One of the many challenges Teachers have, is to teach students the skills they need to effective deal with the vast amounts of information that technology allows them to access. Such skills can be based around ‘Critical Thinking’ . This involves students developing the following abilities.
- Recognize problems.
- Find workable means to meet those problems.
- Gather and marshal pertinent information.
- Recognize unstated assumptions and values.
- Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discrimination.
- Interpret data.
- Appraise evidence and evaluate statements.
- Recognize logical connections between statements.
- Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations.
- Test the conclusions and generalizations arrived at.
A free downloadable resource from the Bing team called ‘Developing Critical Thinking Through Web Research Skills’ describes how these skills relate to search and research activities. This e-book provides an excellent guide on how to develop a curriculum for searching and researching using the internet. With the translation of the critical thinking skills into practical examples. Like in the area of Searching efficiently and effectively – Students have to learn the basics of web processes and architecture, including:
- Key Internet terms, such as spam, malware, noise, advertorial, pay-per-post, crowd sourcing.
- How search engines find websites—the basics of crawling and indexing.
- What “the 10 blue links” are.
- What sponsored (paid) links are and how they work alongside unpaid links.
- How search engines (Bing, Yahoo!, and Google) make money from results.
- How websites market themselves in search engine results.
- How to parse a link/URL and what domain names mean.
- How to read a webpage.
- How to overcome researcher bias by learning to look beyond one’s familiar and comfortable sources and to listen to different voices, perspectives, and opinions
When this sort of confusing advice is given by an examination body , a simple keyword search is not enough and will not solve the issues raised. Critical thinking skills are what we need to be developing with our students, the clue is in the title, they are critical.
How are your students searching the web, what skills are you developing? Let us know.