Learning through critical thinking

Albert Einstein famously said, "Never memorize something that you can look up."

Dr. Marlo Steed wholeheartedly agrees.

An associate professor in the Faculty of Education, Steed teaches New Media in Learning and gears his research to how technology impacts the way people teach and learn. He is currently compiling feedback on the trial use of a cutting edge conferencing program called Adobe Connect, which Steed recently employed with a group of distant placement practicum students – one as far away as Belize.

As far as Einstein's sentiments go, Steed emphatically concurs, stating that ready access to a world of information through technological means has changed education forever.

"The ways in which we find and share information have fundamentally changed," he explains. "We no longer have to worry about memorizing facts – we can go online and find information on anything we want at any time."

Steed says that at this point in the world's technological evolution, educational focus should be on higher order skills and critical thinking.

"Students need to learn to how to be problem solvers and decipher what technological tools will most effectively get their ideas across," he says.

While Steed concedes that technology presents as many challenges as benefits, he believes that the sheer magnitude of technological possibilities and the speed in which technology advances is extremely exciting.

"Technology not only changes the way we look at the world, it changes the way we think," Steed says. "Five years ago, we didn't know where we'd be now. Who can predict where we'll be in another five years? The biggest challenge is to become a lifelong learner who grows with the technology and learns how to utilize it as it moves along."