Critical Thinking

Learner Weblog

I am interested in this post and post on critical thinking.

Is critical thinking a skill?  Can one teach critical thinking?

Stephen has delivered the course on Critical Literacies MOOC in the past.  He says: reasoning skills do not change from discipline to discipline. Here’s Stephen’s response.

Stephen responds in his comments:

Critical thinking cuts a wide swatch across all disciplines. Just like with mathematics, the principles of critical thinking do not change from one domain to the next.

Alex says here

The last bullet….suggests that logical argumentation and reason are not absolutes but are instead ideological products of the relations «among language, knowledge and power.» This is a familiar view to anyone with experience in critical theory, postmodernism, cultural studies, etc. This view would suggest that the evaluative processes supported by logical argumentation and reason are not critical at all, or at least are not sufficient.

He further…

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Computer Science: The Future of Education | Edutopia

From the cell phone alarm that wakes them to the tablets used to chat with friends and complete homework, today’s students are surrounded by computer technology. It is ubiquitous, and critical to daily routines. Yet few understand how technology works, even as it becomes ever more intrinsic to how we solve business and community challenges.

Today, computer science helps retailers determine how to grow sales, and it ensures that law enforcement officers are in the right places to maintain public safety. It is the foundation for the smart grid, and it fuels personalized medicine initiatives that optimize outcomes and minimize treatment side effects. Computing algorithms help organizations in all industries solve problems in new and more effective ways.

Inseparable from the Future of Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs. However, between current professionals and university students, we will only have 400,000 computer scientists trained to fill those roles.

Since it can take as many as 25 years to create a computer scientist, and since computer science skills are becoming increasingly integral for jobs in all industries, this skills gap is on track to emerge as a formidable economic, security, and social justice challenge in the next few years. Teachers, schools, parents, and industry must act on multiple fronts to address student readiness, expand access to computer science curriculum and opportunities, and help foster interest in computer science to ensure that it becomes a core component of every child’s education.

Tackling the Challenges

Even though computer science skills are becoming increasingly important in the competitive global economy, there are some significant roadblocks that prevent schools from incorporating computer science into the curriculum and exposing more students to the subject.

Currently, very few schools make computer science available to students. According to the College Board, in 2013, only 9 percent of schools offered the AP computer science exam. This lack of course offerings is compounded by the fact that there is a significant lack of teachers who are qualified to engage students in computer science — those who have a deep knowledge of the topic often take jobs in industry — and a lack of student interest in taking these advanced courses, at least partly due to a misconception that computing experts are boring, male, and always in front of their computers. Overall student engagement numbers are low even relative to other STEM fields, and female and minority students in particular are vastly underrepresented in existing computer science courses. Of the 30,000 students that took the AP computer science exam, fewer than 20 percent were female, only three percent were African American, and approximately eight percent were Hispanic, according to the College Board.

These issues stunt the expansion of computer science, and prevent students from gaining the basic technology literacy that will be imperative for future workers in all fields. Communities, schools, and industry must work together to integrate computer science in schools from a young age to help both encourage diversity in technology-related fields and ensure that students of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds have the opportunity to learn these skills.

5 Steps for Taking Action Now

While a comprehensive, long-term plan is needed to incorporate computer science education in all schools and to ensure that students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, there are five simple steps that teachers, schools, parents, and industry can take today to integrate computer science into classrooms and begin to overcome the above-mentioned challenges:

1. Professional Development

Teachers can register for online or in-person teacher training courses to learn how to teach a computer science curriculum or integrate basic computer science principles into existing lesson plans.

2. Career Education

Parents, teachers, and schools can educate students about the career opportunities available to those who get computer science degrees. While it could mean working for technology giants like Apple and Oracle, students can also use computer science skills to advance healthcare research or help a non-profit build a case for government funding.

3. Student Incentives

Teachers can offer students extra credit for using free online learning tools to develop basic computer science skills and create a project. (A good place to start is the Computer Science Teachers Association.)

4. Mentor Programs

Industry and schools can formalize a mentorship program that will encourage and support students to learn more about computer science and develop their skills inside and outside the classroom — via after-school programs or co-taught lessons.

5. Coding for Kids

Parents can help kids develop confidence in their problem-solving abilities and explore computer science in action in their lives and communities with age-appropriate coding apps such as Scratch for younger children or MakeGamesWithUs for high school students.

Inseparable from the Future of Our Society

Students, parents, educators, and industry all have a vested interest in better integrating computer science into the K-12 experience. Our economic stability and national security depend on a population with solid computer science skills and coding literacy. As such, the future of education must focus on making computer science an integral part of every child’s education to ensure that students of all genders and backgrounds have a chance to pursue these opportunities.

How does your school teach computer science?

μέσω Computer Science: The Future of Education | Edutopia.

Is This The Future Of Education? – Edudemic

It seems to be part of the human condition that we are constantly looking to the future. From things a simple as “what’s happening this weekend” to “are we going to have flying cars in ten years”, wondering, imagining, and creating what our future will look like is so normal that it can often seem like it is just a part of our subconscious. 

In education, we’re always looking to the future. What can we improve? How can we change, add, or manage our toolkits to do exactly what we need? What skills will students need in the future, and how can we ensure we’re preparing them adequately? What technologies will they be using? The handy infographic below takes a look at the ‘education of tomorrow’. It showcases a few statistics on technology growth over the years along with an overview of what might be next for the future of education. What do you think the future of education holds? Specific tools? Different skills? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

The Future of Education

  • 79% of Americans have a home computer today, compared with 8% in 1984
  • 3 x as many college students matriculated with a tablet in 2012 as in 2011!
  • 75% of American households have internet access today, compared with 18% in 1997
  • MOOCS and other types of online education are becoming more and more prevalent – in many different forms (free, paid, short and long courses, etc)
  • 90% of college students and high school seniors see tablets as valuable educational tools
  • 63% believe tablets will transform learning
  • 6 in 10 college students prefer books in digital format (for both class and pleasure reading)
  • 72% of students show improvement in class with regular access to technology
  • Eighth grade proficiency improved from 29% to 41% with regular access to technology

What’s Next?

  • MOOCs are expected to gain credibility
  • Augmented reality will play a larger role
  • A lessening focus on degrees and more focus on practical skills
  • Integrated touch screens at student desks and teacher workstations
  • Individual tablets for everyone

Is This The Future Of Education? – Edudemic.