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How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World?

How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World?
As a child, I grew up in a world that was dominated by left-brained thinking. Both my parents were in professions that required in-depth analytical thinking. The “rule” in my house was: “If you break something, try to fix it. Only THEN come ask Dad for help.” Dad was an avionics engineer and had an incredible mechanical ability. Looking back now, I realize something I never understood then — what he had instilled was an ability to think critically. Several months ago, as I was visiting one of our diocese schools, I was fascinated that a first grade teacher was actually teaching critical thinking to her students within a math lesson. The addition sentences were easy for the six and seven-year olds. Shortly after my classroom visit, I came across a website dedicated to teaching critical thinking. Reflection always includes stopping and thinking before making rash judgments about the topic at hand. ‘How do you know what you know?’ About the author Related:  dig.cit

Confessions of a Jesuit School CIO Practically Applied: A Month of Creation in #digcit One of the struggles that I have had teaching computer classes and even adult professional development over the years is the artificial nature of the exercise. While there are a few notable exceptions and tried & true lessons, the teaching of computers is typically taught as a series of artificial "problems" and walk-through solutions. Students for the most part recognize this and go through the motions to a greater or lesser extent depending on how much they value their grades. Thus, when we decided to recast the curriculum for Computer Applications as a course in Digital Citizenship (#digccit) based heavily on the ISTE National Education Technology Standards for Students, one of our implicit goals was to make the student experience more real and more relevant. Context: Brebeuf Jesuit runs a modified-modular schedule. The course has built-in discussion time where students bring in articles on technology trends, news, or events that they have discovered and share with the class.

On Impromptu Speaking and Digital Citizenship: Thoughts from the National Debate Tournament Today is Thursday, June 14, 2012. More importantly, today is the Thursday of the National Forensic League Championships, or as I affectionately call it, Impromptu Day. For those of you who have never been to a High School Speech and Debate tournament, I want to take a few minutes to paint a picture, because it is what is best about education on a number of levels. Students who are passionate about learning, competition, performance and excellence are competing in intellectual, communicative, and critical thinking activities through their own choice, guided by passionate teachers and educators. They are also generally dressed really nice and on their best behavior which is also cool. The national tournament is the culmination of this activity, gathering over three thousand of the best speakers, debaters, and performers from around the nation. It is amazing. As I drove into the competition this morning I was reviewing the last minute advice to give my six students entering this fray:

Teaching the (non)Controversy part III: A Hijacked Blog about Teaching Digital Citizens about PLNs This was originally going to be a blog about how kids communicate based on my reflections of the last two weeks of the #BYOTchat (Thursdays 9pm...where all the cool educators hangout). I was going to talk about the increase in students using twitter over facebook. How a huge factor in this seems to be the adoption of facebook by the students' parents. This will not be that blog. Teaching the (non)Controversy, Revisited Note: this is part three, but can be read without the other two. In part one of Teaching the Controversy, I discussed the big picture idea of how our modern system with infowhelm and a dissolution of the forces that shape the Marketplace of Ideas is making it more difficult to determine truth and accurate information. In part two, we analyzed how this impacts today's students and how creating assignments which embrace controversy might help us build the tools of critical analysis and discernment in students that a) they lack and b) desperately need. [Interlude One] Indeed.

ISTE Daily: Day One - Student Portfolios The ISTE Daily blogs will be less of my usual attempts to find meaning in the chaos that is #edtech and more of a recounting of some of the things heard, said, and thought during the ISTE Conference going on this week. Limited perspective, but hopefully enough of these will be around that people without the opportunity to attend (or attending other things) will find some professional development opportunities. The official Keynotes and Kickoffs are tomorrow, so I decided to spend the day in a workshop presented by Dr. Helen Barrett (@eportfolios) titled "Student Centered Interactive E-portfolios with Google Apps". I am seriously leaning toward a portfolio model for the #digcit class at Brebeuf Jesuit and wanted to get another perspective on implementation. There were some great highlights though: A six step process on e-portfolios that begins with the VISION STATEMENT. Students will implement portfolios to capture the highlights of their experiences in the Digital Citizenship class.

Teaching the (non)Controversy Part I: A Marketplace, Corrupted In celebration of passing 5,000 page views on my blog (THANK YOU SO MUCH), I thought I would change things up a little by mixing the typical rant up with a problem that I don't necessarily have an answer for yet. (Please note, I will be writing about "controversy" in this blog. Please take the content of my claim into consideration even if you disagree with the examples) But first, check out my Pin (Pinterest Board)! get thisFlat Earth JD Ferries-RoweTeach the Controversy (ok, in all honesty, I am also trying to figure out a use-case for Pinterest in education as well. Interlude 1: The debate topic a few years ago in Lincoln-Douglas was over mandatory vaccinations. Despite other books Despite celebrity spokes people Despite air time on evening news programs and screen time on websites The scientific community had put this "controversy" to rest through the process of epidemiological study, scientific method, and peer review. Sounds like 21st Century skills to me. Fast-forward to 2012.

