Re imagining critical thinking in the digital age
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Re imagining critical thinking in the digital age

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Since the early twentieth century, sociolinguists and related theoreticians have given deeper meaning to the word text and have gradually changed our view of reading as one that not only deciphers ...

Since the early twentieth century, sociolinguists and related theoreticians have given deeper meaning to the word text and have gradually changed our view of reading as one that not only deciphers words on the printed page, but one that involves reading messages and signals, ranging originally from individual gestures and community traditions to today’s vast array of media technologies. As methods of communication have advanced, so has the need for closer reading and deeper thinking. How can students be more engaged in reading the world when they only think in 140 characters? In this interactive presentation, participants will explore how to infuse critical thinking strategies with multiple forms of media.

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  • Synopsis of presentation:Since the early twentieth century, sociolinguists and related theoreticians have given deeper meaning to the word text and have gradually changed our view of reading as one that not only deciphers words on the printed page, but one that involves reading messages and signals, ranging originally from individual gestures and community traditions to today’s vast array of media technologies. As methods of communication have advanced, so has the need for closer reading and deeper thinking. How can students be more engaged in reading the world when they only think in 140 characters? In this interactive presentation, participants will explore how to infuse critical thinking strategies with multiple forms of media.
  • Slide contains embedded sound of AOL’s well-known “You’ve Got Mail,” one of the first frequent interruptions for early Internet users.
  • This book was the inspiration for this presentation.
  • Beloware just a few suggesteddefinitions of the words on the screen, but the point is this: Literacy today is not only concerned with reading the page but “reading the world,” so to speak. A strong indicator of this extended view of reading is the long list of what might be called critical literacies. Many disciplines have their own form of literacy (e.g., see bottom of Wikipedia’s page on literacy: http://bit.ly/H4yCIZ); however, if the ‘Net Generation does not engage in deep or close reading – say, they are only accustomed to reading 140 characters on Twitter – then questions have to be asked about how they will read the world. Will their interpretations -- constructions and deconstructions, if you will – of the personal, cultural and social texts around them be weak? Will they be able to achieve the literacies of their disciplines that hinge on deep reading and critical thought?Text “Derived from the Latin textum (‘something woven’), which is also related to the words ‘textile’ and ‘texture’.” How to cite this entry:"text"  A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology 1450–2000. Peter Beal. Oxford University Press 2008 Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.Text “A group of practices for signaling meaning(s). This commonly means written texts, but has recently included economic, political, and social institutions, paintings, landscapes, and maps. Anthropologists view culture as a text.”How to cite this entry:"text"   A Dictionary of Geography. Susan Mayhew. Oxford University Press 2009 Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.media (mass media)   The means, such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, by which advertisers, politicians, etc., communicate with large numbers of members of the general public.How to cite this entry:"media"  A Dictionary of Business and Management. Ed. Jonathan Law. Oxford University Press, 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  ‘Medium is the Message, The’.   The playfully paradoxical title of the first chapter of Understanding Media (1964) by the Canadian philosopher of communications Marshall McLuhan (1911–80). His point appears to be that the form of the electronic media (television, computers, etc.) plays a key role in shaping our thought, in that a ‘message’ is ‘the change of scale or pace or pattern’ that new technology ‘introduces into human affairs’.How to cite this entry:"‘Medium is the Message, The’"  Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable. Edited by John Ayto and Ian Crofton. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd.  
  • Video from: http://youtu.be/UFwWWsz_X9s Is good old-fashioned paper a technology? Can learning happen outside of technology? Does technology change the way we read deeply and therefore critically think? Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, in his essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” relays a great story about how the typewriter changed Friedrich Nietzsche’s form in his laterwritings. See: http://bit.ly/GWd3Wn If technology changes writings, will it change readings as well? Jaron Lanier in his book You Are Not A Gadget (2010) discusses software lock-in. He says that software developers who develop original formats or programs do not have the ability to know how their work will be used in the future. MIDI, for example, continues to be tweaked over 20 years after its initial invention. The implication is that the same “lock in” that happens with software can also happen to its users. Lanier writes, “Every element in the system—every computer, every person, every bit—comes to depend on relentlessly detailed adherence to a common standard, a common point of exchange.” Is this not a sense of sociocentric thinking, an inability to think outside a certain milieu? What does this say about those elements of reasoning, such as interpretation and inference, that are part of critical thinking? Drawing conclusions and creating solution by using only one process seems to deny a person the chance at being a strong-sense critical thinker.
  • “Lazy Eyes” is a picture and contains an embedded link to the an article on how students (and many others, including teachers, too) are used to reading. The same link appears at the bottom of the page.
  • If just skimming, will readers catch that these graphs present the same statistics? What’s more, will they note that the bottom graphs -- called truncated graphs -- offer a more dynamic (sensationalized?) view of the statistics? Note how the truncated graphs do NOT start at zero. Graphic taken from: Best, J. (2004). Confusing numbers. In More damned lies and statistics: How numbers confuse public issues (pp. 44-46). Berkeley, CA: Berkeley University of California
  • The link to Purpose leads to a story called “The House.” The way to use this scenario is explained here: http://bit.ly/H6VV70 The link to Importance leads to an example, provided by critical thinking champion and presenter Gary Meegan, where the original text is compacted into a smaller area to leave more margin for students to “wrestle” with text, asking and answering questions. See the site from where this example comes at http://bit.ly/H6Wqy8
  • The picture of Matthew sitting with Mark Twain contains an embedded link to a highly relevant video. The same link appears at the bottom of the page.
  • This scenario was collected on the Internet as far back as 1999, and while it makes readers think before judging, it should also make them think about what they are reading because some of its facts, or their presentation, are spurious in and of themselves, not to mention it is anonymously written (read more at snopes.com - http://bit.ly/H6CXNL). Still, like so many of these scenarios or stories, they are spread practically worldwide to millions of Internet users, with little regard to authority or fact.
  • The Authority link leads to an evaluation project used in Matthew’s classes on research. With this project, instructor and students discuss what makes these sources credible. The picture of John Mellencamp contains an embedded link to said singer’s hit, “I Fight Authority.”
  • Graphic taken from Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). How to detect media bias & propaganda in national and world news, 3rd ed.Foundation for Critical Thinking. www.criticalthinking.org
  • Strategies borrowed from Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). How to detect media bias & propaganda in national and world news, 3rd ed.Foundation for Critical Thinking. www.criticalthinking.orgThe Trending link leads to Google Trends. Instructors could also try search.twitter.com (no account needed) to demonstrate what Internet users are searching for. In this presentation, it was noted how the day before the presentation, George Zimmerman, the shooter of youth Trayvon Martin, was #10 on Google Trends, but on the day of the presentation, he did not trend at all in the top 10. Instead, the majority of trends, as the day before, were mostly about celebrities. What intellectual depth are Internet users looking for? Does the Internet predispose users to this lack of depth? What backpage stories are being missed? How do we wrestle with this? We seek Alternative Sources, which here leads to FAIR.org, the watchdog organization that presents the weekly show Counterspin, which takes to task – whether ideologically right or left – some of the reporting on major news-stories. In addition to alternative sources, we can seek to look at things in Historical Perspectives, which at the link given here at About.com takes us to an example regarding a quote that while virtually unremarkable these days would have been incendiary during the time of the Salem Witch Trials.

