Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

"Which information literacy do we need?" asks Michael Caulfield. "Do we need more RADCAB? Do we need more CRAAP?" We can certainly agree that critical thinking has to go beyond simplistic five-step rubrics. But here Caulfield steers off a cliff. We need to know the background, he argues, in order to differentiate between legitimate news and conspiracy theorists. "Abstract skills aren't enough," he maintains. For example, "When I saw that big 'W' circled in that red field of a flag, for instance, my Nazi alarm bells went off." He explains, "My point is that recognizing any one of these things as an indicator — FEMA, related sites, gold seizures, typography — would have allowed students to approach this site with a starting hypothesis." Well, yes. But how do students learn which indicators to recognize? By being told? We know that this is a non-starter. No, they need to learn deep and authentic critical thinking skills. More: my essay On Teaching Critical Thinking.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 25, 2023 12:50 p.m.

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