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Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Through STEM

STEM Champ – Staff Writer

“21st century life is one that is characterized by fast paced developments in technology, which influences every aspect of our lives. Therefore technological expertise is without doubt the most desirable skill for future careers. But apart from ensuring competence in STEM careers, STEM learning also ensures the development of certain 21st century life skills that are required by the growing generation to face the world. In the increasingly competitive world of this century, it is necessary that our children be equipped with the prowess to deal with the competition and meet the needs of the time. STEM education teaches these skills to students, leaving them ready and capable to face the world. Reasoning, systems thinking, decision making, critical thinking and problem solving are some of the most significant 21st century skills required by children. Critical thinking and problem solving are skills that students need to develop in need to be able to face the world outside the classroom.”(more)

How Students Critiquing One Another’s Work Raises The Quality Bar

KQED News Mind/Shift – Staff Writer

“Too often, when students produce school work, they turn it into a teacher for a grade and move on. And after the teacher spends time evaluating the student’s work, many students never look at the feedback, a cycle that frustrates both parties and isn’t the most effective way to learn. Several schools are trying a different model — one that takes more time but also helps students feel more ownership over the quality of their work. Called peer critique, students follow clear protocols that remind them to “be kind, be specific, and be helpful” in the feedback they give to peers.”(more)

Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t

The Guardian – Charlotte Blease

“At the controls of driverless cars, on the end of the telephone when you call your bank or favourite retailer: we all know the robots are coming, and in many cases are already here. Back in 2013, economists at Oxford University’s Martin School estimated that in the next 20 years, more than half of all jobs would be substituted by intelligent technology. Like the prospect of robot-assisted living or hate it, it is foolish to deny that children in school today will enter a vastly different workplace tomorrow – and that’s if they’re lucky. Far from jobs being brought back from China, futurologists predict that white-collar jobs will be increasingly outsourced to digitisation as well as blue-collar ones.”(more)

The arts help kids with math, critical thinking

The Mother Nature Network – Cory Rosenberg

“If you’ve ever watched a child find her rhythm on pots and pans or been surprised to find a drawing scrawled on the wall, you know a child’s need to create is endless. And while you may not want your entire home to be your child’s canvas, it’s important for children to experiment with and engage in the arts during their developmental years. The benefits of children taking part in artistic practices are plentiful, including positive impacts on physical, cognitive and social skills.”(more)

Teach your children to THINK

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Efforts to control the minds of children are at an all-time high. Most kids spend a lot of time learning “what to think” and very little time learning “how to think”. As a result, parents need to take a proactive role to make sure their children are not manipulated.

Mind control has been an issue since the beginning of human existence. The difference today is a new communication medium, the Internet. At first it was a relatively unbiased source of information. As it has matured, governments and companies have learned to control it.

Now Internet searches are based on the preferences of the owners and employees of the search engine companies and paid advertisers. In addition, social media companies have started censoring dialog. Twitter and Facebook recently deleted accounts from people who were promoting ideas that were not popular with company management. While most people do not agree with the viewpoints presented in these accounts, it does not mean it is wise to remove these dissenting voices. If companies can cut these accounts, what prevents them from cutting other accounts when it is political expedient?

History is written by the winners and is often sanitized to support specific political agendas. As a result, school history is generally far from reality. The problem is compounded because standard textbooks are rarely complemented with materials that include opposing viewpoints.

In addition, journalists and writers have prejudices that are based on upbringing, education, and access to information which means most news stories have a significant slant.

In higher education, professors tend to promote similar perspectives, because the tenure and publication system discourages alternative thought. This uniformity of ideas is dangerous, because it can lead to myopia. Some people argue that theories having to do with manmade climate change, technical capabilities of ancient civilizations, and brain differences between genders have not been properly vetted because of this bias.

Fortunately, it is possible for parents to circumvent the mind control efforts. First kids need to learn discipline. Then they need to be taught how to research, respectfully question conventional thinking, and present alternative viewpoints. After that it is important for parents to make sure schools are using textbooks and supporting materials that cover subjects from a variety of perspectives.

Finally, it is imperative for families to discuss classroom topics at home. This way parents can expose their children to viewpoints they may not be hearing at school.

How Cross-Cultural Dialogue Builds Critical Thinking and Empathy

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“The world and the people who work and live in it have become ever more connected as the internet becomes more accessible. Yet despite the ability to connect and learn about happenings on the other side of the globe, many communities have become more polarized and entrenched in a particular worldview. As these trends emerge, teachers are looking for ways to foster productive dialogue skills in today’s students — the generation that will have to deal with complex, increasingly global problems.”(more)