Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We've moved.

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This blog will remain active for archival purposes, but will not be updated.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Wikiseat Project: A Student Considers The Role of Problems

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Our initial steps in The WikiSeat project have had us considering the role that problems play in both the project and our lives.  Here's a very insightful post by one of our students.  Steven's class blog is called Thoughts of a Rugby Player and it is used here with his kind permission. - Sean Wheeler

Just Think About It

by Steven H.

Nothing in life is perfect, because of this there are these things called "problems". Problems can be anything from something being built incorrectly on a bridge or a building to emotional or medical issues somebody may have. I think the word "problem" should be defined as something that isn't the way we think it should be and needs fixing. Some things are more easily fixed than others, issues like autism or other mental disorders. I have a close friend whose sister has autism and they are always supporting ways to help her. Problems can go from this extreme to the mild problem of a flat tire. Both are necessary to fix, this is why I think they are both problems.

All people have different attitudes towards problems. People who act like Marvin the manically depressed robot from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" who are constantly saying everything is destined to fail, no matter what you do. These people don't really try to solve the problem they just sit back and say "See I told you so". There are also the people who just slink away from the problem and say "I'll do it later". Neither of these people are really helping any of the other people who actually correct the problem, but hindering them. This brings me to the third type of person, the proactive problem solver. These people go out in search of a problem, not wait for a problem to happen or to be given one, but actually look for them. This is how I was raised to deal with any problem, the tried and true "It's YOUR problem so YOU fix it".

The only catch is that in order to be a true problem solver, you need to be able to identify problems. You can't assume the blatant explanation is the correct one and this requires you to put forth something called effort. This is a problem that is being exasperated by several things, but one of the prime reasons is due to our schooling system. I can say with confidence that we just play a game through high school. It only dawned on me what we were doing in sixth grade but when it did, even the minimal effort I was putting forth stopped. Until this year I haven't put any thought or effort into school, even though I was in the "focus" program, the supposedly challenging course for middle school students. For four years I haven't tried to do well in school. This is a huge problem that needs to be solved and I think that the 2.0 program at Lakewood High School is on the right track. This is all in the opinion of a sixteen year old kid. However this kid has played the game known as school for eight years, which is almost twice the length of the longest average career of a professional football player. I think I know my game pretty well if you ask me.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The WikiSeat Project: Our Students Have Problems!

Our students received their Catalysts yesterday, and The WikiSeat Project 2013 is off and running.  Students were asked to identify a problem that they wanted to solve by designing and building a WikiSeat, and post it to a Moodle forum.  The responses, most of them listed below, range from the practical concerns of daily life all the way up to the spiritually uplifting and deeply empathetic.  When our students learn because they have real problems that they want to solve they approach the whole process with something real at stake and with a determination otherwise not associated with what we usually do in school.  We invite you to take some time looking at the problems our students hope to solve through our work on the project, and to read more about our approach to identifying problems.  - Sean Wheeler
  • The chair I use now is getting old, and I play Minecraft with my brother, and he usually sits on the ground.
  • Every time I go to my friend’s house I have to sit on her bed and it sucks because she is a bed hog. 
  • I don't have anywhere to hangout alone.
  • My sister broke my vanity chair so now I have nowhere to sit down and do my hair or my makeup.
  • When I straighten or curl my hair, I have to be in front of my mirror, and I get tired of standing.
  • When I moved out of my old house all of the dinning room chairs broke due to how old they were, so my mother took all the spare chairs from the house and used them for the table. This included my creative chair.
  • I'm scared of the dark.
  • My problem is when it comes time to get a haircut I have nowhere to sit, and I don’t want too use my dining room chairs.

  • My brother and I share a room and our beds take up most of the room. When I have friends sleep over they have nowhere to sit. 
  • The WikiSeat solves the problem of not having enough seats at the dinner table.  Someone either has to sit in the living room or on the floor. 
  • I don’t have enough places for people to sit and I’m having a birthday party real soon.
  • I noticed that whenever I'm at my friend’s house, and she's getting ready or something, she doesn't get to sit in front of her mirror to straighten her hair or do her make up. When she sits there, the mirror is too high up for her to see herself in the mirror so she has to do her hair and makeup without looking in the mirror.
  • My dog is always jumping up on these nice chairs in our house and my mom gets upset because her paws scratch the leather.
  • My problem is that my mom and I have nowhere to sit in our yard without getting dirty or wet.
  • When we have guests over, and they take all the chairs, I have no place to sit.
  • My grandma just recently had knee surgery so she needs a chair to sit on when she prays.
  • I need a seat for my little cousin. While we are having dinner she never wants to stay in her seat.

