Project Tomorrow – CEO
BrainPOP - VP Learning & Innovation
Description: Let’s get digital with critical thinking. Using art, science and civics as the context, this workshop examines new digital content for developing and measuring critical thinking skill development. Participants need to bring in their own device.
Everyone from employers to educators are talking about the need for today’s students to develop effective critical thinking and problem solving skills - but few people know what that really looks like in a classroom or how to measure student competency in a meaningful way. In education, assessment is as old as time - to know if students are learning, we have to measure using a standardized tool to see what each student has learned. New demands for workplace skills coupled with innovative and adaptive learning content is changing the face of assessment. Employers are increasingly interested in understanding students’ proficiencies and competencies when faced with a need to exercise sound critical thinking and problem solving skills. This demand for competency in an area that has typically been outside of classroom instruction is forcing educators, parents and students to think differently about assessment especially in light of the new focus on student content production, not just consumption. To date measuring or evaluating student competencies in a skill area such as critical thinking has been a much more daunting task for the teacher than grading a quiz or editing an essay. This workshop is designed to take the conceptual understanding of critical thinking to a more practical reality. Grounded in several key research studies about employers’ expectations and educators’ challenges in this area (including the Speak Up National Research from Project Tomorrow) the workshop will use innovative digital content and games to demonstrate how students can effectively develop problem solving muscles, and how teachers can measure student competencies in those areas at the same time. Using the timely and relevant fields of arts expression, science exploration and civic responsibilities as the context, educators will learn about new ideas and personally test drive new tools and strategies for developing and measuring critical thinking skills with elementary and middle school students.