Critical Thinking in Higher Education: How to foster it using Digital Media

Chapter

Abstract

Critical thinking (CT) is an integral part of education, notably in higher education. In times of misinformation, oversimplified answers to complex problems and populist agitators, critical thinking remains a vital skill, necessary to differentiate accurate information from manipulation. Although students should learn how to use digital media critically to not fall prey to false information, hasty actions or to the dominance of the smart devices, digital technologies can also be very supportive to foster critical thinking. Therefore, they must be imbedded discreetly in teaching and learning environments in a way that they become supportive for the different activities of the critical thinking process.

In this paper, we would like to unroll some ideas indicating how this could be done in higher education contexts. Fostering critical thinking demands quite a lot from teachers and students. Students, for example, must conceptualize and exercise different thinking modes, jettison dear beliefs and create new and substantial ways of thinking and acting. Teachers however need to get a very clear idea of what critical thinking means in their field. They must be able to model critical thinking, its criteria or strategies. Furthermore, they need to know and apply different instructional strategies that are helpful to bring students into the different activities of critical thinking.

To broaden the perspective on concepts, we will discuss different definitions and traditions of critical thinking and offer a synthesis. In the next step, we will examine process-models of critical thinking and introduce educational strategies and design-principles. A further chapter is dedicated to digital media and critical thinking. We will have a focus on why students should critically think about media. From there, we will go back to general strategies and design principles for fostering CT and show how digital media could be practically used in accordance with these principles.

Keywords

Fostering critical thinking in higher education Concepts of critical thinking Using digital media for critical thinking 

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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Higher EducationFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)FuerthGermany

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