  • The problem is whenever my friends are over I never have any comfortable or reasonably tall chairs for playing video games in my living room or my room.
  • The chair for the desk in my room broke, so I need a chair for my desk to do my homework on.
  • When my mom comes home she talks about how her back hurts and I feel bad because the chairs and couches we have are comfortable, but they don’t help my mom and support her back the way they need to.
  • I'm always craving food and I really need a comfortable place to eat because I have to eat on my bed and it gets aggravating holding my plate, and I'm always tired for some reason so this would give me another place to sleep when I don't feel like moving to my bed.
  • I’ve helped my dad on his projects and I’ve seen how the chair that he sits in effects his back. He always complains about his back pain.
  • My chair isn't comfortable.  Every time I try to sit and play video games I get uncomfortable and I can't focus.  I need to make a more comfortable chair.
  • I miss my sister.
  • I never have a place to sit when I do my make up. I always have to stand.  I don't like it because it takes a while to do my make up.
  • The problem I have is that I don't have a comfortable place to sit in my house.

  • My mom has always been really stressed out and her confidence has been really low.
  • When people make YouTube videos, they can’t decide whether to sit or stand. I feel like sitting would be much more comfortable. My brother is on YouTube and makes plenty of videos. How sweet would it be for him to sit in a chair made specifically for him?  One that's comfy and reminds him of his little sister that is miles away.
  • My mom can't sit anywhere comfortably because of a hip replacement.
  • My Wiki seat will solve the problem for the guests that comes over to my house because my mom doesn't want people sitting in two specific chairs in our living room so they're forced to sit in the kitchen.
  • The problem my WikiSeat will solve is being cold at my brother's soccer games in the fall. I never bring a blanket for when I’m sitting on the chair watching the game because I always forget it.
  • I am going to make a WikiSeat chair for my nephew because he doesn't have a chair and he can't sit on the couch because he is too little to be that high off the ground.
  • There is only one chair at my desk and when me and my friends are working, we usually have to try and share one chair. There is a stool, but it really isn't good in terms of height, fit, and comfort.
  • My friends don’t like to sit next to my family for what ever reasons so therefore the WikiSeat will solve the problem of my friends having to stand when they are over my house.
  • My problem is that when I want to read my book I don't have a chair to sit in.

  • My WikiSeat will solve the problem of me needing more room to store things or just a place for me to sit when I write or read. I realized this was a problem a few months ago when I had no more room to put my journals and also not many clear places for me to sit when I need a quiet place to work.
  • My problem is my little sister just turned one and she hates being in her high chair and she’s too small to be on the chairs and couches because they’re too high and my mom is scared she will fall.
  • My dad needs furniture to represent his style. 
  • My niece has brothers who always take up the couch, leaving her complaining because she has no place to sit.
  • My bed is about 4 feet off the ground and its annoying to jump up there all the time.
  • At my house we don't have a dinning room table so I use a chair to eat my meals, but my mom hates when I do this.
  • I like to read at night and my mom doesn't like it when I turn on the light so I usually go to another room but I have to sit on the floor, because there's no where to sit.
  • I would like to not have to get up while watching the game.
  • The chair my mother sits in at the dinning room table broke.
  • My problem is that my dinning room table has a chair broken and only three people can sit at the table. My dad always sits in the living room and eats.

  • My little sister always tries to sit with me, but the chairs are too big for her.
  • The problem is when I go to watch trains, I usually have to sit on the ground if there are no chairs, and if I bring a chair, my tripod with my camera is out of reach.
  • When I sit at my dining room table I notice that all of my chairs are boring and not interesting looking at all.
  • I sit on the floor in the living room for dinner, and when I get home from rugby practice late in the evening at 8 pm or 9 pm, I’m too sore to the point where sitting on the floor is a real pain.
  • The problem is I have bad vision and I can't see the TV clearly.
  • The desk chair in my brother's room broke so he has to sit on the floor to play his video games.
  • My brother is getting knee surgery and he will need a chair to keep his leg level.
  • My problem is that I like to draw but I need a hard surface to draw on and I like to draw in my room but I only have a couch and a bed so alway have to grab a book to draw on.
  • The problem my WikiSeat will solve is that there’s more people in my house than there are chairs in my house.