Academic Blogging: Developing Critical Thinking

 Fisher, 2001, Critical Thinking: An Introduction

 Fisher referred to Edward Glaser ‘s list that identified  a number of critical thinking abilities:

(Glaser, 2001, pg. 10).

 

  1. Identify reasons and conclusions
  2. Identify and evaluate assumptions
  3. Clarify and interpret expressions and ideas
  4. Judge acceptability and credibility of claims
  5. Evaluate arguments
  6. Analyze, evaluate and produce explanations
  7. Evaluate, analyze and make decisions
  8. Draw inferences
  9. Produce arguments

Fisher also identified a number of creative thinking abilities:

  1.  Think of alternate relevant considerations
  2. Look at issues from differing viewpoints
  3. Imagine alternative scenarios
  4. Active Questioning
  5. Drawing out potential implications

Implications for Edu-Blogging

Scaffolding:

Model Posts/Exemplars:  Carefully structured blog posts created by the instructor as examples to be emulated can effectively demonstrate critical thinking skills to learners.

 

Design Post Templates: Blog posts can embed the components of effective critical thinking, by providing text fields that guide student responses.

Blogging Activities: Integrated Processes

Meme Building: Students’ blog posts can be guided by a series of five or six guiding questions about a topic that the students themselves generate as part of their learning activity. Once they have identified their exploratory questions, they then seek others’ feedback, review others’ meme questions, and incorporate their feedback and the instructor’s suggestions into their new meme.

 

Meme-Propagation and Revision: Learners recognize that the ongoing give-and-take, the multiple iterations, the numerous drafts and revisions, are central to blogging. These activities are best modeled again by the instructor, in which a meme is drafted, then re-considered, changed, and a second/third draft is created based on new information/feedback. The instructor models the method by which the blogging tool can be used to capture the decision-making, the problem-solving and the weaving of others’ ideas into updates. In addition, the instructor models examples of how learners are permitted to engage in self-talk as often as needed. The memes are essentially tentative, and as such are intended to be revised, shared, and not considered a final product for evaluation, but part of an ongoing process of learning.

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