Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

June 17, 2010

How should critical thinking be integrated with technology?


6-15-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Great Critical Thinkers!

Julie Shy (@shyj) has been this week’s #edchat ‘trooper’ and provided us with a great summary. You can read Julie’s bio at the bottom of the post. Her work with thinking skills, technology and teachers makes her a great candidate to tackle this week’s topic of critical thinking! I’m sure you will agree that it is a job well done!

Critical thinking…..ahhhh….it sounds so “smart,” doesn’t it?  We spend our days teaching our students how to ask good questions. We model and teach our students how to think critically. We spend hours showing our students how to take all of the wonderful information they have gathered and analyze and synthesize it. And then, the end of the school year comes, and our students take “the test.” You know which one I’m talking about…..”THE test”…..the only one the state looks at….the only one tied to budgets and recognition for your whole district…..the one that looks for ONE RIGHT ANSWER!!!! “Calgon, take me away!” C’mon, you know what I mean. Why should we, as educators, spend so much time on something that apparently isn’t valued by our educational system? Is it really worth our time and effort?

Fortunately educators who participate in #edchat discussions are a stubborn group and insist on doing the right thing for children. Today’s #edchat tackled the question, “How should critical thinking be integrated with technology?”

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • good lesson design can support and promote critical thinking
  • traditional curricular materials (ie workbooks, textbooks) do not enhance critical thinking in students
  • critical thinking in classrooms should not be an option
  • teachers need to be comfortable creating/asking higher level questions and allowing students to ask questions
  • if there is “one right answer” thinking stops as soon as the first person gets the answer
  • technology is a tool to support critical thinking
  • teachers need to model critical thinking
  • critical thinking occurs when students link to prior knowledge
  • collaboration should be a part of the critical thinking process for teachers and students

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cybraryman1: Good teaching requires an understanding of how technology relates to the pedagogy and content
@BrandiJClark: Students should be involved in developing essential questions

@andycinek: If you take the time early on to give them grounding in the tools, you can turn the class and critical thinking over to them
@VanessaSCassie: The design of the lesson is where critical thinking is achieved or not…tech is just one way of getting there
@andycinek: Critical thinking is the ability to deconstruct/analyze a problem/question and find the a logical solution
@wmchamberlain: A better question, “How do we teaching critical thinking in class when teachers are stuck with programs and workbooks?”
@21stcenturychem: we owe it to our students to teach how to critically analyze the mountains of info online
@ShellTerrell: We need to make teachers feel comfortable w/ letting students find the answers instead of giving them the answers!
@MissCheska: I think by backward design and concept-based instruction that mixes PBL and experiential methods
@drdouggreen: Promote metacognition by having students self evaluate.
@tomwhitby: If the car breaks down you walk. Travel is the skill, the car is the tool
@Swanny203: I have had many a stud mad at me ’cause I have answered their ? with a ? to lead them to the answer-no instant gratification
@profhutch: I’ve had students request worksheets because they are easier….project based learning takes critical thinking and time
@Ron_Peck: Move kids up the ladder of critical thinking and have them apply it in PBL or other student centered activity.
@evab2001: critical thinking is conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information, knowledge
@RushaSams: We need 2 understand power of scaffolding ques so that essential ones follow basic understanding, knowledge ones.
@MissCheska: Doesn’t critical thinking require a little creativity?
@malcolmbellamy: critical thinking is developed in an environment that encourages it and does not belittle any contribution
@Brian_ThomasTCI: Critical thinking often thrives in collaboration too. Grouping students fosters new thinking.
@21stcenturychem: Students have to be comfortable asking tough questions; not all teachers like being challenged
@iangowans: Undeniably critical thinking is important but time MUST be spent on understanding the content prior to all this great thinking
@thenewtag: Not sure we even teach critical thinking as much as develop it by encouraging curiosity, experimentation and inquiry.
@ColinTGraham: Critical thinking is also very much a N American/European expectation and may not be culturally applicable or acceptable

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

  • What technology tools specifically enhance critical thinking for students?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:

ShellTerrell:   Super cool! Watch #Edchat live if you wish: http://bit.ly/cUg80b via @edudemic

Brian_ThomasTCI: Teach Critical thinking with discussion strategy. Imagine this with Skype! http://bit.ly/daYxjr Other free assessment ideas linked.

classroomtools: Critical Thinking lesson: How is history used to deceive in this 2010 political ad? http://youtu.be/6iQ7ZDUutU4

ShellTerrell: Remember this #Edchat is in preparation for Wed.’s live chat on Elluminate w/ @hrheingold http://bit.ly/9cyyML #HRChat

Parantella: RT @ShellTerrell: Looking Forward By Looking Back http://bit.ly/9qhlj5 via @parentella

rliberni: Has technology produced a decline in these skills? http://bit.ly/cLFtYK

cybraryman1: @tomwhitby Evaluation Websites: http://bit.ly/5R2Hxi

SheldonWordNerd: Best explanation I’ve seen lately  RT @elizabethonline: Using and Teaching Critical Thinking http://tinyurl.com/25qqq96

