The ?Undisciplined,? Interdisciplinary Problem: PBL and the Expanding Limits of SMET Education
AbstractIn many disciplines, knowledge and its paradigms are in flux. They are ?decentering,? to use the postmodernists? term. Pluralism, contextuality, and relativism are ideological forces changing how we think and teach. Core parts of our cultures our politics, technologies, economies, philosophies, and histories all inherently ambiguous, generally are acknowledged, even celebrated, as such. Certainly, modern problems across our cultures rarely are one-dimensional or discrete. Julie Thomson Klein considers this in an important work on interdisciplinarity, Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities and Interdisciplinarities. She acknowledges that contemporary problems defy rigid and absolutist thinking and require integrated frames of disciplinary reference. ?The complexity of problems that professionals face in practice creates a sense of interdisciplinary necessity. . . . By their very nature,? Klein writes, ?they are open-ended, multidimensional, ambiguous, and unstable. Considered ?wicked? and ?messy,? the problems at the heart of many professional fields cannot be bounded and managed by classical approaches to the underlying phenomena? (1996, p. 40). Indeed, the borders of our problems are more than just close and contiguous. Problems integrate and join. They combine in complex permutations that can make discipline boundaries much less significant or meaningful.
Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the Institute for STEM Education and Research with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.