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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Applying Critical Thinking in Teaching

General Teaching Methods for Applying and Promoting Critical Thinking Skills
Developing critical thinking skills is a process, not an event. Use the following suggestions to guide students through the critical thinking process. These suggestions are designed to increase the depth of discussions and lead to a greater understanding of materials while improving critical thinking skills.
  • Ask direct questions to guide discussions and learning. This method effectively stimulates student thought and alerts students to areas they may not understand. This technique frequently generates additional discussion, especially in an online environment.

  • Socratic questioning asks questions designed to make students think in deeper terms. These questions tend to be open and inviting in response. You might ask: “What do you mean when you say this?” “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” or “What evidence supports that statement?”

  • Focus questions are designed to recapture the original question’s meaning, which might be obscured during discussions. To return to the original focus, consider questions such as: “What is the question you are trying to answer?” “Is this a historical, scientific, ethical, or political question?” or “What important questions are embedded in this issue?”

  • Encourage team collaboration, which plays a vital role in developing critical thought. This opportunity fosters the exchange of feedback as students evaluate others’ work.

  • Identify concept application when possible. Understanding how to apply knowledge helps students value the learning experience and aids in learning transfer.

  • The role of language in critical thinking is an integral part of the process. Help students explore language by defining terminology related to key concepts early, present alternative terms, encourage paraphrasing, ask students to summarize others’ views, and question the use of specific terms, words, or phrases.

  • Encourage independent thinking by posing open questions; organizing debates; presenting alternate problem-solving methods; having students compare and contrast views with the facilitator, author, and other students; and asking students to provide additional information, perspectives, or opposing views.

  • Be a model of qualities and skills that are promoted to students. Take opportunities to model skilled thinking, intellectual humility, perseverance, autonomy, integrity, and fair-mindedness. Additionally, provide feedback on students’ reasoning processes, clarify your thought process to students, and share how you discovered a faulty process.
Working with students unaccustomed to using critical thinking skills may present challenges. Noncritical thinkers miss many opportunities to generate new ideas and possibilities. To assist students in developing and fostering critical thinking skills, encourage students to do the following:
  • State what they mean and provide examples.
  • Explain how they know their claims are true or how to find out.
  • Explain how their ideas relate to the topic.
  • Explain how their ideas mesh, why they make sense, and how they reached conclusions.
  • Consider how their ideas or behaviors make others feel or think.
  • Practice intellectual integrity.
  • Treat oneself and others with respect.
When asking noncritical thinkers to address problems or assignments, encourage them to do the following:
  • Consider the goal or purpose.
  • Restate the question in various ways.
  • Gather information.
  • Be aware of inferences and assumptions.
  • Clarify ideas used to understand the problem.
  • Understand their point of view.
  • Think through implications or possibilities.
Faculty have many ways to encourage, develop, and nurture critical thought in students. Employ a variety of techniques as you guide students through the critical thinking process.  

FOX on X-Box. Univision on Dish. MySpace TV.

Microsoft announced that News Corp. will be offering a series of apps for the Xbox Live service, featuring content from Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal and IGN Entertainment
Zooey Deschanel stars in "New Girl." Credit: Greg Gayne / Fox

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest entertainment news.
FOX on X-Box. Microsoft Corp. plans to bring Homer Simpson, Bill O'Reilly and Zooey Deschanel to its Xbox Live service. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, in what could mark his final keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announced Monday that media conglomerate News Corp. will be offering a series of apps featuring content from Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal and IGN Entertainment.

News Corp. said the content would be made available this year to Xbox Live Gold members who also are paying subscribers of as-yet-unidentified cable and satellite TV services. The company said the Fox Broadcasting app would allow Xbox users to watch episodes of "Fringe," "The Simpsons," "New Girl" and "Family Guy." The Fox News app is to offer on-demand videos from such well-known personalities as Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly.

The Wall Street Journal and WSJ Live are set to provide four hours of live video each business day, drawn from the Journal, Dow Jones News Wires, Barron's, Market Watch, Smart Money and Game site IGN Entertainment is to offer previews, game reviews, game-play videos and instant access to game help.

The telenovela "Soy Tu Duena" ran on Univision.
 A scene from "Soy Tu Duena," a popular telenovela that ran on Univision. Credit: Antonio Uribe / Univision

Three New Univision Spanish Language Channels to launch on Dish-TV. Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications has secured Dish Network as a launch pad for its three new cable channels.

