CEP 812 Wicked Problem of Practice Assignment


If you teach, then you know wicked problems. The unique complexities of the ecologies in which we live and work make for problems that are often considered intractable (e.g., the contribution of SES to reading scores), or too big to solve (e.g., the politics of standardized testing and its impact on instruction, especially in low performing schools). In your classroom, you see wicked problems too. Factors such as the timetable, departmental imperatives, parents’ expectations, the challenges inherent to learning the content, students’ reading comprehension abilities, students’ developmental stage...the list goes on and on.

This assignment is an opportunity for you to think about one wicked problem of practice that you have encountered in your professional life and a solution to it that involves technology. The problem should impact student learning and/or your ability to teach students.

Here’s what you’ll do for this assignment:
  1. Identify a wicked problem of practice in your classroom, school or workplace.
  2. Describe its causes, its impact and its general wickedness in words and images. Create a graph, an info-graphic or an illustration of some sort that extends the words you have used to describe the problem. Interactive audio and visual media are also possible -- but not required.
  3. Propose a solution that uses a digital technology or technologies.
  4. Explain (in words) how this/these technology/technologies will (theoretically) impact the constellation of factors you have described above. Tell your audience HOW and WHY these technologies will change things. Use the TPACK framework as a theoretical compass. How will the technology interact with content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in constructive ways?
  5. Create a second graph, info-graphic, or illustration that shows some aspect of your proposed solution and its impact. Again, interactive media are possible, but not required.
  6. Put all of this on a page on your WordPress site.


We will use the following parameters to evaluate your project. We’ll use the familiar 0, 1, 2, 3 scale to communicate “degree” of evidence for each parameter.

1. Critical evaluation of the problem and solution. Do you provide a critical review of the problem, its causes, impact and wickedness? Is it clear that you have explored its complexities and understand what makes it such a difficult problem to solve? Is your solution well reasoned and justified?
2. Writing. Are your words well crafted, well organized? Do you communicate your understanding of the problem and the solution well?
3. Visual representation. Does your visual representation extend and enhance the meaning of the words you’ve used?
4. Theoretical compass. Have you used TPACK as a theoretical framework to guide your understanding of the problem and the solution?