WE ARE IN an age of information. Look around and you will see people on their phones checking sports scores and stats while watching a game. People waiting for busses can access an entire library of books on a single tablet. Type in a Google search for critical thinking and in under a second, millions of results are at your fingertips (even more for creative thinking). When we include Wi-Fi and satellite signals, text messages, bluetooth, cell phone calls, radio waves and more, then we are literally living in an ocean of digital signals and information.
In this Information Age, thinking skills are definitely growing in importance. Before the advent of the internet, information was a valuable resource, especially if it was collected together into a single, well-educated person. Now, however, more information than anyone could use in several lifetimes is freely available—and not just at the public library. Now even ten-year-olds carry smart devices and can access the internet with a voice command.
What is now much more important for contemporary students is what they are able to do with all of this information. For example:
• Can they find reliable sources?
• Can they organize information into more complex forms?
• Can they synthesize multiple perspectives to create informed opinions?
• Can they reframe issues in order to generate new and innovative ideas?
• Will these new ideas have any value?
• Can they create innovative solutions to our current ecological or social problems?
• Can they work collaboratively with people from different cultures to think through unforeseen future problems and create practical solutions?
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