Home Page of Problem Solving Book

Introduction to the Book

Chapter 1: Introduction to Problem Solving

Chapter 2: Overview of Resources in Problem Solving

Chapter 3: Intelligence as Resource

Chapter 4: Tools as Resource

Chapter 5: Accumulated Knowledge as Resource

Chapter 6: Education and Training as Resource

Chapter 7: A Computer System

Chapter 8: Personal Productivity Tools

Chapter 9: Computer Programming

Chapter 10: Final Remarks

References and Resources

Search Engine in Lieu of Index

References and Resources

(Click Here for Topics That Might Eventually Get Added to This Book)

Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1993). Surpassing ourselves: An inquiry into the nature and implications of expertise. Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court.

A seminal book on expertise. It is aimed at educators and education in general, but it also discusses some of the roles of computers in expertise. Not easy reading, but it is well worth whatever effort it takes.

Communications of the ACM (1994, March).

The Association for Computing Machinery is a very large professional society consisting of professionals in the computer field. Communications of the ACM is written for people who have a solid background in the domain of computer and information science. However, the March 1994 issue contains a number of summary, overview articles on artificial intelligence that have been written for people who are not specialists in this area. They provide an excellent overview of the problems of this domain and the progress that has been made in addressing these problems.

Communications of the ACM (1994, July).

See the comments about the ACM in the preceding annotation. The July 1994 issue of Communications of the ACM contains a number of excellent summary, overview articles about intelligent agents.

Costa, A. L., (Ed.). (1991). Developing minds: A resource book for teaching thinking. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This resource book produced by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development provides an excellent overview of what is known about teaching thinking skills. It contains a wide range of articles written by people who are experts in this domain.

de Bono, E. (1973&endash;75). CoRT thinking. Blandford, Dorset, England: Direct Education Services Limited.

The Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT) thinking program is a program of study designed to increase thinking and problem-solving skills. This program has been the subject of quite a bit of research and has been implemented in a number of different places. It is an example of a type of program that has proven effective in increasing general problem-solving skills.

de Bono, E. (1985). De Bono's thinking course. NY: Facts on File, Inc.

Edward de Bono is a world-class expert in teaching thinking skills. He is a prolific author and inspirational workshop presenter. His books give practical, down-to-earth ways for improving thinking skills. Some of his books are aimed at business people and others are aimed at educators. His books are widely sold, so you are apt to find one or more of them in any major bookstore.

de Bono, E. (1992). Serious creativity: Using the power of lateral thinking to create new ideas. NY: Harper Business.

See the comments under de Bono, E. (1985).

Frederiksen, N. (1984). Implications of cognitive theory for instruction in problem solving. Review of Educational Research, 54, 363&endash;407.

This is a summary and analysis of the research literature on problem solving. It is a good starting point if you want to explore the research literature. The article contains an extensive bibliography.

Frensch, P. and Funke, J., (Eds.). (1995). Complex problem solving: The European perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This book provides an excellent overview of the current research on complex problem solving. The main emphasis is on research being done in Europe. However, there is an excellent chapter written by Robert Sternberg that compares and contrasts problem-solving research in the United States with problem-solving research in Europe. In recent years, much of the problem-solving research in the United States has focused on specific domains in which one can acquire a great deal of expertise. Examples include chess, electronics, lawyer's reasoning, physics, and writing. Research in Europe tends to focus on more general problems, such as managing the resources of a city. Europeans make use of complex computer simulations of the problem-solving environments to be studied.

Gall, M., Gall, J., Jacobsen, D., & Bullock, T. (1990). Tools for learning: A guide to teaching study skills. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is a large professional society. It often commissions books that are based on the latest research in a domain and that are also strongly focused on how to implement the underlying ideas in the classroom. This book is written for educators who want to improve their own learning skills and the learning skills of their students. There is considerable emphasis on the cognitive learning theories and on ways you can improve your study skills.

