Sunday, April 17, 2011

using mobile learning to stimulate critical thinking

The mobile Phone 1974 by catmachine
I am a little behind the eight ball with my responses to the discussions, so you are forgiven if this topic is well forgotten. I was intrigued to read about the M4Lit project where phones are being used to engage teens in creative storytelling and interactive writing. Sabine has responded on the group email with a great post discussing the merits of reading and writing for stimulating critical thinking. " ... reading and writing is the most important, and most efficient way to develop critical thinking".  Here I am using material from my Doctorate thesis (in progress) to support this claim.  For example, Menary (2007) claims “writing is thinking” (p. 361) because writing helps to re-structure and manipulate a person's thoughts.  

However, there is also the belief that guided thinking needs to occur before writing reflectively and critically, using dialogue for stimulating critical thinking. In any case, I believe it is important to develop critical thinking skills, but these may or may not be associated with the capacity to write reflectively and critically.  If a tool such as a mobile phone can capture the interest of students to engage in activities which stimulate critical thinking this is a good thing.  I don't believe we should despair if reading and writing is not a component, because critical thinking can also occur when viewing multimedia, and engaging in conversations - if the right prompts are in place. There is plenty of evidence that guided reflection can stimulate critical reflection (Fook & Gardner, 2007; Reiman, 1999).  In my opinion, we need to move away from reading and writing as the only way to see evidence of critical thinking, and embrace other exciting methods of stimulating evidence of critical thinking. 

It may well include writing, but for example, if students uploaded images to Flickr, or Youtube or their blog or ePortfolio etc, and using quiding questions were encouraged to reflect critically on the meaning of the images or video sequence, they could write or speak (through using an audio recording) or video to describe the meaning of the image or video, or other material, wouldn't this be more fun than preparing the traditional essay? All this could be done directly from their mobile phone.

Fook, J., & Gardner, F. (2007). Practising critical reflection. A resource handbook. New York: Open University Press.
Menary, R. (2007). Writing as thinking. Language Sciences, 29, 621–632.
Reiman, A. (1999). The evolution of the social role taking and guided reflection framework in teacher education: Recent theory and quantitative synthesis of research. Teaching and Teacher Education 15 (1999) 15, 597-612.

 

1 comment:

Ignatia/Inge de Waard said...

Nice idea to link critical thinking to different media. I like such ideas so I am all to happy to share the ideas that come into my mind as I read your blog (is sharing immediately critical thinking?). The main thread through all critical thinking seems to be dialogue and as such I feel that any medium which allows dialogue to occur will result in critical thinking. But what I am wondering about is whether non-written media also allows for longterm critical thinking? (mmm, I fear that I am thinking old school now, but still).