The Big Reveal of a Diabolical Solution

Three weeks ago, Donna, Erin, Lisa and I formed a team to tackle the issue of making innovation a learning ethic which was determined to be a wicked problem by the New Media Consortium (2013).  Gee calls these types of problems “big questions” (2013, pg. 143).   I reported our initial progress on our quest to identify a solution in an earlier post called “A Diabolical Solution to a Wicked Problem”.  Our team has been working very hard since then.  We collaborated using Zoom, Voxer, and Google Docs and finally agreed on a solution to the problem. We knew that the results of our work were not going to be a conventional, one-size-fits-all solution.  We felt that offering one or two educational concepts or technological solutions would not solve the problem.  So we decided to explore how to make this a new educational model.  As a team with four different perspectives and alternative viewpoints (Gee, 2013, pg. 144), we were able to formulate a complicated solution that, we think, best solves this wicked problem.  Our final solution involves policy changes that affects teachers, administrators and policy makers.


Teacher at Chalkboard on Flicker CC 2.0
Teacher at Chalkboard from Flicker CC 2.0

Ultimately, it is the teacher who must create lessons with activities that are engaging and require innovation on the part of the learner.  The teacher must understand and use concepts such as Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Mirsha & Koehler, 2006) and Universal Designs for Learning ((Rose & Gravel, 2011).  Teachers must be ready to collaborate with other teachers to develop cross-curricular lessons.  Check out the article called “10 Commandments of Innovative Teaching” by A.J. Juiliani (2014) which gives some very insightful ideas for developing lessons with innovation.



Clock from Pixabay CC0 Public Domain
Clock from Pixabay CC0 Public Domain


To make innovation a learning ethic we feel that administrators must invest in meaningful professional development in innovation and technology.  And, they must be open to adjusting schedules so teachers can work collaboratively and students have enough time for authentic innovation.



Policy Makers

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O’Brien [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As it stands right now, the educational system does not support innovation as a learning ethic.  The educational system is an institution with a set of frozen rules and procedures that would require a lot of effort to change (Gee, 2013, pg. 85).  Our entire system uses standardized testing as a way to measure and regulate the institution.   This forces teachers to teach small bits of information with no context or authenticity.  It assumes that every student should learn the same things in the same way and at the same time.View the Results of our Quest to Solve a Wicked Problem

Who knows if our solution could really solve the wicked problem of making innovation a learning ethic?  According to Gee (2013, pg. 144), solving a problem like this will require “trying and re-trying different interventions, testing various explanations, and returning again and again to the drawing board.”   We have more information available about our solution including infographics, a video and a white paper.  You can find them here on Blendspace.



Gee, J. P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. Palgrave Macmillan.

Juliani, A. (2014, January 23). 10 Commandments of Innovative Teaching – A.J. Juliani. Retrieved August 10, 2015, from

New Media Consortium (2013). The Horizon Project. Retrieved from, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006).

Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0).Wakefield, MA: Retrieved August 9, 2015 from

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Retrieved August 4, 2015 from