According to the University of Western Sydney, critical thinking is a lifelong learning process which enables a person to think outside the box and which can lead to the development of judgment, evaluation and problem solving abilities. The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines analysis to be the careful study of something in order to learn about parts, what they do and how they are related to each other. It is crucial for students to build upon this critical thinking skill and this can be done very effectively with the use of web 2.0 ICT tools in the classroom while performing different learning activities.
It is important to build and develop a person’s analytical thinking so that he can succeed in many areas of his life in regards to making sound judgments and good decisions. According to Tsalapatas, Heidmann, Alimisi, Tsalapatas, Florou, and Houstis (n.d.), the analytical thinking skill functions to aid the individual in achieving excellence in professional, personal, civic and social fields of his life. Tsalapatas et. al (n.d.) also explained that when individuals engage in activities which involve analytical thinking at an early stage, those individuals can become future citizens who can adequately evaluate alternatives and make sound decisions.
In the grade two classrooms, for example, a teacher can utilize ICT at this early stage to help foster analytical thinking by allowing students to engage in the use of web 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis in their learning activities. For example, she can use wikis so that students can engage in collaborative authoring (Parker and Chao, 2007 as cited in Keairns, 2006) as they post their work on the site, allowing comments from other members. In doing so, individuals can have the opportunity to analyse others’ work by comparing the similarities and differences of what was posted to initial postings, which can result in students having to perform new research to formulate and produce alternative conclusions.
Blogs can also be used to encourage analytical thinking by providing students the opportunity to write a journal of their thoughts on subject areas, permitting them to reflect and carefully analyse those thoughts as well as analyse comments made by other individuals. Richardson (2010) stated that the use of blogs helps students to learn how to read more critically and think about what they read more analytically, consequently resulting in more clear writing.
Definition of Analysis. Retrieved from The Merriam Webster dictionary online at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/analysis
Develop Your Skills in Critical Thinking and Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.uws.edu.au/hall/hall/critical_thinking
Parker, K. R., & Chao, J. T. (2007). Wiki as a Teaching Tool.Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects,3. Retrieved from http://technostrategies4literacy.pbworks.com/f/Using+a+Wiki+as+a+teaching+tool.pdf
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms. 3rd ed: Sage.
Tsalapatas, H., Heidmann, O., Alimisi, R., Tsalapatas, S., Florou, C., and Houstis, E. (n.d.) Visual Programming towards the Development of Early Analytical and Critical Thinking. Retrieved from:http://conference.pixelonline.net/edu_future/common/download/Paper_pdf/LGA06Tsalapatas,Tsalapatas,Heidmann,Alimisi,Florou.pdf