When facing quandaries of knowledge explosion, critical thinking matters

Both Michael Welsh and Pavan Arora stressed the importance of cultivating students’ critical thinking and argued that teachers should give priority to students’ problem-solving abilities while disseminating knowledge. The knowledge-ability proposed by Michael Wash probably reflects Aristotle’s Practical Wisdom.


“Aristotle believed that wisdom was not for theoretical debate but for practical application.”

In a modern society where science and technology are being updated so quickly and everything is full of variables, it is necessary for teachers to inspire and challenge students’ ability to determine which knowledge is best suited to solve the problem. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much up to date knowledge the child now reserves. The knowledge they acquired today may become obsolete or replaced by Artificial Intelligence in the near future, yet the ability to think accumulated during the learning process will not be outdated. What matters most for students is to keep being curious about the world, highly sensitive to new things, and willing to accept and learn new knowledge at any time.
As a teacher, I think what is important is to ask our students to illuminate the way of approaching a problem as well as how to draw the conclusion. This kind of investment does not necessarily show results in the short term, but it will benefit our students for life.

As Richard J. Light discovered that social interaction or learning plays a major part in achieving student education success— more significant than the specifics of teaching styles of their instructors— was their ability to form or participate in small study groups. Students who studied in teams were more interested in their studies, better prepared for school, and learned substantially more than students who worked alone.
In contrast to the traditional Cartesian view of knowledge and learning, John Seely Brown and Richard Adler believe, social networking extends the way of learning interaction or cooperative learning by leveraging the potential of social learning. The most effective way to nurture critical thinking is to allow students to study in groups where they actively participate in the teaching process and gradually form a thinking habit of critical thinking.

On the social network platform, like Quora, the answer is dynamic and multi-solution due to the contribution of participants in each topic.
On the following topic, “How can we use technology to create an effective alternative to the current system of higher education such that engagement and outcomes are closer to (or better than) what we see with traditional education?”

There exists a total of over 100 answers responding to this topic and grows. Thanks to the convenient interactive and modification functions, an answer can be updated and revised in time after communication. This is the limitation of books and papers. Social networks are much more efficient in knowledge transfer than traditional education models. For more questions unsolved or unproposed in the book, social networking is also a good start for research, as it gives everyone an equal voice to ask questions and answer questions.

Technology is shifting the way of acquiring the knowledge, and it inspires how we can harness the wisdom as well. Either Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Slack community, Twitter Hashtag, Padlet, or any other online social learning platform you prefer to use in your classroom all can meet the demands of group learning as well as enhance students’ critical thinking skills and strengthen independent thought. Individuals’ range of knowledge is limited or obsolete but they can be a treasure of the others in a group and vice versa.

Raising the awareness of safety and online privacy should be conveyed while encouraging students to leverage social networking. It is important for students to be aware that once they build their online profile, it not only serves the learning or entertainment but could be accessed by the 3rd party somewhere. When providing convenience, it may have a detrimental impact on their personal life.

Stay alert, you are being watched.