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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:

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Critical thinking and technology - an EDEN NAP Webinar

  1. 1. Critical thinking and technology Antonella Poce Is there a possible successful link?
  2. 2. Welcome! Warm up questions •Could you define critical thinking? • Do you consider it a mandatory 21st century skill?
  3. 3. Why critical thinking skills are essential? Creativity and innovation drivers Critical thinking skills
  4. 4. 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 increased significantly.  On average, the share of EU-born young people NEET in 2013 was 4.8 pp higher than the share in 2007.  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 leavers increased… explained/index.php/Young_people_- _migration_and_socioeconomic_situation#NEET_by_country_of_birth
  5. 5. OECD report Investing in human and social capital  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 their education. (OECD, 2010, theme 2, p. 5).
  6. 6. Dicussion (1) Is CT a solution? Less discuss it!  Do you think CT can be thought?  If yes do you have experience in that?  Can you tell us more?
  7. 7. Education needs  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.
  8. 8. Education needs  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)
  9. 9. Education needs learning organizations (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 learning …
  10. 10. Education needs  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)
  11. 11. 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? Discussion (2)
  12. 12. Research
  13. 13. Research activity carried out at LPS DE* Critical thinking abilities Development of an ad hoc model Structured didactic project *Laboratory for Experimental Research - Department of education – University
  14. 14. 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 culturally nourished.”
  15. 15. • 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 their studies 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 Objectives
  16. 16. Analysis path Pre and post tests Online interviews on the experience Online short essay cooperativ e writing •Content analysis (Newman et al. adaptation) •Lexicon metrics analysis
  17. 17. Content analysis Newman Webb and Cochrane (1997) (20 pairs of indicators) CT= (X+-X-): (X++X-) Relevance, importance, width of understanding , justificationnovelty and so on
  18. 18.  More than 200 students, attending the master (pre-service) level university degree in Primary Education – Roma Tre University  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 Methodology  Students' background variables questionnaire administration  OERs completion  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 Methodological plan
  19. 19. An innovative qualitative research tool relevance and importance contains indicators linked to formal characteristics of course content breadth of understanding, argumentation and justification consists of a series of statements. Students indicate how far they agree with them critical evaluation students were asked to critically assess content, proposing issues for discussion and reflection novelty (open ended section) The aim is to enable students to reflect and express their own opinion/evaluation, adding elements on already identified indicators Adaptation of categories taken from the model for the assessment of critical thinking skills by Newman, Webb, Cochrane (1997) four section s
  20. 20. The tool Quality Evaluation – Relevance and importance (indicators relate to characteristics of course content)
  21. 21. The tool Content Analysis – Width of comprehension, argumentation and justification of solutions content
  22. 22. The tool - Critical evaluation (skills acquired)
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. Final remarks 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
  25. 25. Discussion (3) Impressions on the experience? Do you have similar experiences to discuss? How do you think results can be improved?
  26. 26.  Thank you! @AntonellaPoce