Gardner, H. (1982). Art, mind, and brain: A cognitive approach to creativity. NY: Basic Books.

Howard Gardner is a cognitive psychologist and cognitive scientist. He is a prolific author and recognized for his research and writing in a number of areas of education. The three books listed here are representative of his work. The book focuses on creative intelligence. Gardner's books are widely sold, so you are apt to find copies of some of them in major bookstores.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. NY: Basic Books. (A 1993 edition is now available; it is the same as the 1983 edition, except that it contains additional material in the preface.)

The 1983 book was written for a somewhat narrow, technical audience. The book has proven immensely popular, as have the general ideas contained in the book. This book, and the following one on the list, provide an excellent introduction to the theory of multiple intelligences and some applications of the theory.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. NY: Basic Books.

This book expands on ideas originally presented in Frames of Mind. It provides a variety of examples of applications of the original theory. There is considerable emphasis on applications to education.

Hirsch, E. D. (1988). Cultural literacy: What every American needs to know. NY: Vintage Books.

Effective communication between people depends not only on having a common language but also on having some common knowledge and experiences. Hirsch's research work has focused on identifying a common core of topics and ideas--a type of cultural literacy--that contributes to the ability of people, in the United States, to communicate effectively with each other. One way to think about the content of his book is from the point of view of helping to solve the communication problem among people in the United States. If each person has a common core knowledge, such as the core proposed by Hirsch, this will help each individual solve the communication problem.

Kulik, J.A. (1994). Meta-analytic studies of findings on computer-based instruction. In E. Baker and H. O'Neill (Eds.), Technology assessment in education and training (pp. 9&endash;33). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

James Kulik has been doing metastudies on computer-based learning (computer-assisted instruction) for many years. A number of his studies have been funded by the National Science foundation and other federal agencies. This specific article is an analysis of the metastudies that he and others have carried out. That is, it is a meta-metastudy. It presents convincing evidence that CAI works. The article also contains an extensive bibliography, so it provides an excellent starting point for a person who wants to explore the literature on CAI.

Moursund, D., & Yoder, S. (1990). LogoWriter for educators: A problem solving approach. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Moursund and Yoder (also, Yoder and Moursund) are prolific authors in the field of technology in education. Each of their books listed in the References and Resources section focuses on a computer tool and underlying aspects of using the tool to solve problems. A number of other books that they have authored individually and jointly are available through the International Society for Technology in Education.

Moursund, D., & Yoder, S. (1993). Problem solving and communication in a HyperCard environment. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

The HyperCard software first became available in 1988. It can be used to create hypermedia documents and to make use of them on the Macintosh computer. This book contains a strong focus on problem solving as it helps you learn to use HyperCard.

Norman, D. (1990). The design of everyday things. NY: Doubleday.

Donald Norman is a cognitive scientist and a prolific, witty author. He has a high level of expertise in the domain of human-machine interfaces. He is interested in both noncomputer and computer-based human-machine interfaces. This book provides an excellent introduction to the design of such everyday tools as doors, drawers, and stoves. He gives many examples of poor human-tool designs.

Norman, D. (1993). Things that make us smart: Defending human attributes in the age of machines. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

This publication provides a superb discussion of roles of technology in enhancing our intellectual capabilities. Norman emphasizes that poorly designed machines can make us feel dumb and prevent us from making effective use of our intelligence. See Norman (1990).

Perkins, D. (1995). Outsmarting IQ: The emerging science of learnable intelligence. NY: The Free Press.

This book provides a careful analysis of possible definitions of intelligence and how IQ is measured. Three different but closely related components of intelligence are explored: neural intelligence, experiential intelligence, and reflexive intelligence. Arguments are presented to support the contention that all three components of IQ can change. In particular, appropriately designed education can increase experiential and reflexive IQ. This book also has a major focus on transfer of learning, with particular emphasis on the high-road/low-road theory of transfer developed by Perkins and Salomon in 1987.

