As I was catching up on news from family and friends on Facebook, I came across this item from the Huffington Post, Changing Education in an Ever-Changing World
( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-resnick/changing-education-in-an-_b_1171059.html )
The author may have gotten a little carried away with other thoughts, but the bottom line of the item is that educators have a golden opportunity to teach students at all levels the skills they need to critically evaluate what they read on the Internet–using the very media that students prefer. I’m not sure what the statistics are, but I would say that there are 100 pieces of garbage on the web for every 1 piece of solid information. What the author failed to address is the practical use of all the gadgets that kids use to not only “surf the net” and share photos and movie clips, but also as a means to discuss with teachers and classmates what might make the article (or clip or photo or blog) “good” or “garbage.” This can be done in any school subject, whether the topic is a review of a particular book, an online posts of “how-to’s” for arithmetic calculations, an “academic discussion” on the start of the US Civil War, a first aid blog on how to treat a paper cut, or a YouTube clip of a lake’s ecology. Thus, critical thinking can be taught for any subject and for any level of education, using the very instruments that students use for communication already.
Of course, I have always been a proponent of using the current tendencies and behaviors within a class and use them to learning advantage. Interestingly, teaching critical thinking skills by using the latest technologies can be a great classroom and learning management tool, as well.