Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frame Works: P21 - PIE - bestChoices ....

This blog explores P21, PIE, bestChoices and 21st Century GrandChallenges frameworks relevant to connecting students to the future economy. 

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21)

During the 90s while teaching at NCA&T University, I wondered “Are we teaching the right things to students?” Since then I have had a passion for exploring various views of education. One which I find has system thinking and covers a lot of the bases are Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21). 
The P21 Framework presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century.
The key elements of 21st century learning are represented in the graphic and descriptions below. The graphic represents both 21st century skills student outcomes (as represented by the arches of the rainbow) and 21st century skills support systems (as represented by the pools at the bottom).

While the graphic represents each element distinctly for descriptive purposes, the Partnership views all the components as fully interconnected in the process of 21st century teaching and learning.

The elements described below are the critical systems necessary to ensure 21st century readiness for every student. Twenty-first century standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, professional development and learning environments must be aligned to produce a support system that produces 21st century outcomes for today’s students.
Twenty-First Century Student Outcomes and Support Systems
·         Download a brief PDF version of the Framework here.
·         Download the full P21 Framework Definitions document.
·         Visit Route 21 for an interactive view of the framework here.

During the 80s I struggled with what was the best way to look at company organizations. We were involved with multi-million dollar projects and in the Management Volume we would always spend exceptional amounts of time on trying to get the hierarchical organization levels to come to agreement on what should be presented to the customer. The customer was primarily interested in who was the principal investigator and who made project and money decisions.

This was the genesis of my starting to think of metaphors that better depicted the critical functions of an organizational entity. When I was teaching at NCA&T, I had a metaphor which addressed the Research, Development, Production/Service and Marketplace. The Department Chair of Manufacturing came up with a diagram which he called BEST to represent Business, Engineering, Science and Technology and used it to coordinate work between the Engineering and Technology Schools. It was at that time I started using the Hats of
bestChoices. Notice that the only letter that is in caps is "C" which represents the Customer which is the most important since they pay for the products or services. After approximately two decades, it still is robust and gives a valid way of thinking inside and outside the box of companies.  Listed below is the breakout of the various functions as originally defined in my initial thinking during the 90s.  This is specifically illustrated in the rotating banner of Building Competitive Services & Wares.
bestChoices   What's in a name?

b - Business - Project Management
e - Engineer - Design & Development
s - Scientist - Applied Research
t - Technologist - Production/Service
C - Customer - Marketplace
h - Human Resources - Knowledge & Skills
o - Outer Core - (Core Common Operational Resource Environment) Paradigm in which company
operates; includes Government, Cultural, Language, Social, Infrastructure, etc 
i - Inner Core - Paradigm within company which supports the innovative engines or sub business units (SBU); includes logistics, financial, image relations, etc. Some functions are often outsourced.
c - Competition - Marketplace
e - Executive - Strategic Management/Financing
s - Sources - Trading Partners (Global Supply Chain)

With only minor changes from the orginal definitions above they are still valid today. A recent emphasis is the Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Team hats which are a subset of bestChoices as noted in bold font.

Entrepreneurial PIE Teams bring to the table a view that we must have a proactive approach to creation of jobs. Drawing on Metaphors from M21C thinking, the concept of planting PIE Teams is a proactive way to get people thinking about the primary functions that create Things and therefore Jobs. A graphic expresses this with emphasis on hands and fingers. A new metaphor for the six hat team is presented using the fingers of a hand and the arm to represent essential functions associated with a viable business.
It is a team that wear the following hats with objective to create new products, services or processes:
  • Business Hat (Entrepreneur/Manager)
  • Customer Hat (Marketplace advocate)
  • Technologist Hat (Production/Service/Processes/Experiences)
  • Engineer Hat (Creative/Functional Design & Development)
  • Scientist Hat (Applied Research)
  • Logistics Hat (Global Supply Chain)
The concept evolved in the authors mind during the 90s when he was teaching at NCA&T. Students were having a difficult time determining where their future careers would be. The concept of a room with four corners was used to give the students an orientation from which they would share with the class where they felt their future would be.
The door of the room represented the marketplace where the customer hat resides, it had a unique understanding of the marketplace and the business and was an advocate of the Customer bringing solutions to fit his needs. Also, he brought the needs of the Customer to the business so they could create products, processes, services or experiences that they needed.
The corner of the room next to the door is the Technologist's Hat which makes specific stuff that the Customer needs. The next corner is where the Engineer Hat resides and does design & development; taking ideas and building prototypes that could be passed to the Technologist for producing high quality, low cost, high performance services and wares. In the next corner is the Scientist Hat doing Research, coming up with new technologies and techniques that the engineer and technologist can use for a competitive edge.
In the Hall is the Logistics (Sourcing) Hat which is concerned with the global supply chain.
Addressing the 14 Grand Challenges which the National Academy of Engineering has identified for the 21st century will require the awareness, commitment, and involvement of many areas of society. To develop the scientific and technological expertise and workforce to address these challenges, we must reach and impact not only the university level, but also the K-12 level-- students, teachers, administrators, and curriculum. Solving these Grand Challenges requires us to develop leaders, technological experts and workers, and an informed workforce and populace, both within and outside of engineering. To achieve this, our goal is to address the Grand Challenges at the K-12 level. 

