Critical thinking and technology - an EDEN NAP Webinar
Moderator: Antonella Poce, Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP) Steering Committee member and Associate Professor in Experimental Pedagogy at the University Roma Tre – Department of Education
Date: 7 December 2016
Recording of the webinar: https://eden-online.adobeconnect.com/p4hcaplald5/
OECD 2010 Investing in social and human capital, Tackling the effects of the crisis
The concept behind the project, carried out at DE and fully described later on, is therefore that of verifying the effectiveness of a model constructed to increase critical thinking skills, which is essential in environments such as those described by the OECD in the above-mentioned documents, in order to apply this to settings where employed people are involved in training
Paul, R. and Elder, L.2002. Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Financial Times Prentice Hall
Adaptation of categories taken from the model for the assessment of critical thinking skills by Newman, Webb, Cochrane (1997) The questionnaire is divided into four sections.
The first is devoted to Newman et al. (1997) categories of relevance and importance and contains indicators linked to formal characteristics of course content (e.g. comprehension, feedback effectiveness, video lecturing length and so on).
The second section is related to the categories of breadth of understanding, argumentation and justification and consists of a series of statements. Students indicate how far they agree with the statements using a five point Likert scale. The statements focus on issues such as level of understanding, step by step learning, growing difficulty, lack of information and explanation, etc.
The third section is devoted to critical evaluation, as students were asked to critically assess content, proposing issues for discussion and reflection, according to The Eight Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning (2009). Questions, here, were related to self-assessment of the competencies acquired.
The last section was designed to identify novelty. This is the only open ended section. The aim is to enable students to reflect and express their own opinion/evaluation, adding elements on already identified indicators (e.g. “briefly describe strengths of the course you participated in”; “briefly describe weaknesses of the course you participated in” “how could the course be improved” and so on).
Our efforts in this phase of the research were focused on identifying the relation, if any, between the employment of the traditional lecturing mode (distinctio, divisio textus, collatio, questio) and the ability of reasoning to be demonstrated by students actively engaged in written production.
Critical thinking and technology - an EDEN NAP Webinar
Critical thinking and
Is there a possible successful
•Could you define critical
• Do you consider it a
mandatory 21st century
Why critical thinking skills are essential?
Young people - migration and
socioeconomic situation (Eurostat)
Over a seven-year period, from 2007 to 2013, the
proportion of young people NEET in the EU-28
On average, the share of EU-born young people
NEET in 2013 was 4.8 pp higher than the share in
The proportion of employed school early leavers
decreased substantially from 2007 to 2013 for all
groups of young people by country of birth, while at
the same time the percentage of unemployed early
Investing in human and social
recent trends show sharp increases in the
demand for task input requiring complex
communication (…). Similar increases have
occurred in the demand for non routine
analytical skills, involving solving problems for
which there are no rule based solutions, and
requiring individuals to develop skills of problem
solving and inquiry based learning throughout
(OECD, 2010, theme 2, p. 5).
Is CT a solution? Less discuss it!
Do you think CT can be
If yes do you have
experience in that?
Can you tell us more?
unemployed workers and people in weak
economic sectors are also looking to
education and training opportunities to
improve their position on the labour market
and this caused a paradoxical situation
where higher education and vocational
institutions have to face a large
demand with reduced resources.
some countries reacted introducing
specific measures to invest in skills
development, research and innovation,
being aware that budget cuts in
education will harm those who are most
vulnerable and are promoting policies
to improve equity in learning
opportunities (Belgium, France,
Germany) (Cinque, 2016)
(Laurillard, Learning and Teaching in
Higher Education, 2008, p.35), places
which promote tools concerned with
the improvement of individual and,
consequently, the same organization
Formal education should enter working
places and the other way round:
“in the nations where work is organized to
support high levels of employee discretion
in solving complex problems, the evidence
shows that firms tend to be more active in
terms of innovations developed through
their own in house creative efforts”
(OECD, 2010, theme 1, p. 10)
According to your experience, can you see a role for
TECHED to foster such abilities?
Do you know about initiatives/projects regarding CT
development on line?
Research activity carried out at LPS DE*
of an ad hoc
*Laboratory for Experimental Research - Department of education – University
Critical thinking abilities
Paul and Elder (2002, p. 230) state:
“each one of us thinks, it is in our nature. Most of our
thoughts are, however, distorted, partial, non uniform
or influenced by bias.
And yet, the quality of our life, and what we produce,
do, build, depends on the quality of our thoughts.
Excellence of thoughts must be systematically
• to define a critical technology, through the preparation of teaching
material to be provided online, according to a well-defined design
• to organize and coordinate guided discussions on a dedicated virtual
space, provided to students for the above activity
• to collect the insights of the online discussions and analyze them
with lexicon-metric tools
• to measure the students’ critical thinking skills via an adapted
Newman, Webb, Cochrane (1997) model, already used within the
sphere of other projects carried out within the department. This
activity was implemented by:
1.asking students, at the beginning of the education proposal, to
undertake a short essay test on a certain topic that is related to
2.repeating the short essay test at the end of the learning activity,
and assessing, via the same analysis model, whether an increase
in critical thinking is found
3.collecting the data and preparing the research report
(Newman et al.
(20 pairs of
CT= (X+-X-): (X++X-)
Relevance, importance, width
of understanding ,
justificationnovelty and so on
More than 200 students, attending the master (pre-service)
level university degree in Primary Education – Roma Tre
Students participated in the online lecturing, as part of the
compulsory module in Educational research methodology
After taking part in the course, they had to carry out an
evaluation, according to the ad hoc model devised by LPS
Students' background variables questionnaire administration
Evaluation form, defined according to specific indicators
created to assess the impact of OERs on Higher Education
teaching and learning
Final questionnaire on the experience
An innovative qualitative research tool
relevance and importance
contains indicators linked to
formal characteristics of
breadth of understanding,
argumentation and justification
consists of a series of
statements. Students indicate
how far they agree with them
students were asked to
critically assess content,
proposing issues for
discussion and reflection
(open ended section) The aim
is to enable students to reflect
and express their own
elements on already identified
Adaptation of categories taken from the model for the assessment of critical thinking skills by
Newman, Webb, Cochrane (1997)
The tool Quality Evaluation – Relevance and
importance (indicators relate to characteristics of
The tool Content Analysis – Width of
comprehension, argumentation and justification
of solutions content
The tool - Critical evaluation (skills
The model under investigation
Focus: relation, if any, between the employment of
the traditional lecturing mode (distinctio, divisio
textus, collatio, questio) and the ability of reasoning
The hypothesis to be tested concerned mainly the
verification of the impact of classical lecturing on
students’ reasoned production
Technology helps the limitation of employing
traditional lecturing in contemporary large contexts
and allows that individual intercourse everyone of us
might need while deepening a certain topic of study.
Contemporary society show a vital need for
enhancement of critical thinking skills,
especially for those who are attending higher
levels of education.
This study is an attempt to demonstrate that
technology, if used as a tool and adequately
inserted in a strong didactical structure, can
represent a valid solution for improvement
Impressions on the experience?
Do you have similar experiences to discuss?
How do you think results can be improved?