Critical Thinking

Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

Critical Thinking

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Friday is not the day to talk about thinking. I think a lot of people in general and students in particular are looking to stop thinking right about now. But critical thinking skills are something I feel is really important so when I learned today that Microsoft has a bunch of resources for teaching critical thinking including a free e-book it seemed worth a blog post of its own. (Note that this is only the latest of a series of Teacher Guides for use in the classroom from Microsoft Education)

[Microsoft] developed this critical thinking and web research curriculum with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Lesson plans include prerequisites, rationale, essential concepts, and descriptions of related National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) and are designed for beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels, aimed at middle school and secondary students.

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Students have more information at their fingertips than ever before, yet the challenge remains for them to find, evaluate, and apply the information they discover in the classroom and beyond.

Applying critical thinking skills through web research can help students:

  • Improve search skills.
  • Evaluate the information they find.
  • Incorporate them in their work.

Explore the ready-to-use curriculum below, including detailed lesson plans, student worksheets, and class demonstrations on:

  • Mechanics of searching
  • Validity and reliability
  • Plagiarism
  • Citing web sources
  • Civil discourse

Download the Critical Thinking e-book



  • You are so right!  I hope teachers use these tools.  Therein lies a major problem, lots of resources for little time to learn and apply them.

    What about elementary school? My 3 years in elementary and 25 year in high school tell me we must start there to build the foundation for critical thinking.  

    What about computer science and programming?  Bill Gates got his start there. It is a tool that can be used by teachers that is easy to check success in applying skills.

  • We do need to start showing kids computer science earlier. Bill Gates started in middle school and while that was only an option for the rich back then it needs to be an option for everyone today.

  • How many elementary teachers are qualfied to teach CS/Programming?  Does anyone know of an Elementary Ed program at any university that includes a CS methods course?  (No, business apps does not count as CS.)

  • The lack not only of trained CS teachers but a lack of programs to train them is a huge stumbling block. It's a Catch 22  problem in some respects. No certification program for such teachers because there is not training program and no training program because there is no certification that requires it.

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