Critical thinking

Presentations (click on the marked titles for more details)

Friction: Teaching Slow Thinking and Intentionality in Research (with Debbie Abilock)

Most online research is fast, intuitive, and emotional but, at key points, slower, more deliberative and logical thinking is possible. We’ll identify what we call “points of friction”– opportunities for teaching at key decision-making moments — where we can learn expert strategies and develop thinking routines. This hands-on session walks through typical research scenarios, exploring how to design learning for students, especially those engaged in longer, deeper research projects such as capstone, senior projects, extended essays and similar, and provide professional development that cultivates intentionality in online research. Wifi-enabled device recommended.
(One day pre-conference workshop, preceding the 7th triennial ECIS librarians’ workshop, Waterloo, Belgium, 2014).

Let us do your thinking for you...? Staying aware in the digital world

Let us do your thinking for you…

From the Microsoft paper-clip (“it looks like you re writing a letter…”) to personalised search results, technology has tried to make life easier for us, it wants to think for us. But as Ira Winn put it, “The opposite of critical thinking is uncritical thinking.” When we stop thinking, we open ourselves to scams and fraudsters. Hype and spin become the new truth – and everyone’s an expert.

Young people need evaluation skills in a participatory digital world. But if it is taught at all, source evaluation and critical thinking are often presented in a vacuum of artificial situations and hoax web sites which are divorced from our everyday experience or the school curricula. In the “real” world, students (and teachers) ditch our checklists and forget our mini-lessons in the dizzying stew of click-and-go wikified information. In this workshop, participants will be looking at, discussing, and doing a number of different activities which can be used in lessons on evaluation and critical-thinking.

This workshop was given at the ECIS November Conference in Amsterdam, 2013

Think for yourself! 'Double-think', 'Non-Think,' and the importance of critical thinking.

“I had thought the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less” (David Brooks, NYT).

True or false? Good or bad? Especially as, more and more, the information we receive has been pre-selected or filtered in ways we may be unaware?

In this interactive workshop, participants will investigate issues and implications, and discuss how we can use critical thinking to raise the awareness of ourselves and our students.

This workshop was given at the ECIS November Conference in Nice, 2012.
An updated version was presented at the Nordic Network Conference, April 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Social Wisdom, Social Ignorance: Critical Thinking and Evaluation in the Age of the Celebrated Crowd (with Debbie Abilock)

‘The opposite of critical thinking is uncritical thinking’ (Ira Winn). When we stop thinking, we open ourselves to scams and fraudsters. Hype and spin become the new truth – and everyone’s an expert.

Young people need evaluation skills in a participatory digital world. Well-publicized examples of “everyone” as authorities, doctored data and journalistic fabrications remind us that “truth” is complicated. But if it’s taught at all, source evaluation and critical thinking are often presented in a vacuum of artificial situations and hoax web sites which are divorced from our everyday experience or the school curricula. Yet, in their “real” world, students (and teachers) ditch our checklists and forget our mini-lessons in the dizzying stew of click-and-go wikified information. In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll be looking at, discussing, and doing a host of different activities which can be used in lessons on evaluation and critical-thinking. Don’t stop thinking!”

This workshop was presented at the 6th Triennial ECIS Librarians Conference in Istanbul in May 2011.

Wikipedia or perish : the pros and the cons of 'the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit'.

Wikipedia is extremely popular with students, but it is dismissed by many teachers. Is it a case of getting what you pay for? Can Wikipedia and its spin-offs be relied upon? We look at how Wikipedia has evolved over the years, see why Wikipedia is controversial, and discuss how Wikipedia can be used to inform knowledge and research activities.
This was first presented at the ECIS November Conference, 2007.

Information 'satisfiction' : how searchers really search (and how to help them search better).

Research reveals paradoxes; for instance, even though most searchers know they should not trust everything they find on the internet, most still accept the first hit they look at, with no attempt to verify findings. Something, anything, “satisfices”.
Presented at the Autumn Teachers’ Conference 2005, and later at the ECIS Conference in The Hague, November 2005.

From literacy to information literacy: reading for understanding in the real world.

This presentation/ workshop ties together research in reading, critical thinking, and web site evaluation, and provides examples of real-life situations which can be used to show the necessity of critical thinking and constant alertness.
This has seen several incarnations. First presented as a paper at the IASL/ SLA Conference, and re-presented at the IB AEM Workshops in Geneva 2004, it has also been presented as a 45 minute lecture (ECIS November Conference, Nice, 2004, and the ECIS Librarians’ Conference, Prague, 2005), a 60 minute mini-workshop (NESA Teachers’ Conference, Istanbul, 2005) and as a full-blown 105 minute workshop (I.B. Day, Istanbul, 2005).

Information Technology, Information Literacy, and the International Baccalaureate.

The role of libraries and librarians in the information age.
Presented at the Headmasters and Coordinators Conference : IB Diploma – A Preparation for Life, Liverpool, October 30 – November 1, 1998.

More than surviving - thriving in the information age : reading as a basis for using information technology efficiently.

Reading and basic literacy are vital survival skills. They are essential for dealing with information overload, without them, nothing!
Presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, Ramat-Gan, Israel, July 5 – 9, 1998.

My other presentations and workshops:

academic honesty
Critical thinking
extended research essay
technology, effects and issues
search and research
reading, literacy and information literacy
the portfolio