Why people are stupid… and how becoming an informed citizen can help

This week in CEP812, we were introduced to James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era to help us understand why people are “stupid”. Building on last week’s exploration of problem types, we thought about what limitations exist that prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly. What stood out to me the most in Gee’s text was the idea of humans developing what he calls a “mental bush consciousness” in which we only gather the knowledge which we feel we will actually use (Gee, 2013, p. 138). If knowledge doesn’t seem to affect us personally, or if we cannot figure out when in the near future we will use it, then why bother learning it? My response to Gee’s text goes into more detail behind the origin of this “mental bush consciousness”, and how I am helping my students to have a more modern mindset by becoming informed citizens in the classroom. Once we realize the importance of knowledge acquisition, we will become more informed citizens and be able to solve big, complex problems smartly. Any comments or questions on my response are appreciated. Happy reading!


The first step in solving big, complex problems smartly is to become informed. Learn about what is happening around the world, and you will begin to see a solution in sight.

[photo credit: Sackton, Tim. (6 May 2012). Don’t Forget the Passports [photo]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackton/7006934854/. ]


Gee, James Paul. (2013). The Anti-Education Era. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press

LLC (Palgrave Macmillan).

Sackton, Tim. (6 May 2012). Don’t Forget the Passports [photo]. Retrieved

from https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackton/7006934854/.

The beginning of CEP812… well-structured problems and tech solutions!

I am so excited to continue my journey through MSU’s MAET program! Though it was nice to have some time off over the holidays, I am really excited about beginning CEP812 this week. Our first assignment taught us about problems we may encounter in the classroom – well-structured (a problem in which there is one solution), complex/ill-structured (more than one solution), and wicked (solutions may create more problems).

My students are expected to show fluency for their multiplication facts by the end of the school year – meaning they need to correctly answer between 90-100 out of 100 multiplication problems, in five minutes or less! Multiplication facts are considered to be a “well-structured” problem in the classroom because there is only one solution for them – if you multiply 2 by 3, you will always get 6. Even though this is the case, I really felt my students needed some extra practice with learning their facts – and they needed a self-assessment component. I definitely do not want them practicing their facts with incorrect answers!

Check out my screencast here. It introduces the interactive site called the Arithmetic Workout. It’s really fun… I can’t wait to let my students give it a try, and build their math fact fluency!