addresses critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making:

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems,
and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

a. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
d. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

PART TWO: Learning Adventure Project

Today we are starting a new project, one that will continue almost until the end of the semester. We’ll be calling this Learning Adventure Project. You have all created/observed lessons, digital stories, a personal website and more. Now it’s time to integrate all your skills into one project.

Let’s Look at an Example

Before we get to all the details, let’s first look at some examples of Adventures created by former EDIT 2000 students. Ours will be set up slightly different, but the premise is the same. You read about Project-Based Learning (PBL)– you are basically creating your own project-based learning for students. You will create  a website that introduces your project to students, parents, and other teachers. The site is meant to guide a student through an adventure of your choosing (of course, it’s nice to offer them choices within your adventure as well).

Health Adventure: You Are What You Eat

Adventure in the Wilderness


After looking at the student examples, what questions do you have? How do you think the adventure could have been improved? Do you notice any missing elements of the adventure that could have made it better? Think on this – maybe as we work through the project, you will want to go about it differently. That’s okay! Just be sure to talk with me to let me know your ideas.

Partners and Groups

I would prefer you work with a partner or a group of three for this project. It’s okay if you find yourself planning an adventure in a subject or grade different than the one you identified at the beginning of the semester. I am open to people working alone, but you need to be forewarned that this is a lot of work – being able to share the work load will help you stay on target.

Project Rubric

Open this Learning Adventure Rubric.  Talking through the rubric will help you understand what is expected of you throughout the project.  You will notice that the criteria for receiving full credit is part of the rubric. Let’s look at this together.


Come prepared to work with a partner on Monday. You should talk with them about the topic you want to address for the project. It can be anything really. We will have time Monday to continue talking about the project and also time to brainstorm/talk with classmates.

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