Intentional Integration of Critical Thinking Instruction and Technology
Critical thinking instruction and the utilization of technology to support learning were purposefully integrated into an undergraduate course to gain understanding of instructional approaches beneficial to student learning and development of critical thinking. The ability to critically think and to gain efficiency and proficiency with the use of information and communication technology has been deemed of importance for students upon graduation and a necessity for employment in today’s work environment (Roschelle, Bakia, Toyama, & Patton, 2011). Consequently, formal instruction in critical thinking and integration of technology into education has been emphasized, denoting their importance for institutions, educators and graduating professionals (Chan, 2013; Kim, Kim, Lee, Spector, & DeMeester, 2013). The course was thus designed to include in-class and online technology-enhanced learning, using a classroom response system, Top Hat, and an online discussion forum on Desire2Learn, to facilitate the development of critical thinking. A classroom response system has potential to engage students in active learning and in eliciting immediate feedback to ascertain student understanding, application of knowledge learned, and critical thinking capability (Dallaire, 2011; Mincer, 2013; Trew & Nelsen, 2011). The online discussion forum provides students with time for absorption and reflection of course information and can contribute to more profound learning, realizing the achievement of critical thinking (Garrison, 2011; Lai, 2012; Lee & Baek, 2012). Instructor and students were asked to share their perspectives of the impact of the specific inclusion of critical thinking instruction and the types of questions and responses utilized in the course to provide information to further future instruction.