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Thinking Digitally – A New Habit Of Mind?

05 Nov

Thinking Digitally HOM logoI have been thinking recently about how to best meld together a focus on Thinking Skills and ICT integration in my teaching practice. The school where I teach has strategic initiatives both on the importance of Thinking Skills in the curriculum, and on ICT integration. And yet the two strands are usually dealt with separately. I would like to believe that our use of technology is intended to help us become more effective thinkers and problem solvers. Indeed the idea that ICTs will help deliver better critical thinking has often been advanced. And yet, unless we consciously work at ways to make this happen, technology seems far more likely to lead to a dumbing down of our culture. Share if you like, if you know what I mean!?

My school chose to use Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick’s Habits Of Mind to frame our Thinking Skills policy. These Habits Of Mind describe the habits and dispositions of successful thinkers and problem solvers, and provide a focus for developing strategies to teach effective thinking. There are sixteen HOMs which have been described, but I believe it is important to add a seventeenth – Thinking Digitally.

Thinking Digitally describes the disposition of successful people to use the digital tools at their disposal to expand their thinking and solve problems effectively. I believe it goes sufficiently beyond the other sixteen habits to warrant a niche of its own. It finds support, I believe in the newer learning theories of situated cognition and connectivism, and is important to isolate as a concern in Cognitive Education because we need to think consciously about how we teach students to use the new digital technologies effectively as learning tools

Beyond wearable technology, we are told by those with crystal balls, lies a future in which devices will be embedded in us. Already we seem surgically conjoined to our devices so this does not seem too fanciful a notion. Clearly we need to think seriously about what cognitive skills we want to impart to our students to help them cope with this. The cost of not doing so is unthinkable.

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