Friday, February 10, 2006

Students as Problem Solvers

From a post by third grade teacher Mark Ahlness:

Today I had a serious problem with network connectivity in my classroom - I think the network folk were working on stuff. We couldn't get to our local network consistently (e.g, no printing or saving). I watched one of my third graders solve a problem in a way that just made me shake my head in wonder. She was typing in Word - wanted to print, but could not - and could not save to her network folder. But she had Internet access. There was only one computer in the room that had access to our printer at that time. She turned to me and said, "Couldn't I just copy and paste this to my blog - like not ask for it to be published or anything? Just save it there.... and then I could go to that other computer that can print, log on to my blog, open that saved article, copy and paste my writing from my blog article into Word - and then print? Like, would that work?"Like, my goodness. What comes so naturally to our nine year olds these days. Of course it worked.
I'd have to say she's a digital native. This is what I'd like our students to become. Not necessarily technology experts (not that there's anything wrong with that), but students that are comfortable enough with technology that they can be problem solvers. Not necessarily problem solvers in the sense of solving technology problems (not that there's anything wrong with that, either), but more importantly having the confidence and the background knowledge to go after problems themselves, not always looking to the teacher for the solution.

How many of our high school students would've thought of that solution? How many of our staff?


  1. I would say that most of our staff would be too frustrated to think the problem through. I would hope that some one would have suggested this or at least to email the document to themselves so that it could be retrieve and printed are held until they could get to a printer that worked. I do agree with you, Karl, that this is the level we want to get our students to work at and our staff, as well. (The Yes Woman)

  2. I don't even know if I understand the solution that the 3rd grader came up with!

  3. I am with Wallace. I would have grabbed a pencil.

    Even watching Megan around the house, not with technology by the way, I am amazed at her problem solving skills. Why would my students be any different? (If I would just let them.)

    If I could not find a pencil I would call Jan or Karl.