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In this paper, I describe a professional development approach and a conceptual framework used to create critically thoughtful and media-rich science learning resources. Greater clarity about the nature of critical thinking and how to support teachers in learning to implement it are needed if we are to respond to broader calls for critical thinking both as a central goal in science education and as a key aspect in the ecology of 21st Century e-learning environments.
The conceptual framework is a model of critical thinking developed by the Canadian Critical Thinking Consortium that involves embedding the teaching of five categories of intellectual tools into the teaching of curriculum content.
The professional development approach engages practicing teachers through focused inquiry groups in collaboration with rich media technicians to develop the e-critical challenges lessons. I explain The critical thinking consortium tc2 unique aspects of both the development process and the challenges in the context of a project involving twelve teachers in the creation of media-rich critical thinking lessons in science for Grade 7 students.
Although project assessment data analysis is currently underway, I offer several initial conclusions in relation to the four goals of the project. Critical thinking, science teaching, media-rich, professional development, one-on-one laptop, collaboration 1.
However, as Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman observes, conventional science classrooms from elementary school through to university are generally failing to provide most students with opportunities to think about and understand science.
He goes on to argue that carefully constructed e-learning opportunities can help with this dilemma. Speaking from the perspective of cognitive science, Willingham argues that teaching critical thinking is a means of improving scientific thinking while engaging more powerfully with the factual content.
Based on his work with several thousand Canadian and international teachers, Case takes the position that, rather than compete with the teaching of subject matter and other thinking skills, teaching critical thinking can support their development. These two features underpin the approach to teaching science and CT described below.
The literature suggests that rather than improving thoughtfulness, participation in e-learning often leads to confusion and loss of interest unless there are strategies designed to enhance CT opportunities MacKnight Those involved in the project described here believe that such simulations and other rich media combined with a sound method of teaching CT, can help teach critical thinking while also teaching content knowledge.
This approach differs from the normal one where teaching thinking is considered an add-on or enrichment activity. As Case and Willingham posit, it makes no sense to try to teach content without giving students opportunities to think about it and also makes no sense to try to teach CT devoid of content.
Following the narrative framing the project, I provide a description of the development process, explain the pedagogical framework including examples of teacher-developed lessons, outline our limited successes and problematic aspects of the development process and the e-challenges, and finally offer several concluding comments.
Central Okanagan is a small school district comprised of 29 elementary, 6 middle and 5 senior secondary school students enrolling approximately students. The district has invested heavily in various e-learning technologies. This understanding of professional development is widely viewed as having limited value in transforming practice Cranton and King, ; Fullan, ; Fullan, ; Wideen, This partnership led to the addition of the following fourth goal to the overarching i-Learn project: The e-based critical challenges lessons address the newly developed BC elementary science curriculum and are now available for general www.
The science curriculum is similar to that used in many other jurisdictions in Canada and elsewhere making the critical challenges useful for many teachers. The format of the critical challenges takes advantage of current Internet technology involving use of multimedia content including flash animations, simulations, and interactive media pieces to better engage students and support science concept development.
We expect that as teachers and individual students become comfortable using the critical challenges as intact lessons, they will begin to edit and re-author materials adding their ideas to improve and extend their science teaching and learning.
The development process The process was organized into three phases—knowledge and community building, curriculum development though inquiry and final revision phases—outlined below. During phase one, September 07 to March 08, tc2 provided face-to-face in-service for contracted teacher-writers and then met with smaller groups to help develop text-based outlines of the Science 7 critical challenges lessons.
Phase Two was a piloting and evaluation period from March 08 to June 08 involving 12 Grade 7 teachers elementary and middle school piloting and critiquing the e-based critical challenges.
Towards the end of this phase, I collected quantitative and qualitative feedback about technical i. During this phase the team collaborated to take account of feedback from the piloting teachers and to make revisions to the pedagogical and technical aspects of the challenges using standards set by tc2 Senior Editors, COOLSchool media developers and the following British Columbia Digital Learning Content Standards for Distributed Learning The four fronts The tc2 approach to critical thinking is founded on the belief that people are attempting to think critically when they thoughtfully seek to assess what would be sensible or reasonable to believe or do in a given situation.
This need to reach reasoned judgments may arise in countless kinds of problematic situations such as the following examples developed by teacher-writers. These situations require critical thinking because there is some doubt as to which is the most appropriate of several plausible responses and because these situations involve criterion thinking e.
The tc2 conception of critical thinking outlined in Figure 1 and described below, focuses teachers on four fronts to help students improve as thinkers: The four fronts Used with permission from tc2 4.Critical Thinking Task Cards-These 30 task cards are great for building critical These 30 critical thinking task cards build critical thinking skills and come with a printable box too!
The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2) Primary Source Docs - Aboriginal history *Daily life for the Haida pre- and post-contact (in development. Click Here to Access TC2 Resources Access free resources for critical inquiry!
Our district is now a Partner with The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC 2), a non-profit association that promotes critical thinking in primary to post-secondary classrooms through professional learning, resource development and .
She received her Ph.D. from the Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology program at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include the use of think aloud protocols for validation of assessments of complex thinking, policy-related issues in education, and cross-cultural and cross-lingual assessment.
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After considering the degree to which each conception meets the criteria developed for the “most adaptable” conception of CT, I conclude that the Critical Thinking Consortium’s (TC²) conception is .
1. New waves discovered Longitudinal EM energy fills vacuum of space, the time domain of spacetime, time as compressed energy, E=tc2, waves of time, phase conjugate wave pairs.