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How to sharpen students’ critical thinking skills online

E-School News – Ian Jamison

“With smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, students have 24/7 access to news, information, and opinions—not all of which are well-informed or well-intentioned. In truth, we are flooded with a constant stream of information online, from legitimate news and facts to websites and social media posts taking sides in intense political debates. In an age when students get the majority of their information from the internet, how can we make sure they know that not everything they find online is reputable? How can we help students become critical thinkers and smart consumers of information who also have empathy for others?.”(more)

Preparing Students for the Computational Future

Ed Surge – Stephen Wolfram

“Pick any field “X,” from archaeology to zoology. There either is now a “computational X”, or there soon will be. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers, whatever—the future of all these professions will be full of computational thinking. Whether it’s sensor-based medicine, computational contracts, education analytics or agriculture—success is going to rely on being able to do computational thinking well. Computational thinking is going to be a defining feature of the future, and it’s an incredibly important thing to be teaching to kids today. But where does it fit into the standard educational curriculum? The answer, I think, is simple: everywhere! One might think that computational thinking is somehow only relevant to STEM education. But it’s not true. Computational thinking is relevant across the whole curriculum.”(more)

Schools aren’t teaching the most important subject for kids

Business Insider – Chris Weller

“Not too long ago, Jana Mohr Lone was at an education workshop in her hometown of Seattle when someone gave her a note. The note was written by a fifth-grade girl. As Mohr Lone read it, the girl’s words began to fill her with joy. “Ever since you left, I’ve been looking at my surroundings more and being careful about who I’m talking to and what I’m saying,” Mohr Lone later recalled, reading the note over the phone. “I’m thankful because you made me think deeper about things and care more about life.” Mohr Lone isn’t a guidance counselor or a therapist. She’s a philosophy teacher, the founding director of the University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children, and the 20-year president of PLATO, a nonprofit focused on bringing philosophy to schools.”(more)

6 Things Science Says Kids Need To Succeed In Education And Business

Forbes – Jordan Shapiro

“In their new book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek ask what it would take “take to help all children be happy, healthy, thinking, caring, and sociable children who enjoy learning and who move toward becoming collaborative, creative, competent, and responsible citizens of tomorrow?” The answer they provide is tailored specifically to a 21st century global economy. They offer a science-based framework, neatly packaged as “the 6Cs”—collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creativity, and confidence. These are “the key skills that will help all children become the thinkers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” They argue that these are the skills that kids need to become “contributing members of their communities and good citizens as they forge a fulfilling personal life.” The 6Cs are as applicable to business as they are to education.”(more)

Encourage critical thinking by turning your class into a Socratic Seminar

E-School News – Mary Howard

“With so much talk about the Common Core standards and truly increasing our student’s argumentative powers and critical thinking skills, some teachers are starting to think critically themselves about how best to engage students in thoughtful debate and discussion around texts they need to analyze anyway. One method, called the Socratic seminar, challenges to students to formal discussions about a text based on open-ended questions. Throughout the exercise, students must alternately employ good listening, critical thinking, creativity, and rhetorical prowess.”(more)

Thinking differently in education to deliver breadth of skills

Brookings – Rebecca Winthrop, Eileen McGivney and Timothy P. Williams

“Schools, teachers, parents, and students in rich and poor countries alike must transform the teaching and learning environment to catch up and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, major changes to the world of work, and to solve complex global challenges. This means mastering literacy, numeracy, and content in traditional academic subjects, but also requires young people who can think critically, solve problems and collaborate with diverse groups of people. Rather than a narrow set of competencies, education must deliver the breadth of skills urgently needed not only in the labor market but also for helping solve some of the most world’s most pressing social problems…The good news is that there is renewed global consensus to do just this.”(more)