The NAE GC K12 Partners Program is the way the Grand Challenges get integrated into the lives of K12 students and teachers. To attain “Partner” status, an individual, class, school or district will implement a pathway in collaboration with a GC K12 Partners Program Site.

The Grand ChallengesThe 14 Grand Challenges of the National Academy of Engineering are as follows:

  • ·         Make solar energy economical
  • ·         Provide energy from fusion
  • ·         Develop carbon sequestration methods
  • ·         Manage the nitrogen cycle
  • ·         Provide access to clean water
  • ·         Restore and improve urban infrastructure
  • ·         Advance health informatics
  • ·         Engineer better medicines
  • ·         Reverse-engineer the brain
  • ·         Prevent nuclear terror
  • ·         Secure cyberspace
  • ·         Enhance virtual reality
  • ·         Advance personalized learning
  • ·         Engineer the tools of scientific discovery
  • Implementing the NAE Grand Challenge K-12 Partners Program involves 5 parts which reflect the 5 components approved by the NAE for the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, translated into appropriate K-12 terminology as the “5-Part Make It Happen Plan:”

Elementary School Level Project: How Do Plants Breathe?

An Example is Grand Challenge: Develop carbon sequestration methods

1. Do it:You want to discover how plants breathe (K-3 grade levels) or 
you want to discover how plants take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen (4-5 grade levels).
2. Learn it:You must find out how plants use sunlight for food (K-3 grade levels) or you must research photosynthesis, what it is and how it works (4-5 grade levels).
3. Share it:Decide if you want to work with plants on land or plants in water, and learn about how much light these plants require (K-3 grade levels), or
research which biomes would have the most photosynthesis going on. Remember to examine land and water biomes (4-5 grade levels).
4. Teach it:

5.  Create it:
With the help of your teacher or another adult, place some small tea light candles in the bottom of a shoe box. Ask the adult to light the candles and also to place a piece of dry ice in the bottom of a gallon size Ziploc bag. Wait for the dry ice to disappear (sublimate away). Carefully pour the invisible contents of the plastic bag over the candles in the shoe box. Record what happens. Take a small plant and place it in the bottom of a gallon size Ziploc bag. (The container that the plant is in should have a plastic bag tied around it to expose only the leaves and stem of the plant—so you can turn it upside down and not spill anything.) Place a piece of dry ice in the bottom of the bag. Do not seal the bag until the dry ice disappears (sublimates away), but keep it upright so as not to spill the gas out. After the ice is gone, carefully seal the bag, making sure not to squeeze the gas out at all. Leave the plant over a night or two in your classroom. After that time, get your shoe box with the candles back out and ask the adult to light the candles. Carefully unseal the Ziploc with the plant in it and, holding the Ziploc so as to also keep the plant inside of it, carefully pour the invisible gas inside over the candles. Record what happens (Teacher performs for grades K-3; students with teacher help perform for grades 4-5).

Give some reasons why you saw the things you did in this activity. Teach some other student, group, class, etc. to do this activity and write up the steps for our GC K-12 Website (all grades).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


While volunteering with our local schools, one of the most frequent questions was how much can I make.  I found that using the “Profile of Successful U.S. Firms in the Future” chart modified to show relative Dollars Symbols was helpful in orienting them to where they should be thinking about developing themselves for the future economy.  In our IEEE Education Outreach program we stressed the importance of the Creative Work Skills shown on the chart.  We also emphasized the various skill levels below the Creative Work Diamond.  See Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) frameworks for a proposed way to create new products, processes and services and therefore jobs.  The Skunk Works fits the Creative Work Diamond.
This blog examines the ACT Work Keys skills and associated wages from 2005 data.  A spreadsheet “2005 NC-CRC Occupations – Scores – Wages” sorted based on 2005 US Median Wage and associated Occupation Titles is provided. 
Note the AM, LI and RI scores have been totaled for the analysis and plotting of wages vs total score. 
The data from the spreadsheet is plotted on “US Median Wages (2005) vs Workkeys Score” see chart with graph below.  It also has the Work Keys (AM = Applied Math, LI = Locating Information and RI = Reading Information) scores associated with the Occupation Skill.  Note the lowest skills with wages of $20,000 are shown in yellow on the spreadsheet.  Wages of the highest skill levels range from $70,000 to $135,000. 
The scatter diagram gives an indication of the relative salaries for workkey score totals.  Note this was a quick and dirty way to show the correlation of skills to salaries, it is not a perfect approach but gives a feel and should give students an appreciation of the value of having a certified skill.  
The CRC is based on three WorkKeys™ assessments: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information.

The Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) is a portable skills credential that gives employers and career seekers a uniform, standard, objective measure of key workplace skills. It CERTIFIES that a person has workplace skills that are transferrable between industry sectors and across jobs within a sector.
 The WorkKeys™ website is excellent in showing how assessments of tasks and skills are identified to show the gap which must be trained.  
Other skills are identified at ACT Solutions.  The NC-CRC and National CRC have focused on the three essential skills as identified above.  In addition to the hard skills there are soft skills that are important.  My suggestion is to study the website for more details; it has nice demos and videos.    
Bureau of Labor Statistics has details statistics on salaries by occupations at BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation.
Hopefully information will help to answer students question of “How much can I make?”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Service-Learning PIE Sustainability ….

The previous blog Service-Learning PIE …. introduced Service-Learning and Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) framework as synergistic in connecting students to the future economy.  Emphasis was placed on the importance of Learning as applied to Service.   
Repeating the Service-Learning Example here clarifies the distinction between service, learning and service-learning:
  • Picking up trash on a riverbank is service
  • Studying water samples under a microscope is learning
  • Science students collecting and analyzing water samples, documenting their results, and presenting their findings to a local pollution control agency is service-learning.
Thinking about PIE in conjunction with the above emphasis is a logical enhancement to the Learning aspect.  The PIE framework brings relevance to the education curriculum by putting application to subjects in a project learning context.  By so doing it strengthens the knowledge and skills of student in a concrete manner by creating a product, process or service.
Project-based learning as implemented in other states has an interesting way of incorporating the education standards criteria by having the students define as part of their project the state education standards that apply.  Service-Learning PIE Sustainability projects should include state education standards as part of their project; this ties the project to objectives of state standards.   
In the April 2008 blog M21C .... HEIFER referenced the saying "Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day; teach them how to fish and they will eat for a lifetime; build a fishery and the community will eat for generations".  Heifer International is creating peace through programs described in "Best Friends Instead of Enemies" that emphasizes how new thinking inside and outside the box makes a difference.  Their programs stress the ownership and passing on the gift; also they incorporate an excellent training and sustainability mindset in the recipients of the gifts. Their training helps to build the "fishery" concept mentioned above.  I suggest we use the following to clarify the approaches:

By adding PIE to the Service-Learning concept it brings positive "Building & Sustainability" into play.  Sustainability is a concept that is needed in our world today and by engaging students with it in the Service-Learning PIE effort they will be better prepared as citizens and workforce of the future.
The Piedmont Triad has a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Project underway to create a regional plan intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.  Wanted: Economy with a motor ... discusses creation of jobs in more detail.
AchieveGuilford is a community-based commitment to the educational success of all children in Guilford County that aligns community resources to ensure students are successful at each critical point in their education and future careers.  It works with businesses, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, families and government to realize its mission of Every Child Ready: Cradle to Career.

In the November 10, 2011 News & Record article AchieveGuilford sets crucial education goals”  Dr. Margaret Arbuckle and Richard “Skip” Moore state the following:
“There are two realities that our community must face: The competitive global economy is here and students in today’s schools must graduate with the knowledge and skills that prepare them for success in this environment.

Our students’ future jobs will require sophisticated thinking, use of communication technology and problem-solving skills, and advanced levels of knowledge, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”
The above initiatives are ways people of our community can engage to create sustainability.  Specifically Service-Learning PIE Sustainability is a vehicle that applies to both objectives. 
Having promoted STEM for several years, I now feel the PIE framework best focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) as the STEM-NOTSTEM website advocates:
“STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy.”
This stresses the creative skills advocated by Richard Florida author of the bestselling “The Rise of the Creative Class” in addition to STEM. The creative skill is essential to the magic that occurs between idealization and usability of a product/process/service as shown in the graphic.

Initiatives such as the Center for Design Innovation in Winston-Salem is an example of efforts to incorporate creative juices in new product development.  PIE is right in sync with this.  There are two types of design; functional and creative.  Transportation can be provided by a jalopy but we pay money for creative stylish vehicles.  Shelter can be provided by simple structures but we feel more satisfied in architectural aesthetic designed structures.
The August 25, 2010 Design Funnel ... Fish-Hook-Fry Metaphors .... blog discusses this concept in more detail.
The VentuRealization Workshop Series was interactive goal-directed designed for entrepreneurs interested in transforming an early-stage idea into a compelling business opportunity.  Critical elements of this process include:
  • Creating an attractive value proposition
  • Developing a simple action plan
  • Defining goal-directed resource requirements
  • Forming the initial team
  • Identifying potential partners
  • Presenting the opportunity to stake holders
I include one of the visuals that were part of the workshop that illustrates Idea to Opportunity.  This is an example of Helping Translate Ideas to Action.
In Service-Learning PIE Sustainability the PIE framework applies to this mapping of Idea to Opportunity.   
The Sustainability Helix chart gives another perspective to the life cycle of a product, process or service.  During the design an effort should be made to consider this life cycle sustainability. 
Also the waste hierarchy should be considered in the design process.

Hopefully information included in this blog will be helpful toward implementing Service-Learning PIE Sustainability.

It is proposed that at least three schools be incorporated into a pilot implementation of PIE in support of Service-Learning.  By doing at least three pilots from GCS Regions it will give insights/perspectives on each school’s approach to Service-Learning and would establish a collaborative base as the pilots are designed, developed and implemented.

Information in this blog is thoughts of the author and will be revised as planning with GCS proceeds.

Thank you for considering this blog, feedback is welcomed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Service-Learning PIE ….

Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Teams are a framework for proactively creating products, processes or services.  The Connecting Students to the Future Economy proposes that the PIE framework be utilized to develop service-learning experiences.   This blog explores this as applied to the Guilford County Schools (GCS) Service-Learning Program.

This diagram shows the interaction of Industry Partners and the Service-Learning Experiences. PIE and Future 4 Kids is also shown as part of the diagram.
It would be expected that the PIE Team would establish interfaces with relevant Industry Partners for Service-Learning mentors.
Future 4 Kids also relies upon Industry Partners.
The GCS Service-Learning Handbook defines “Service-Learning as a way of teaching that connects positive and meaningful action in the community with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility.  Service-Learning helps develop citizenship and good character while providing direct connections to the academic curriculum.”  It brings relevance to education.
GCS has identified 5 Priority Areas for Service-Learning as follows: (Note Google Links have been provided for convenience)
·         Community Renewal
·         Health & Nutrition
·         Energy & the Environment
·         Education
·         Safety & Security
A Service-Learning Example makes a distinction between service, learning and service-learning:
·         Picking up trash on a riverbank is service
·         Studying water samples under a microscope is learning
·         Science students collecting and analyzing water samples, documenting their results, and presenting their findings to a local pollution control agency is service-learning.
More information is available at the GCS Service-Learning Resources website.

Types of Service Experiences are depicted in the diagram as:
·         Teach Others (Could the youth teach what he/she is learning to benefit others?)
·         * Product or Performance (Could the youth craft a product or performance to benefit others?)
·         * Problem Solving (Could the youth’s learning be applied to solve a real concern in the community?)
·         Apprentice (Could the youth apprentice/volunteer in a local non-profit?)
·         Public Policy (Could the youth research a public policy issue and make recommendations to public officials?)
Initially PIE will be focused on the Product/Performance and Problem Solving since PIE framework is tailored toward this end.
Entrepreneurial Processes for PIE, IPARD Service-Learning and Graduation Project (PDF) are illustrated in a Mind-Map Format. Investigation, Preparation/Planning, Action, Reflection and Demonstration/Celebration (IPARD) process is advocated by the K-12 Service-Learning Program.  The Graduation Project advocates Research, Product, Portfolio and Oral Presentation process. 
  • Research - Scientist Hat
  • Design & Development - Engineer Hat
  • Production/Service - Technologist Hat
  • Marketplace - Customer Hat
  • Entrepreneurial/Manage - Business Hat
  • Global Supply Chain - Logistics Hat   
PIE and FIRST Robotics processes (PDF) are also illustrated in a Mind-Map Format. Examination of the FIRST processes shows emphasis on iterative processes.  The PIE shows this as Focus on Continuous Improvement.  The Technology to Product Example shows a Three Dimensional (3-D) diagram with input:Y-Technology, output:Z-Product and Process:X; this is a universal diagram which applies to products as well as education.  For education the input:Y is students, Process:X is the Education Process and the output:Z is the educated person.  Note that the output:Z can become the Process that teaches or can be recycled through for higher learning.     
For comparison the Scientific Method is illustrated in a variety of charts that are synergistic with PIE and processes depicted in the above PDF documents.  The Steps of the Scientific Method and Steps of Engineering Design Process are examples that relate to processes discussed above.  A Comparison of The Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process shows the synergistic between methods. 
Hopefully these processes will be helpful to participants in establishing the approach that will best support the Service-Learning projects.  Other ways of thinking may be found in the author's blogs and M21C concepts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I-STEAM PIE Engine connects future economy to jobs …