Brian_ThomasTCI: Start simple with tech tools and learn as you grow. Here’s a guide you can share with them #edchat http://bit.ly/9KvBYg

findingdulcinea: I’d love to see students create “Suspicious Sites” features like these: http://bit.ly/ssites

andycinek: Shameless self promotion of critical thinking done with technology in the classroom http://bit.ly/bckvRk

web20education: Critical thinking must be integrated with technology in a safety mode . Join and let’s discuss  http://bit.ly/9EI9xP

cybraryman1: @rliberni That is why my Critical Thinking page has Problem Solving on it too:  http://bit.ly/q7HUm

weemooseus: Teaching computational thinking may help students deal with critical thinking issues #edchat http://www.cs4fn.org/computationalthinking/

rliberni: Here’s some research An experiment in group learning technology – evaluating critical thinking http://bit.ly/d0bjSM

Brian_ThomasTCI: if you want lots of ideas in groups, make sure to include lots of learning styles #edchat http://bit.ly/bSAdGn

Brian_ThomasTCI: Check out this old school vid on how critical thinking can happen in small groups . http://bit.ly/biCN51

Brian_ThomasTCI: Build lessons around powerful teaching strategies, let your class be a model to others. #edchat http://bit.ly/4Jwv0S

ColinTGraham: It’s worth looking at approaches like sketchcasting http://bit.ly/bEFCIU for presentations.

cybraryman1: QuestionningTechniques Page: http://cybraryman.com/questioning.html

ileducprof: RT @ShellTerrell: RT @JasonFlom: “Emerging Trend: Teachers as Advocates” | Cooperative Catalyst http://bit.ly/cCkDQv

tomwhitby: This video for educators is worth 3 minutes of time. School from a kid’s view is a needed component for reform. http://bit.ly/9cXR6S

theokk: Great post here by @ewanmcintosh that may be of interest … http://is.gd/cQoCf

rliberni: Thinking skills, technology and learning  http://bit.ly/amlTbH

Brian_ThomasTCI: Here’s link to spiraled questions strategy for critical thinking and images http://scr.bi/cUfWsk

Brian_ThomasTCI: Need to run!  Great #edchat today! My Blog post on Critical Thinking http://bit.ly/9KSQfQ

nlakusta: TC2 http://www.tc2.ca/wp/ is now working with Sesame Street!! Fabulous. Our school division working with them 2

SheldonWordNerd: @Mamacita Did you see my post on why Google isn’t a substitute for an education?  We’re in agreement!  http://bit.ly/9yPey5

TeachTec: Check out the new critical thinking & web research curriculum developed by Microsoft & ISTE http://bit.ly/crtthk

kylepace: Using Google Sites To Create E-Portfolios For Students…http://bit.ly/cTjng1

internet4classr: Will Gates go microsoft on standardized tests? http://ht.ly/1YQEy

Oh_the_Places: Critical thinking and engineering in Kindergarten.  Great for #edchat today http://nyti.ms/aFw3Gg

HigherEdMorning: Social networking goes to school: http://bit.ly/bEYVqV

TeachTec: Check out the new critical thinking & web research curriculum developed by Microsoft & ISTE http://bit.ly/crtthk

ColinTGraham: @Mamacita You might want to check out my article – No tech? No problem! The Language Teacher Online: Dec 2008 http://bit.ly/aBohx5

Julie taught for 10 years before a friend saw an ad in the newspaper for an instructional specialist for the eMINTS program. She showed it to Julie and said, “That sounds like you.” Ten years later she is still working for eMINTS  (thankfully!) and loving every minute of it! Helping teachers learn how to create a classroom community which embraces inquiry-based, high quality lessons, powered by technology, is something that is challenging and very rewarding.

Not only does Julie impact teaching but she also gets to reach 100’s more students than she would have if she remained in the classroom.
Julie is very passionate about education and her family, husband of 20 years, Rick and 2 kids (an almost 17 year old senior and 13 year old 8th grader, plus 2 dogs….and recently 6 puppies!…anyone need a weimaraner puppy?), gardening, photography and trying to maintain a bit of sanity in her life!

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think? Leave a comment!



  1. Wow! Berni, I just love these summaries and this was such an important edchat for me to have missed!

    I very much believe that beyond the whistles and pizzazz of the tech-tools we are exploring, we are being given an opportunity to get students actively pursuing meaning. I just love the challenge of getting them to own their learning – to move way beyond rote-learning in textbooks, or passive understanding or even the ability to reuse something and on to actually climbing towards justifying/judging the usefulness of new input; the integrity of the thing and eventually on towards producing something entirely new, entirely theirs.

    We’re living in exciting times!

    Julie Shy asked “What technology tools specifically enhance critical thinking for students?” – and actually have been working on just that question and would like to propose the suite of google-apps, tools and search functions! From an ELT perspective here Why use Google? – hope useful to your readers!



    Comment by Karenne Sylvester — June 17, 2010 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Karenne – great stuff! Very helpful. Especially for me – I’m trying to get my students more engaged in sharing what they are learning (online) with each other. This is a challenge but it is important that they are engaged and challenged by what they are doing and of course thinking about it and evaluating. Working together with others can only enhance this process.
      Edchat gets bigger every week it seems and it’s difficult to follow everything so the summary seems to be a good way of nailing everything down!

      Comment by rliberni — June 18, 2010 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Richard Lakin and Adrian Edwards, Andrew Barras. Andrew Barras said: RT @ShellTerrell: How should critical thinking be integrated with technology? http://bit.ly/cFaBKu #edchat […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention How should critical thinking be integrated with technology? « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language -- Topsy.com — June 17, 2010 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  3. […] How should critical thinking be integrated with technology … […]

    Pingback by Business leaders and academics call for new thinking at ESMT 3rd Annual Forum: “People, Planet, Profit” | World University Information — June 26, 2010 @ 10:14 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: