Algerian Educators

Critical Thinking and Technology

 

Our middle and high schools are equipped with 1-2 computer labs. In each computer lab, there are 16-20 computers which are used by students once a week to study word-processing, excel, power point etc... . So, technology is just a specific subject matter and not an integral part of all subjects to enhance learning.

Teachers, on the other hand, overwhelmed by covering the teaching material, testing and grading students may not see the importance of integrating technology in the classroom. They may also work in a school where the headteacher neither understands nor encourages the use of technology (when it is available).

As a supervisor, I always encourage teachers to 'just try it' approach with the idea of teaching the curriculum not technology provided they had enough expertise with the software, hardware as well as comfort and confidence with technology.

Recently, I have attended a project-based learning activity where a teacher of English encouraged her students to bring their own laptops since the school's computers are either outdated, infected or simply out of use. She 

a) 'celebrated' technology (laptops) students brought and used them as learning tools

b) showed the learning possibilities and turned their usual distractions  into learning opportunities that will reach far outside the classroom

c) helped them help themselves by giving them responsibility to learn from each other through collaboration as the activity emphasizes collaboration and sharing resources. It also focuses on reading the PBL collected data critically, listening to each other critically and reasoning dialogically.

I was impressed by the teacher's approach; she managed to have the whole class involved during their free time and unlocked their motivation and engagement. Technology, for her, is the golden key to their intrinsic motivation, ' People develop intrinsic interest that guides their quest for knowledge...' (Critical Thing and Technology by Ken Bain) 

 

I felt satisfaction when I saw both teacher and students working in a relaxing atmosphere using technology for learning. The affective focus was not only on  developing intellectual humility and suspending judgment but also on developing intellectual good faith and integrity. The cognitve focus, on the other hand, was clearly on making interdisciplinary connections (as the students' projects refer to history, geography, cooking...),  

Then, within the activity, the teacher delegated 'computer training' to two students. In other words, knowing their varying technical skills, she simply shifted some responsibilities to these two students, for example, they showed their classmates how to look for pictures in the Net, how to download videos from youtube, how to insert pictures/ videos in a PPT, how to trim a video ... To my surprise, students understood and managed to apply the instructions given to them in a very short span of time.


At the end of the session where both teacher and students made good use of technology, they planned another session to review and assess their work, to redesign it and be ready for the presentation in front of an audience composed of students, teachers, administrators and parents. I promised to be there.

The different constraints of technology pushed these committed teacher and students to go further, working during their free time with their own laptops to ensure real learning with the use of technology including phones and tablets.' Technology helps us foster the accomplishment of the highest learning objective we have in our students: the ability to think critically and creatively, to reason, to use our disciplinary  approaches to information, to learn and to want to learn independently of any informal instruction, and to work collaboratively in solving important problems.' (Critical Thinking and Technology by Ken Bain)

 

Mustapha Louznadji

Inspector of National Education

& [email protected] Webfounder 

P.S: You can read more about this activity here......

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