Teaching Discourse within Disagreement - A Quora-inspired blogpost Wow. This might be one of the most challenging questions I have seen recently. Urban Dictionary describes "Layman's Terms" as an attempt to "describe a complex or technical issue using words and terms that the average individual can understand" -- I would add to that dictionary that most people who ask the question are seeking "just the facts" without a particular bias or slant, since they often are looking to draw their own conclusions. And even the term "Obamacare" was, and to many still is, a pejorative term for the Affordable Care Act that was meant to imply, among other things, a) that it was one person's idea and b) a big brother-esque totalitarian solutions (remember the "death boards"?). So I scrapped my attempt to answer the question. But that started one of those thought spirals that brought me back to my "Teach the Controversy" series (Part I, Part II, and the PLN-based Part III). Fortnight of Freedom:A Real World "Teach the Controversy" Application Reflection

Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens 21st Century Literacy | In Print Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens Schools have always been charged with the task of producing good citizens. But how has our definition of a "good citizen" changed over the ages? By John K. In today's world of near-ubiquitous connectivity, in which ordinary people have almost instantaneous access to unlimited stores of information and the ability to interact with anyone, anywhere, anytime, what does it mean to be an effective citizen? Ask a K-12 educator these questions and chances are the answers will have something to do with teaching proper behavior and setting appropriate prohibitions. But some educators, particularly those who think about this issue in higher education, will say that digital citizenship has less to do with safety and civility than participation in the worldwide online conversation--participation that requires a set of relatively sophisticated skills.

Digital Citizenship Social Media in Education My name is JD...and I like social media. I tweet...a lot. I post on Facebook; I'm one of the thirteen or so people on G+, and I agonized over giving up my foursquare account (until I did...whew. that was nice). So it is not surprising that my avocation for social media and my vocation for teaching were going to meet. But educators and parents have a role in social media: HAVE YOU READ LORD OF THE FLIES? At the point that the normal rules do not transfer, adults have two choices. 1. At the point that we decide to embrace option one (boundaries and rules, guidelines and examples) then normal educational practice takes over. But we can't draw upon the context if we are unaware how students are actually behaving in social media. But we can't give them formalized experiences when every social network is blocked at the school. ISN'T THIS ABOUT FORMING RELATIONSHIPS? ARE THERE RISKS? WON'T THE LAWYERS SAY "NO"? To school administrators: Ask yourself if the above arguments make sense.

Some good news for multitaskers - The Answer Sheet This was written by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, professor and director of graduate studies in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” will be published later this month. By Daniel Willingham Psychologists have not had anything nice to say about multitasking. This pattern of performance is especially troubling, given that multitasking — especially media multitasking — is becoming more prevalent, especially among younger people. But there's no evidence that doing a lot of media multitasking makes you better at it. Whether multitasking creates that bias or whether that bias exists for other reasons and prompts people to multitask is not known. A new study (Lui & Wong, 2012) tests that prediction. The researchers used the pip and pop task. All of the lines alternate colors (red and green) but do so asynchronously. Lui, K.

The Information Skills for the 24/7 News Cycle Age: An Analysis of the Reporting of #theatershooting Abstract: an analysis of high-impact news stories and the 24 hour analysis-reporting cycle as it impacts the teaching of communications and information literacy. I think the best description of the news-commentary-begets-more-news cycle I have heard came from Jon Stewart on the daily show. I looked (lightly) for the specific clip, but could not find it. If I do, I will be sure to link to it (thx to commenter Slowdog for the link). News Channel Reports factual dataDuring the commentary/analysis period, the data is interpreted to draw a more meaningful/slanted conclusion to the benefit of the station, political bias, commentator, ratings, etc.During the next NEWS period, the conclusion is reported as breaking news about the original story citing experts, sources, etc. This is one of the examples that we use in #digcit to discuss PLN bias and the need to be more savvy about news in the modern era than ever before. Tragic News Reporting in a 24/7 World but, when it rains, it pours.

Curriculum: Understanding YouTube & Digital Citizenship – Google in Education Overview We have devised an interactive curriculum aimed to support teachers of secondary students (approximately ages 13-17). The curriculum helps educate students on topics like: YouTube’s policies How to report content on YouTube How to protect their privacy online How to be responsible YouTube community members How to be responsible digital citizens We hope that students and educators gain useful skills and a holistic understanding about responsible digital citizenship, not only on YouTube, but in all online activity. Lessons in English Below is a list of lessons, and the recommended flow for delivery. Or you can download the Full Teacher's Guide or the Full Set of Slides in PDF. Lessons in Additional Languages Below is a list of lessons and resources in additional languages beyond English: Learn more To learn more visit the Classroom videos page of this website, where you can find links to information on: