Chromebooks teaching critical thinking skills

“The Chromebooks are just a tool to help us address critical thinking – the project is not about technology"

Students at Clearwater Secondary School use Chromebooks to learn critical thinking skills. The devices are examples of 'thin clients' that use servers on the Internet to do most of their computations

Students at Clearwater Secondary School use Chromebooks to learn critical thinking skills. The devices are examples of 'thin clients' that use servers on the Internet to do most of their computations

Clearwater Secondary School is getting $9,500 from School District 73 for a critical thinking project.

The money will be used to purchase a class set of Chromebooks, accordig to principal Darren Coates.

“The Chromebooks are just a tool to help us address critical thinking – the project is not about technology,” he said.

In the traditional model of socials/humanities instruction, which parents likely experienced, students read the text book, watched the video, and gave the teacher back the “correct” answer to the question.

“What is also important now is teaching kids to engage with content in a critical way,” the principal said.

“In a nutshell, the project is to teach students the skills they need to operate in today’s world,” said teacher Sylvain Menard.

“The critical thinking aspect of it is only one of several objectives aiming at facilitating the implementation of the new BC curriculum,” Menard added. “In the age of the Internet, where an unlimited amount of information is available online, students need to develop the ability to critically analyze that information in order to determine whether it is valid or not.”

The teacher explained that, in parallel to the first objective of critical thinking, students also need to learn the necessary skills to communicate with today’s powerful new digital platforms. While the basics of structuring ideas remain the same, the ways in which we can present and publish them are growing at an ever increasing speed.

“Writing emails, creating website, and using digital images and video are how people exchange information today, so we want our students to learn how to use the tools that all of us in ‘the real world’ are using,” the teacher said.

Menard said that the third goal is to make it possible for teachers to diversify their instruction by allowing students to access content that is more suited to their needs, abilities, interests, and context. This represents a move away from standardized instruction, where one size has to fit all.

“As opposed to textbooks, where the information is the same for everyone, the Chromebooks will allow us to adapt and diversify content as needed,” he said.

The grant from the school district will give the school an early start in implementing an educational model that is better adapted to today’s world.

“As the technology gets more reliable and cheaper, we can no longer afford not to adopt it,” Menard said.

 

“For a few years now, we have been exploring and experimenting with various technologies in order to adapt to the realities of the 21st Century. The acquisition of a class set of Chromebooks is a breakthrough as it signifies a step from exploration to implementation,” he said.