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2000 Robyn Boswell: Future Problem Solving - NZ kids foot it

2000 Alan Cooper: Thinking to learn

2000 Gwen Gawith: Information literacy in action at SCONZ

2000 Gwen Gawith: Blooming questions

1999 Art Costa: An interview with Art Costa

1999 Robyn Boswell: International Future Problem Solving success

1999 Gwen Gawith: The survival of the book: Co-existing with Gog and Magog

1999 Gwen Gawith: Lost the plot: Reading for what?

1999 Gwen Gawith: Rushkoff and visual literacy

1999 Gwen Gawith: KFL: Knowledge Free learning?

1998 Gwen Gawith: Ban projects: Teach information literacy

1998 Gwen Gawith: The cry for deep learning…

1998 Gwen Gawith: The Mercury model of information literacy

1998 David Hyerle: Thinking literacy in an age of ICT

1998 Pauline Donaldson: A virtual classroom with 3500 students

1997 Jeff Bruce and Gwen Gawith: information literacy and Infolink

1997 Gwen Gawith: How to ? or not to?: That is the ?

1997 Gwen Gawith: Unlocking learning: Key words

1996 Gwen Gawith: Epistemic fluency or the cognitive trots!

1995 Gwen Gawith: A serious look at self-efficacy: waking beeping Slooty!

1993 Gwen Gawith: The National Curriculum and the information process

information literacy:
learning & thinking

International Future Problem Solving Success

This article was published in Good Teacher, Term 4 1999

Robyn Boswell

New Zealand's representatives at the 1999 International Future Problem Solving conference and finals, held recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan, once again had outstanding success, including receiving the most prestigious award ever awarded in the twenty five years of the programme's history.

The 32 students were accompanied by their coaches and Robyn Boswell, the Director of the New Zealand Future Problem Solving programme. Most teams were billeted in states as diverse as Colorado, Iowa and Connecticut on their way to the finals and had a wonderful time with their American hosts, taking part in graduation parties and ceremonies, meeting state governors and attending baseball games.

The finals were held over the weekend of the 18th June. Discovering on arrival that the temperature at 9pm was 29 degrees C and that many of the rooms weren't airconditioned was a bit of a shock! Those directors who had to supervise competitions in the 'Frieze Building' discovered that it was the only competition building that wasn't airconditioned and the temperature that day reached 40 degrees C. The team from Alaska couldn't even believe that such temperatures existed!

Over 2000 students from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States took part in the conference. Students not only competed in various aspects of the problem solving competitions, but were also provided with opportunities to make friends.

At the impressive Awards Ceremony, held in a huge auditorium,New Zealanders were in the forefront for the second year running.To put these results in perspective, one of the American teams which received a fourth placing had the local press waiting to greet them when they arrived home.

Kristin School's outstanding efforts in receiving five trophies is probably unique in the history of the programme, The results were:

Scenario Writing: (Students write a fifteen hundred word futuristic scenario based on one or more of the set topics for the year) Middle Division - Second Place - Bridgette White, Kristin School Teams on-site Team Scenario Writing - Second Place - Bridgette White, Kristin School

Future Problem Solving Teams Competition: (Students work in teams of four and under a two hour time limit to work through a six-step process based this year on the topic of Distribution of Wealth). Birkenhead College reached the semifinals of the Middle Division. Junior Division - Second Place - Kristin School.

Oral Presentations: (Students have two hour to put together a dramatic presentation based on their action plan, developing a set of props and costumes from a set list of materials such as tinfoil and newspaper. They then perform their presentation). Junior Division First Place - Kristin School; Middle Division - First Place Birkenhead College; Third Place - St Margaret's College; Senior Division - Second Place - Kristin School.

Community Problem Solving: (Students have worked together for a year as a team to identify and begin to solve a problem which exists in their own community, applying the FPS steps in an authentic context). A team of Yr 10 students from St Cuthbert's College tackled the difficult task of opening lines of communication between parents and their children over the use of alcohol, These students have put together an impressive project and fully deserved their first placing.

Beyonder Award:

The icing on the cake, however was the awarding of the prestigious new Beyonder Award to this St Cuthbert's team of remarkable young women, known as 'Femetraj'.

Dr.E Paul Torrance, the founder of the FPS Program, is now 83 years old. During his research on creativity and persons with creative potential, Dr. Torrance coined the term "Beyonder" to describe people or groups of people that "outdistance the others so far that they are not even on the same scale"- and can't rejudged on the same scale, as the depth and passion of their work cannot be assessed by standard criteria. These are the difference makers, the ultra-achievers of our society - those whose accomplishments go beyond all expectations.

The new E.Paul Torrance Beyonder Award will be awarded each year to a special team which demonstrates these Beyonder traits; a team that not only goes above and beyond what is expected of them but whose project would have a lasting impact and outreach in the community, long after the students had moved on. This is certainly the case with the Femetraj project. The team developed a Party Pact, held an Alcohol and Drug Seminar, made a submission to a select committee in Parliament, created a website, and developed the prototype of an Educational Kit which they hope to have distributed to be used as part of the High School Health Curriculum throughout New Zealand. The project was also seen to have international potential.

New Zealand can be well proud of the achievements of the bright young minds who take part in this programme and of the education system which has developed their skills to this high level of international competition.