EDTC 6431 – Module 4 – Designing Lessons That Use Critical Thinking

The ISTE standard for Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making include the following objectives:

Students will:

  1. Use technology to help identify and define problems for investigation.
  2. Plan and manage projects with the help of digital graphic organizers.
  3. Utilize technology to collect and analyze data, identify possible solutions, and make informed decisions.
  4. Explore and compare solutions with various technology tools.

Personalized Triggering Event Question:

How do we design assignments that require students to apply critical thinking to their planning and research of the assigned topic?

I believe the key to successfully creating lessons that require students to apply critical thinking skills to their work is to create a framework that trains them to do so. The article “Using Technology to develop students’ critical thinking skills,” does a nice job of laying out low-level and high-level critical thinking skills and the types of questions that goes along with them (Mansbach, 2015). The article “A creative thinking approach to enhancing the web-based problem solving performance of university students” goes further and lays out a framework for creative problem solving (Kuo, Chen, & Hwang, 2014). However, without instruction on how to work through this framework students will flounder.

We can tell students to get quality information from the web, use shared resources to analyze it, and use online collaboration tools to create written reports and presentations. In order for them to be successful at it, we need to show them how to do it. This begins with asking students to create a plan for how they are going to do the project they have been assigned. Once they have done this, the instructor will need to meet with them and review their plan with the critical eye they need to develop. An example of questions they would need to answer includes:

  • Do you have a list of jobs that need to be accomplished?
  • How will the work be managed?
  • How will you know if you are on track or getting off track?
  • What is the work product you are attempting to create?
  • Are your data sources valid and verifiable?
  • Do you have the tools to analyze this data?
  • Will the tools you have chosen to use allow you to collaborate in the fashion you expect?

If done correctly, students will begin to understand how much work needs to be done prior to even beginning to work on the product. Once they understand how to design and layout a project, they will be in a position to apply their skills to the project they have been assigned.

Works Cited

Kuo, F.-R., Chen, N.-S., & Hwang, G.-J. (2014). A creative thinking approach to enhancing the web-based problem. Computers & Education, 220-230. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5W5P9bQJ6q0YVI0R0ltM1RFYTg/view

Mansbach, J. (2015, September 14). Using Technology To Develop Students’ Critical Thinking Skills. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from Northwestern School of Professional Studies: https://dl.sps.northwestern.edu/blog/2015/09/using-technology-to-develop-students-critical-thinking-skills/

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