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Therefore meaningful problems need to connect

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Unformatted text preview: they should cross academic domains, they should not have obvious or clear solutions and solution paths, and their solutions need to be evaluated on multiple criteria (Jonassen, 1999). Second, the problems should be engaging, meaningful, and appropriate for the age of the students (Arends, 2001; Delisle, 1997; Duffy & Fishman, 1993). It’s important to remember that many children and adolescents do not have the goal of becoming a content expert in an academic domain (Maxwell, Bellisimo, & Mergendoller, 2001). Therefore, meaningful problems need to connect academic disciplines to students’ lives. For example, adolescents face some critical health issues such as sexually transmitted diseases. Understanding how to reduce the incidences of sexually transmitted diseases requires application of knowledge from biology, history, political science, and sociology to name a few disciplines, and this problem has relevance for students’ lives. Effective problems not only need to be ill-defined and relevant, but also realistic in terms of the level of expertise students are expected to show (Jonassen, 1999). If expectations are not matched to student’s level, frustration can result Finally, when identifying a problem, consider its potential alignment to important standards or curricular objectives (Delisle, 1997; Torp & Sage, 2002), 49 This is particularly important as schools become places where students are required to pass high–stakes examinations that cover prescribed standards or content. Communicating the problem. Once a problem has been selected, it must be communicated to students in an understandable manner. First, students need to understand the context in which the problem is situated. For example, what advantages and restrictions does the context pose for solving the problem? They will also need to know who the stakeholders and community of practitioners are that they will need to interact with or consider in their problem solving (Jonassen, 1999). The problem statement should clearly identify the issue or...
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