July 2012

Educational Technology, Metacognition and “Thinking Fast and Slow” book by Daniel Kahneman

I just finished teaching¬† my summer course “Teaching Mathematics and Science Through Technologies”. It was one of the best course I have ever taught – thanks to an amazing group of students who decided to enroll in the course. It was three weeks of daily 3 hour long meetings that gave us an opportunity to get to know each other. Right before the beginning of the course I happen to read the book by Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow and I kept thinking about it during the course. Now I keep thinking how educational technologies can help us develop critical thinking abilities in our students in the context of mathematics and science. As Kahneman described, our intuition is often wrong (not just in the case of mathematics and science), but in everyday life as well. However, in the context of math and science teaching and learning, we often have the means to test our intuition, while in everyday life we often don’t… I remember reading another book last summer, called “Superfreakonomics” that also shows how often our intuition is wrong… Both books make you think. The challenge to me, as a science educator, now is to think how we can use the newly available technological tools to help our students become critical thinkers and learn to think slow rather than fast. I think developing metacognitive strategies is crucial here and this is where teachers can help. Technologies has endless possibilities but in order to utilize them we need teachers and educators who will make these possibilities explored and utilized. This is a reason behind a project we have been working on: Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning through Technologies database… I will write more about it later.

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