When it comes to critical thinking, problem-solving, inquiry learning and higher-order thinking there is much that can be facilitated by technology. First, however, what are the common threads between the models that cover these concepts.
It can be observed in each of these models that there is somewhat of a cycle and a hierarchy to each. Analysis, inference and evaluation are key aspects of each model, as is reflection and observation. Each model highlights the need for multiple skills in a range of areas and I do believe that technology support these. Over the years there has been numerous examples of Blooms taxonomy that have outlined the technology tools and apps appropriate for facilitating critical thinking and problem solving at each level. The example below shows some of the great online tools that support higher-order thinking.
When I have designed project- or problem-based learning programs, I have always make good use of technology affordances. PBL is student-centred and student-driven and they are required to find and discover the bulk of information and answers for themselves, and to produce an end product that is a culmination of that learning. This is more and more effective with the integration of technology for productivity and organisation, as well as for information and creative reasons. The inquiry process is a little different (see below), however, inquiry learning is still very much about problems and finding a solution. Technology such as Google apps, is always going to be valuable in such activities and units of work.
The BEST method I think I could and have ever used to get my students to think more critically is to answer their questions with a question, and make them think more. Like leading a horse to water, as the saying goes, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as the information provider and remember that we are a facilitator who should show the way and then help them to discover new and exciting things as they go. I wish I could get my students to think for themselves all the time and not expect answers and all knowledge to come from others, they have so much more information at their fingertips than we ever had as students but they don’t know it because they can’t find it. Therein lies another problem of itself.
Cothink.com,. (2013). CoThink – Facilitators & consultants – CoThink. Retrieved 22 March 2015, from http://www.cothink.com/ratio-approach
Criticalthinking.org,. (2015). 2008 Preconference Sessions (28th Intl. Conference. Retrieved 22 March 2015, from http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/preconference-sessions/631
Higherorderthinkingskills1358fst.blogspot.com.au,. (2011). H.O.T.S: April 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2015, from http://higherorderthinkingskills1358fst.blogspot.com.au/2011_04_01_archive.html
Socstudmethods.wikispaces.com,. (2015). SocStudMethods – Stripling Model of Inquiry. Retrieved 22 March 2015, from http://socstudmethods.wikispaces.com/Stripling+Model+of+Inquiry