Peters, T. (1994). The Tom Peters seminar: Crazy times call for crazy organizations. NY: Vintage Books.

Tom Peters is a "guru" in business consulting. The reference listed here focuses on how the information and communication technologies are changing the world of business. The book is fast paced and loaded with important, challenging ideas about how business is and/or should be facing the issue of how to solve problems and create products in today's and tomorrow's world. The book is somewhat zany and irreverent, but makes many points that are important to problem solvers of today and tomorrow.

Polya, G. (1957). How to solve it: A new aspect of mathematical method (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

This book by George Polya is considered to be a classic in the field of learning and teaching problem solving. The emphasis is on strategies and metastrategies that are applicable over a wide range of math problems. A number of the strategies that are discussed are applicable in areas outside of mathematics and thus contribute to transfer of learning to other fields. Examples include breaking a problem into subproblems and relating a problem to other problems encountered in the past.

Salomon, G., & Perkins, D. (1988, September). Teaching for transfer. Educational Leadership, 22-32.

Salomon and Perkins have developed the high-road/low-road theory of transfer of learning. The article listed here provides a good overview of the domain of transfer of learning and how to teach transfer. It also contains an extensive bibliography, so it is a good starting point if you want to study the research on transfer of learning.

Shekerjian, D. (1990). Uncommon genius: How great ideas are born. NY: Penguin Books.

This book is a study of 40 people who have received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships. These are often called "genius" awards; the fellows are selected on the basis of their creative intelligence. Howard Gardner was a MacArthur Foundation fellow. The recipients are given five-year awards, with the yearly award being in the range of about $50,000. They are free to pursue whatever interests them. This book explores commonalties among various MacArthur fellows. One commonality is persistence, with great success often following many years of lack of success.

Sternberg, R. (1988). The triarchic mind: A new theory of human intelligence. NY: Penguin Books.

This book provides an excellent overview of the history and work on attempting to define and test intelligence. Sternberg argues that previous theories are inadequate, and he presents a three-part definition of intelligence. Sternberg is a strong supporter of the idea that intelligence can be improved.

Toffler, A. (1990). Powershift: Knowledge, wealth, and violence at the edge of the 21st century. NY: Bantam Books.

Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi are futurists who have written three major books (published in 1970, 1980, and 1990 respectively) that represent our changing world. The key idea in this most recent book is that knowledge is power (knowledge is a resource) and that this form of power is rapidly changing the world. The book explores other forms of power (other resources), such as agricultural productivity as power, industrial manufacturing capacity as power, and violence (military might) as power. Various countries are analyzed on the basis of the balance that they have in these different areas of power.

Yoder, S., & Moursund, D. (1995). Introduction to ClarisWorks 4.0: A tool for personal productivity. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

ClarisWorks is an integrated package of software designed to run on both IBM-compatible and Macintosh platforms. It is representative of the modern integrated packages of software designed as general-purpose aids to problem solving across many different disciplines. This book contains a major focus on problem solving.

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Topics That Might Eventually Get Added to This Book

1. Problem solving and decision making are closely related tasks. In its current form, the book does not discuss decision making and roles of IT in decision making.

2. The topic "Complex Problem Solving" is not adequately treated in the current book. Roughly speaking, Complex Problem Solving refers to multivariable situations where the variables may well interact in a nonlinear manner. Many real world problems are of this sort, and humans are not good at solving them.

3. Higher-order thinking skills, or critical thinking, are not adequately treated in this book. Here are some thoughts on this topic:


Our educational system attempts to differentiate between lower-order cognitive (thinking) skills and higher-order cognitive (thinking) skills. In recent years there has been increased emphasis on higher-order skills. In very brief summary, we want students to learn some facts, but we also want them to learn to think using the facts. This is true in every area of the curriculum.

