A few years back, Dave Pollard wrote a post on critical thinking and it’s one that I’ve referred to a few times since. I think that real critical thinking is a key survival skill in our global, digital surround.
What I think really needs to be taught is critical thinking as a defensive skill. We all think logically, but we can be fooled. Inadvertently or maliciously. If I were to design a Critical Thinking course it would quickly cover the basic cognitive skills, and provide some exercises for students to get these muscles working, and would then focus entirely on learning to challenge intellectual deception.
Almost every interest group in the world is now on an information & marketing offensive. It’s what Seth Godin calls a Marketing War, and if every corporate, government and special interest group masters it, we had all better watch out. To fight this war, we now have a few new tools at our disposal to help us question assumptions, including our own.
Looking at several web tools from the perspective of critical thinking, and the processes described by Dave, shows something similar to a personal learning environment (PLE). You could call it a PLE with an attitude, and educators can start with the book, “Teaching Defiance“.