Critical Thinking + Computational Thinking + Sketchnoting

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In a recent post on my class website, I asked the question, “Sketchnoting & Critical Thinking… What are They, & How do They Connect?“.  Students who responded to this task really helped me understand the deep connections that I hadn’t anticipated.  *I had guessed there might be connections, but I wasn’t sure, so this activity was a bit of an inquiry…! 

Our school is trying to use critical thinking activities to help students who need help with literacy, but I hadn’t realized the benefits of critical thinking until we began our explorations.  Honestly, this is new learning for me, so my students and I are figuring this out together.

To add to this thinking (or wondering), last week I took part in a day dedicated to learning about computational thinking.  We explored Scratch, Sphero, and Python with the help and guidance of Lisa Anne Floyd, our facilitator for the day (it’s so great to meet a new friend whose thinking you admire). *a special thanks to Stacey Wallwin, who arranged our day!

In each of our tasks, we not only learned new skills, but were challenged to think differently; everything we did needed to be carefully considered and analyzed (especially when something unexpected happened).

How can critical and computational thinking help students in all of their classes?  

Is it enough to be aware of these forms of thinking?  How do we embed this kind of thinking into daily activities, to encourage better learning in our classrooms?

What I appreciate most about this kind of thinking is the need to slow down.  

In both critical and computational thinking, I am forced to focus; each step needs to be calculated with care.  This is also how I work as an artist and what allows me to get lost in the process; a love for the beauty of contemplation.

My friend Katherine Douglas recently shared something she wrote a while ago, but that connects to these ideas: …in the world today “information” is easily available everywhere.  The teacher as a conveyor of information has become relatively unimportant — what the teacher offers is who he/she is as a learner, artist, thinker, connector — that is what students will or will not absorb.”

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7 Responses to Critical Thinking + Computational Thinking + Sketchnoting

  1. Ebony says:

    I feel like knowing that the teacher is learning is good because then we all feel equal and not like we are learning for no reason. I also like critical thinking part because then it take our time to do a assignment. It is like cook for me. And we can do assignments that help with critical thinking in every class.

  2. Hannah says:

    I think this is really cool and its has an interesting concept.

  3. Eric says:

    I’d personally rather have teachers knowing what the students are working on and get a firm grasp on the material, so they can not only relate to the possible struggles but also embrace what they understand and give the student a clear path to success

  4. Liam Duncan says:

    Critical thinking is a crucial part of the artistic process. Someone cannot create anything without thinking it though multiple ways on how proceed with it, the best way for the best results.Anyone and everyone should think steps through before committing. Personally I think through different angles and settings for certain situations before trying it out and if it doesn’t work I try another way until I’m happy with the results, but I plan before acting.

  5. lisamnoble says:

    I would echo Liam’s ideas, as well as making the connections to using this thinking no matter what you’re doing – science experiment, building a model, writing a story, working out a math problem -,what is the plan is a big question to ask! What am I trying to do?

    This all kind of smacked me in the head last week when my students had their first chance to explore coding using the classic maze tutorial on code.org – they were constantly revising, constantly rethinking, constantly going back and trying again – what worked best? There was amazing buzz in the room. Then, in the afternoon, they tried a pre-assessment for math. Part of the process was to figure out what the question was asking and think about a plan. I saw very little of the resilience and creative problem solving that had been present in the morning….and I have to figure out a way to help my students transfer those skills.

  6. Maya Thompson says:

    I think its great that teachers are trying to learn new skills, and evolve with their students; instead of just teaching in the same old way for forever. I think its really admirable to try to better understand what students are learning; and I feel that knowing that a teacher is trying to learn and challenge themselves makes students feel as though their teachers better understand who they’re students feel.

  7. Great blog post! I believe critical thinking is a key component to the process of creativity in everything from designing to building a wooden table to designing and creating a movie poster. I think it’s a process we can benefit from practicing more.

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