Often the "thinking" that we want students to do is to recognize, pose, and solve problems. Thus, one of the goals of education is to help students to get better at posing, representing, and solving problem. A few schools actually offer specific courses on problem solving. For the most part, however, students learn about problem solving through instruction in courses that have a strong focus on a specific content area. Every teacher teaches problem solving within the specific subject matter areas of their curriculum.

H.O.T.S. Project, Stanley Pogrow

Stanley Pogrow's HOTS project was developed to help Title I students. It makes use of computers, but does not depend on special software developed specifically for the project.



students/atrisk/at7lk53.htm Quoting from this NCREL site:

The Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) program is a computer-based thinking program for at-risk students in grades 4 through 7. It was designed by Stanley Pogrow of the University of Arizona and now includes a network of more than 1,300 schools across the United States. Instead of focusing on traditional drill-and-practice activities and supplementary instruction in content areas, the HOTS program emphasizes "the basic thinking processes that underlie all learning" (Pogrow, 1987, p. 11). Central to the program is the premise that at-risk students need help in regulating their thinking processes. The HOTS curriculum and the use of computers enable students to improve their skills in metacognition, inference from context, decontextualization, and information synthesis. As a result, students improve their comprehension and gain confidence in their ability to learn.

General References

Higher-Order Thinking Strategies for the Classroom Classroom-Ready Teaching Strategies that Promote Higher-Order Thinking http://members.aol.com/MattT10574/

Nelson, George D. (2001). What Should We Teach? Choosing Content That's Worth Knowing. Educational Leadership Volume 59 Number 2 October 2001. [Online]. Accessed 1/16/02: http://www.ascd.org/readingroom/

This is a really nice article about lower order and higher order skills in science education by the Director of Project 2061. Quoting from the article:
The questions of what, how, and why content in any academic discipline should be taught challenge educators. The fields of science, mathematics, and technology provide a framework for discussion.

Most 3rd graders spend a fair amount of their science time exploring with batteries, wires, and lightbulbs. Educators hope that they will learn about series, parallel electric circuits, and scientific inquiry. Students are likely to revisit these concepts in middle school and in high school. Yet research shows that, despite the time and effort spent teaching this lesson, students still don't understand much about electricity (Osborne, 1983; Shipstone, 1984). A classic video shows Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates unable to light a bulb with a battery and wire. One frustrated young man hands back the equipment with the comment "I'm a mechanical engineer, not an electrical engineer" (Private Universe Project, 1989).

In another video, an MIT graduate has failed to grasp the fundamental idea that plants make their own food from the carbon dioxide in air and water, using and storing energy from light in the process (Private Universe Project, 1989). "Carbon is not much of a building block from what I know of biochemistry," he says. The same student tosses off the phrase "photo-synthetic version of the electron transport chain" in a futile effort to explain where the matter in trees comes from. (It comes mostly from the carbon dioxide in the air.)

These two examples remind us that even our best students may not be learning what we think they are, whether in science or any other domain. Students engage in futile lessons that attempt to teach difficult concepts in too short a time or in classes that substitute facts and vocabulary for understanding. The examples call into question basic assumptions about what and how we teach and what and how students learn, and they challenge our notions about the goals of education and the roles of teacher and learner.

Internet School Library Media Center (ISLMC) Critical Thinking Page [Online]. Accessed 1/16/02: http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/critical.htm. Quoting from the Website:

Welcome to the Internet School Library Media Center (ISLMC) Critical Thinking Page which is part of the school library section. This page has general information, lesson plans and bibliographies to help educators interested in higher order thinking skills. You can search the ISLMC, use an index or sitemap.

[[Note to self: This looks like a useful site, both for access to other sites and for access to lesson plans that have a focus on critical thinking.

Use of Logo

Yelland, Nicola. Developing higher order thinking skills with Logo [Online]. Accessed when this entry was made, but access failed 1/16/02. http://www.ozkidz.gil.com.au/rm/nicola.html

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