“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” – Bill Gates

CEP 812: Wicked Problem Project

on August 4, 2014

As defined by the NMC Horizon Project Summit Communiqué, wicked problems are “issues that are extremely difficult and even seemingly impossible to solve because of the complex or ever-changing environments in which they arise.” In education, wicked problems engulf us, for there isn’t one best “solution” to the multitude of problems with which we are faced. To quote Ben Affleck in the film Argo, “There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.”

My group focused on failure as a learning mode as our wicked problem of practice. Today’s current school system isn’t designed to allow students to fail, and traditional grading hurts students when failure is encountered. We believe that it is important to give students the opportunity to take risks, make mistakes, and problem solve to redesign their own thinking. Innovators are made through experimentation and failure, through perseverance and grit.

I order to implement failure as a learning mode into the classroom, the traditional grading system would need to be replaced. We propose a standards-based grading system, which allows failure to become a productive component of the learning process rather than an endpoint. Standards-based grading gives students a spectrum of their skill level, rather than absolute grades (Proulx, Spencer-May, and Westerberg, 2012).

We also propose that video games be used to encourage strategizing and critical thinking. Video games are a media with which students are familiar, and they are already comfortable “failing” in a video game setting. Students learn that making multiple attempts to master a concept helps further develop understanding.

To take a peak at our brainstorming process and our discussions, to see a visual representation of our ideas, and to read a draft of our proposal, click on the link to our curation site, here.





Allen, R. (2012). Support struggling students with academic rigor: A conversation with author and educator robyn jackson. Education Update, 54(8), 3-5

BPS Community News (2013). Standards-Based Grading. Retrieved from

Fouchè, J. (2013). Rethinking Failure. Science Teacher. 80(8). 45-49. Retrieved from

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Marquis, J.W. (2013). How To Help Your Student Embrace Failure Through Game-based Learning. Retrieved from

McIntosh, J. (2012). Failing to Get an A. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers. 87(7), 44-46. Retrieved from

Miller, D. (2013). Got it Wrong? Think again. And again. Phi Delta Kappan. 94(5). 50-52. Retrieved from

New Media Consortium (2013). The Horizon Project. Retrieved from

Proulx, C., Spencer-May, K., & Westerberg, T. (2012). Moving to standards-based grading: Lessons from omaha. Principal Leadership, 13(4), 30-34. Retrieved from

Sieling, C. J. (2013). Standards-based grading in mathematics: Effects on student achievement andattitude. (Order No. 1523840, Southwest Minnesota State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 90. Retrieved from (1441864956)

Vallett, D. B., & Annetta, L. (2014). Re-visioning K-12 education: Learning through failure—Not social promotion. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(3), 174-188.doi:



One response to “CEP 812: Wicked Problem Project

  1. seremji1 says:

    I really enjoyed your groups presentation on failure as a learning mode! I think you give us a lot of really good information and solutions! I have a few suggestions for each piece of your project.
    First, the video mashup has a lot of screen shots of text from your paper and brainstorming, although I think this is a good idea the sections go by too quickly to read any of the information presented. I would select smaller selections of text or expand the amount of time they are shown. The viewer needs to be able to at least pick out a main idea or phrase from the text presented.
    Secondly, I loved your piktochart. I think this was excellently done and included all the pertinent information. Nice job!
    Third, within your brainstorming doc, you have your piktochart and your white paper. Since these are included in the curation, I would consider removing these and just having them presented in their completed forms elsewhere. All the other information in your brainstorming document is stellar!
    Fourth, your paper does a wonderful job explaining failure as a learning mode and proper support for your suggested changes. However, there are just a few technical issues. Check your intent citations, some of them only have page numbers and no dates. Double check the owl Purdue but I believe you should put n.d. where there is no date provided. Also, check you spacing for your references section. When I opened the paper it was spaced strangely, there was a huge gap from the end of the paper to the references.
    Overal, nice job on this curation of information. I found it really informative, engaging, interesting, and evidence based. I think your group and you have done an excellent job collaborating around failure as a learning mode.

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