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The Latest EdTech Concept: The Decision-Maker Cap

The Decision-Maker Cap is the latest creation of our company, The Common Student. It is shaped like a baseball cap, is adjustable and comes in eight colors. The Decision-Maker Cap is now available for $55.99 and can help your high school senior make that very dreadful, very final decision: What should I do with the rest of my life?

What Does the Decision-Maker Cap Do?

The Deci-MC, as we like to call it, supports decision making by sorting through user memory, biorhythms, various social media outlets,and PAARC test scores. A weighted algorithm incorporates inputs to the following questions into an overall rubric for decisions. All the user needs to do is wear the cap!

  1. What did I like about school so far?

  2. What did I not like about school so far?

  3. What did I excel in at school?

  4. What did I excel in outside of school?

  5. If I could do anything, what would that be?

  6. If I could go anywhere, where would that be?

  7. How much money am I going to have saved at age 65?

  8. How healthy am I going to be at age 65?

  9. How much more climate change will occur in the next four years?

  10. Will I ever be comfortable speaking in a large group?

Pilot Study

For our pilot study, we offered Deci-MCs to high school seniors in 30 high schools in 10 different cities in the United States. Three of the schools opted out of participation, citing discomfort with our data policy. Four others took the hats, attempted to resell to a competitor of ours, and were charged with illegal trafficking of high stakes technology.

The remaining schools participated in a three-week pilot during which test users wore the caps in three different settings: in class, in sessions with guidance counselors, and at home. While results varied, we were able to conclude:

  • In 76% of all cases, Deci-MC activity was highest during class time, leading us to believe that students spend most time during class considering their options for life after school.

  • In 85% of all cases, Deci-MC activity was lowest during visits with guidance counselors, leading us to conclude that students do not focus on their future when placed inside a box with three class walls.

  • In all but 10% of cases, data from home usage was unreliable because these students’ guardians made them take their hats off.

Recommendations Made

The Deci-MC compiles data over a three-week period and sends its recommendations via email, text, or voicemail, depending on which notification method the student selected when first signing up. Recommendation messages include the following:

  • You should consider going to college; four years (or more) in a somewhat safe environment will help nurture your intellect, skillset, and social life significantly.

  • Take a gap year. You need to recharge before committing to the university experience.

  • Here’s the deal. You should work part-time and go to school part-time. You will be a better person for it. And you won’t have debt hanging on your neck for the rest of your life.

  • You really should think about creating your own learning program from a series of online courses, internships and travel experiences. A self-directed learner like you can benefit greatly from these experiences.

Decision-Maker Cap v.2

Our first release focuses on the recommended decisions and is meant to be used by students alone, or as part of discussions with friends, parents, guidance counselors, etc. Our next version will have increased capabilities to support the process of decision making, so that in addition to the final recommendations, they will get:

  • Daily updates with lists of Tumbler and other blogs with articles relevant to the user’s interests.

  • Recommended podcast playlists to provide more input per student interests.

  • Vibrating functionality to send students a quick buzz to help them focus while taking the AP classes listed on their college applications.

  • Weekly digest of options, including college, gap year, part-time, and self-directed learning to remind students that there are choices.

Disclosure: In addition to the other hats I wear as writer, designer and strategist, I am also the mother of a college junior (high school senior when this was first published) who has chronicled some of her own journey into growing up and decision making in song. If you are interested, take a listen here.

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As of January 2024, Rewriting Paradigms is back and I'm writing about today's  issues, those that most test us and our humanity.

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