As part of my involvement with the IEEE Educations Activity outreach into the local schools, we have been promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in support of student career options in Engineering and Technology. 

We have used the Greensboro Children’s Museum Transportation Exhibits as a means to introduce the students to the concept of STEM skill sets.  This has been used since 2006 in Guilford County Schools and Alamance-Burlington Schools.  It emphasizes “They couldn’t do it without Imagination & STEM Skill Sets”.
STEM is being promoted by various groups such as NCSTEM. 
“The NC STEM Community Collaborative helps communities ensure that all North Carolina students are career and college ready by engaging in rigorous and relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities. NC STEM does this by creating a network of local, state, and national partners that link them with cutting-edge resources, develop local and state initiatives, and create resources to advance their work.”
Recently I became aware of the concept of enhancing STEM to include Arts.
STEAM is being promoted by STEAM-NOTSTEM. 
STEM is based on skills generally using the left half of the brain and thus is logic driven. Much research and data shows that activities like Arts, which uses the right side of the brain supports and fosters creativity, which is essential to innovation. Clearly the combination of superior STEM education combined with Arts education (STEAM) should provide us with the education system that offers us the best chance for regaining the innovation leadership essential to the new economy.”
In an attempt to enhance the concept of STEM, I have posted the following blogs that introduce Innovation/Imagination to STEM:
After writing the above blogs, I discovered facilities such as the Center for Design Innovation in Winston-Salem NC which from what I know focus on the "I" as discussed above.  Their vision is "To be a catalyst for transformation in North Carolina's Piedmont area, toward international recognition for preeminence in design and setting an example of how design can be an engine for economic development."  The Mission is "To create an environment in which diverse constituents generate, develop and translate creative thinking to foster the growth of education, research and commercial enterprises."

Also the Center for Creative Economy with offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro serves as a catalyst for innovation by
  • driving product and business development,
  • stimulating connections between innovators and businesses, and
  • promoting economic development and job growth
...through regional programs, infrastructure and professional development

Their vision is to
  • Leverage ideas/strengths of creative talent to tackle problems whose solutions benefit all
  • Connect knowledge to jobs, coordinate programs to better serve the industrial and manufacturing base and thereby attract additional companies to the state.
  • Develop infrastructure to enable creative companies to grow and build capacity
  • Support economic development efforts to attract jobs requiring creativity and innovation.
  • Facilitate a statewide network and work with state leaders to develop the North Carolina creative economy.
The Center for Creative Economy has an Idea Index that serves as the spark to match ideas with people, projects, proposals and funding.  This helps local businesses save recruiting costs, helps creative entrepreneurs find projects, and stimulates the economy in the Piedmont Triad. 

These two approaches are a way of providing leverage of resources for the Creative Class in the Piedmont Triad Area.

Recently as I was sharing with Christopher Bronson the term STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) as a preference to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) he suggested we use “STEAM Engine”.   Putting emphasis on “Arts” enhances the STEM term with the innovative and creative aspect of creating products/services/processes promoted in the Entrepreneurial Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Team concept.  

To the right is a drawing of an early Steam Engine, it depicts new thinking for the industrial era.  I use it to illustrate how crude early thinking is when you think outside the box with new concepts.  The Entrepreneurial PIE Team works together to create new products/processes/services. 
Another interesting variation on STEM is  Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Social Studies (STEMSS) where Social Studies are included.  Maybe we should be thinking of I-STEAMSS which enhances STEM to include Innovation, Arts and Social Studies; this would give a more comprehensive education.
No matter which is your preference STEM, STEAM, STEMSS, PIE, STEAM Engine or I-STEAMSS, the key is to get students to thinking about skill sets that connect to future economy and create jobs.
How about an I-STEAMSS-PIE Academy to place emphasis on these important skill sets?  Do you have a better idea?  If so please let me know!

Hopefully these thoughts will be useful to you as we seek to find solutions that will create jobs for the future.

PostScript 5/14/2012
www.steamedu.com is another website that is promoting STEAM.  See graphic.