The Splendor of Problem-finding


Here is an example of good problem-finding. Splendor is the creation of two interface design students, Sebastian Schwinkendorf and Matthias Löwe, at FH Potsdam. The project combines two data sets–gps-tagged photos (taken from Panoramio) and the postions of famous landmark–to produced beautiful maps showing the best viewing angles, distances and so forth.

Finding the best view point for a photoshoot is a trivial problem for most of us (see my post and comments, BLC 11: Problem-finding is the next big thing for a short discussion on trivial problems.) But seeing that two different data sets, which on their own are not especially interesting, might be combined to make new knowledge (and to present it so beautifully) is not.

This wasn’t mere problem-solving and it certainly wasn’t a problem-based learning project–no one has even seen this done before. Now, I have no doubt Schwinkendorf and Matthias were only able to see, or find, the problem because they were well-schooled in the “grammar” of programming, mashing up data etc. I’m certainly not suggesting that as we develop problem-finding models we give up on the so-called basics. There! there’s a problem I just found: how do we teach the grammar of all the subjects subject in a context of problem-finding? And what would that look like delivered across K12?

In any case, this is the kind of splendorous connect-the-dots thinking I want my students to do.   






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