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.”