Since last spring, when Univision announced its new channel initiative, the New York media company has been searching for pay-TV companies to carry them. On Monday, Univision and Dish said they had struck a long-term agreement for Dish to carry Univision's planned sports, telenovela and news channels when they go live in the coming months.

"This is a significant deal for Univision," said Tonia O'Connor, Univision's head of distribution, sales and marketing. "We are taking our most popular content and using it to launch cable networks."
The company's planned soap opera or telenovela channel is expected to start March 1 as part of Dish's Latino programming package. Called Univision tlNovelas, the new channel is expected to feature some of the most popular soaps from Mexico's programming powerhouse Grupo Televisa, which has an equity stake in Univision.

The other two channels are scheduled to go live in April. The sports channel, Univision Deportes, will feature Mexican Primera Division soccer matches and live coverage of FIFA events. The companies said the channel will be offered as part of one of Dish's most widely distributed packages, increasing the number of subscribers that will have access to it. Also scheduled to launch in April is the Spanish-language cable news network Univision Noticias.  Designed to provide news from Mexico, Latin America and around the world, it will have more limited distribution, offered on Dish's Latino programming package.

The Univision-Dish deal is part of a trend of major U.S. media companies to bolster offerings that appeal to Latinos, the nation's fastest-growing demographic group. Last month, online video site Hulu announced a programming service to better reach Spanish speakers.

“We are pleased to have reached an innovative deal with Univision for their newest channels and their prime-time novelas on demand,” Dave Shull, Dish's senior vice president of programming, said in a statement.

The deal also represents Univision's first major foray into "authenticated" Internet distribution of its programming through a pay-TV provider. Dish customers will be able to access Univision's content online after registering and verifying that they are paying subscribers. Dish will stream the old telenovelas as part of Dish's Blockbuster@Home package.

 Justin Timberlake is an investor in Myspace. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Myspace TV? Myspace is getting social on a whole new platform. The embattled social network, which has seen the continued erosion of its user base, announced at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will attempt to find new audiences with the launch this year of Myspace TV.
Consumers who buy the next generation of Panasonic Viera Internet-connected television sets will be able to use a new Myspace TV application to chat about a basketball game or any other show they're watching, and to invite friends to join them in a virtual viewing party.
"It's a traditional TV service. What we've done is added a social layer on top," Myspace CEO Tim Vanderhook said.

Myspace seeks to take advantage of a situation Nielsen documented in its Consumer Usage Report: that 70% of women and 60% of men are distracted multi-taskers, checking their email or surfing the Web while they watch TV.

Myspace seeks to harness the second screen in the living room -- be it laptop, tablet or smartphone -- to create a conversation around the TV program.

"We're not trying to change TV, we're trying to make TV better," Myspace Executive Vice President Marcus Liassides said. "TV has always been social. We're making a simple way of doing that in a connected world."

The bigger question is whether Myspace will be able to draw a crowd to its new social TV application. The most recent figures from online measurement firm comScore show that Myspace has lost some 9.4 million users since June, when online ad firm Specific Media acquired the site from News Corp.  It now has approximately 24 million monthly users, according to comScore.

Vanderhook said he's focused not on audience numbers, but rather on building compelling user experiences. "This is a great product," he said. "I think it is big enough to drive new consumer adoption and a lot of interest in Myspace."

Media « NPR Hits the Road, Partners With Ford on In-Car App Microsoft Brings Fox News, Sesame Street, Comcast to XBox

News Corp. content from Twentieth Century Fox Films, Fox Television, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal will be available on the Xbox device starting in February, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

From The (click here for access to the daily on-line Hollywood newspaper, The Wrap)

The initiative continues to transform the popular gaming console into an entertainment and news hub, with Ballmer counting Xbox Live subscribers at 40 million.

“This is an all-in-one entertainment device for the living room,” Ballmer told interviewer Ryan Seacrest. “These are all experiences available now.”

Ballmer also announced Xbox partnerships with Comcast -- bringing its Xfinity video streaming  to the device -- as well as Sesame Street, which will offer viewers what Microsoft is calling "two-way television," an interactive experience with their favorite characters.

Also read: Tech’s High Rollers, Media Machers Compare Notes at CES Opening

To demonstrate, a young girl came on stage to toss imaginary coconuts into the Sesame Street scene. In another demonstration, the little girl actually was able to jump into the scene and be part of the interplay with the Sesame Street characters.

"You move away from a one-way experience where you're just watching TV to a two-way experience where your engage with your TV," Ballmer said. At one point, the thought of interactive entertainment prompted him to blow a kiss to the audience.

