Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ISTE 2010: Howard Rheingold on Critical Thinking and Networked Life

In session listening to Howard Rheingold. He's been talking about critical thinking, multitasking, identity, and network awareness.

On the issue of multitasking and self-awareness, Howard stresses getting students to think critically about the way they interact with technology and knowledge: "I am trying to establish the beginnings of some mindfulness." I like the way Howard uses a discussion of social technology to advocate for engagement and empowerment; he's got such a touch for understanding that the Net -- especially for kids -- is a public forum for exploring identity. The important thing is to be able to think critically about how the content distributed across the Net relates to that exploration of identity and to be aware of the "self" on the Net.

That's why it's so crucial to letting kids access the real Web in school; because anything less than authentic media in the classroom undermines the authenticity of the teaching and learning in a media-rich environment, or as Howard says: "Having a filtered version of the Web in your school is like teaching them to drive by watching a slideshow."

An interesting idea developed during the Q&A session. Basically an analogy was made between teaching media literacy and teaching sex ed. And Howard's take was that in both cases, what we're really teaching kids is how to make good choices. That should be the baseline goal of all instruction and conversation in and of digital literacies.

Check out the new Critical Thinking Wiki that Howard has started and share ideas related to "effective living"  in the networked world as you see it.


  1. Thanks for your synthesis of Rheingold's talk, Shelly. I definitely thought he made some good points and thinks about how the internet can push teachers to get students to authentically think about research and info-vetting.

    I also attended the session and took very verbose notes. If you're interested, they can be found here:



  2. nice summary Shelly. thank you.

    i liked these two comments as well:

    young students are shifting values from parents to peers - they now have a better way to do this in public.

    the ability to learn without a teacher has been magnified - and facilitating that is now key.


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