How to Encourage Higher Order Thinking Skills with Edtech
Higher order thinking is a critical skill that students need to learn before they venture out into the real world. In order to be successful outside of the classroom, students must learn to evaluate the information in front of them and solve problems creatively. Educators have a number of tools at their disposal to help students learn this all-important skill, but edtech might be able to play a pivotal role.
The right edtech programs and approaches can contribute to major growth in areas related to critical thinking. Here are a few of the most prominent ways educators are using technology to help their students learn to think.
Reflection and discussion prompts encourage students to consider multiple viewpoints.
Putting their ideas down on paper forces students to examine where their thoughts truly stem from. Some teachers might prefer to assign independent work and reflection prompts to give students a chance to reflect on their own progress in a particular area. Keeping a journal relating to classroom experiences in a Google Doc is one way to make sure that their ideas are recorded. At the end of each semester, you can review this document together to see where each student had the most significant gains.
Teachers who don’t mind moderating an online forum might set up discussion boards for their class. Require each student to post an answer to a question or debate topic. The Northwestern School of Professional Studies recommends requiring students to cite their sources in the reflections and discussion boards as a way to ensure they are using critical thinking on the topic at hand.
Develop your own podcast.
Most students need to practice their critical thinking and their public speaking skills, so why not bundle them both together? You can easily give students the tools they need to create their own podcast on a topic of your choosing. They have the freedom to present the material in whatever manner they choose, but they have to do all of the research on their own. This forces them to learn large volumes of information, script it into a format that suits them, and then record a finished product. It’s recommended to keep podcasts around three minutes.
Help them to organize their thoughts in mind maps.
Sometimes, your students might have an excellent grasp on higher order thinking skills, but they lack the ability to organize their thoughts. Seeing them all on paper can be very helpful. Many people prefer to use mind maps or other types of diagrams to see how their own thoughts flow into one another. Graphing their thoughts in diagrams can help students to see more relationships between ideas and to connect the concepts you are teaching them.
Edtech can help students to create their own mind maps and flowcharts in Google Docs with the Lucidchart Diagrams add-on. This makes it incredibly easy for students to digitize their thoughts and modify them as they learn more information.
Teaching higher order thinking skills should be a priority for every teacher because it can greatly influence their students’ long-term success. Edtech provides a variety of opportunities for educators to give students a chance to practice these skills. With the right edtech, teachers can greatly influence their students to imagine creative solutions to the problems that face them.