While all of that new content will debut some time later this year, the next big Microsoft update comes in February with Windows 8, the latest version of its iconic operating sytem. Kinect, which enhances all of the Xbox content by enabling users to do everything with gestures and voice – rather than a standard controller – is coming with it.

This being Microsoft’s final keynote at CES – so they say – it is fitting that when asked by Seacrest "What’s next?" Ballmer replied "Windows 8 is what's next."

The bulk of the program was devoted to Windows in some form, whether it be Windows Phone, Windows 8, or the "metro" user interface that exists on Xbox Live as well.

In case one did not get the message, Ballmer's closing words were "Metro Metro Metro. Windows Windows Windows."

Those capped off a session that began with a lengthy tribute to the game-changing technology company, as Consumer Electronics Association chief Gary Shapiro compared Microsoft to the founding fathers -- and this wasn't the first time he has made such a comparison.

Kaplan predicted Microsoft would return to the main stage in the next few years, and whether or not it does, one can be sure home entertainment will have changed quite a lot.

If Ballmer has any say in it, Microsoft will be at the center of it.

From The (click here for access to the daily on-line Hollywood newspaper, The Wrap)

Lindsay does Lifetme. Awards Season may bring surprises. MySpace TV. Brace for Low Budget Horror Overkill

Linday Lohan may play Liz Taylor
 Lindsay Lohan during a hearing last fall. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times 

From the LA Times Company Town Blog, click here.

It's come to this. Lindsay Lohan has been through a lot over the last several years. She's been in trouble with the law, she's had family problems and she's seen her movie career come to a grinding halt. In a move that either indicates that she is on the way back or she's hit a new bottom, the actress is in talks to do a movie for the cable channel Lifetime, according to Deadline Hollywood. She is considering playing Elizabeth Taylor. Well, at least Lifetime isn't doing a movie about Lindsay Lohan. That would be bad.

Eye blinks. On Monday, we told you that CBS had annoyed TV critics by not having Nina Tassler, the network's entertainment president, hold a news conference at the Television Critics Assn. press tour going on in Pasadena. Well, CBS caved and now will put Tassler up on stage for 20 minutes. I'm not sure I have a question for Tassler, but I may quote a few of the raunchier lines from the network's sitcom "Two Broke Girls" just to make trouble.

The copycat inside. The surprise hit "The Devil Inside" is the first of several low-budget horror flicks coming out this year that use the "found footage" plot. Of course, this is nothing new as fans of the original "Blair Witch Project" know. Still, the low cost of producing such movies and the potential of getting a smash is tough for the industry to resist. "These films are so wildly profitable -- and even when they're not, the cost of them is so little that it's an easier shot to take," Lorenzo di Bonaventura, executive producer of "The Devil Inside," told the Los Angeles Times.

The future is now. One reason I don't go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas (besides the fact that my editors haven't asked me to) is that my eyes sometimes glaze over hearing about technology. This year's show seems to be heavily focused on futuristic televisions and how they will interact with the Internet and the battle among technology companies for control of the pipe. An overview from the Wall Street Journal.

Those guys? Myspace, the once red-hot social networking site that turned into a money pit for News Corp, before the media giant unloaded it to tiny company Specific Media, wants to take on cable television. Myspace is planning to create its own distribution system for television content. These noncable cable platforms are described by the industry as "over the top" because they use broadband as opposed to wire. There is lots of talk about over the top becoming a way to create new competition for cable, but the key will be getting programmers, who no doubt will be worried about alienating their cable partners, to help support the effort. Details on Myspace's plans from All Things Digital and the Los Angeles Times.

Nightmare for oddsmakers. Folks looking to figure out who will score big at the Oscars aren't getting any help from the industry guilds. On Monday, the Directors Guild did not nominate Steven Spielberg ("War Horse") or Tate Taylor ("The Help"), further confusing folks who follow this stuff. If you are one of those folks, here's a New York Times article on the challenge of handicapping this year's awards season.

New bean counter. Discovery Communications, the cable programming giant whose holdings include Discovery Channel, TLC and 50% of Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network, has hired a new chief financial officer. Normally, the hiring of a new money man doesn't rise up to the level of the Morning Fix (we have such high standards). But it is worth noting that in tapping Andrew Warren to replace previous CFO Brad Singer, Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav has again hired someone from NBC, his former stomping ground. Hope Warren doesn't spend too much of his time figuring out how much OWN is losing. More on the hire from the Washington Post.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on CBS' new version of its morning show. A look at how ArtistWorks lets people learn to make music online.

-- Joe Flint

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