Re imagining critical thinking in the digital age Re imagining critical thinking in the digital age Presentation Transcript

  • Re-Imagining CriticalThinking in the DigitalAge Narrowing the Gulf Conference March 30, 2012 Presenters: Matthew Bodie, M.A. Cher N. Gauweiler, Ph.D.
  • The Bottom Line…• We live in an ecosystem of interruption technologies (Carr, 2011).
  • The Shallows
  • Defining our terms•What is text?•What is media?•What is message?
  • Analyze this! What is the message? Who is the messenger?
  • An Experiment http://slate.me/Ha4xXm
  • Points to Ponder #1• How can someone critically think quickly?• Has skimming become our dominant form of reading?
  • The Same? Or Different? (Best, 2004)
  • Strategies to try…• Give a purpose for reading.• Slow down when reading.• Teach students how to determine importance.• Other ideas?
  • Points to Ponder #2• What has happened to the role of author and reader?• Are we “all authors”? http://bit.ly/Ha4V8q
  • Question….• Question It is time to elect the world leader, and yours is the deciding vote. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates:• Candidate A: He associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologers. Hes had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks up to ten Martinis a day.• Candidate B: He was ejected from office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a large amounts of whisky every evening.• Candidate C: He is a decorated war hero. Hes a vegetarian, doesnt smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasnt had any extra-marital affairs.
  • Strategies to try…• Question authority!• Cross-check references
  • Point to Ponder #3•What is relevance?
  • Strategy #3• Ask questions, such as: • Which stories are trending? • Which point of view is being privileged? • Which points of view are being emphasized?• Learn how redefine issues.• Access alternative sources.• Put events in historical perspectives.
  • References• Best, J. (2004). Confusing numbers. In More damned lies and statistics: How numbers confuse public issues (pp. 44-46). Berkeley, CA: Berkeley University of California• Carr, N. (2011). What the Internet is doing to our brains: The shallows. W. W. Norton and Company: New York.• Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006). How to detect media bias & propaganda in national and world news, 3rd ed. Foundation for Critical Thinking. www.criticalthinking.org