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Using e-learning to support and enhance critical thinking

At St James’ teachers have been participating in professional development opportunities to develop their understanding of and use of e-learning tools to enhance and support critical thinking during Term 2 and 3. In Week 3 teachers participated in a second staff meeting aimed at developed a Thinking Toolbox and ICT blueprint.

In the last meeting on this, which took place last term, the focus was Bloom’s Taxonomy and questioning; this time the Thinking Hats, Thinker’s Keys and graphic organisers were addressed. Teachers at St James’ already have a good knowledge of thinking skills, so the focus for these meetings has been on which would be suitable for a St James’ Catholic School Thinking Toolbox and ICT Blueprint (so there is a framework within the school which guides teachers about which to use at each level of the school, without being restrictive) and to provide teachers with practical ideas for using ICT in conjunction with thinking tools to enhance and support critical thinking.

Teachers have been integrating these ideas into their classroom practice; teacher have also been adapting and building on ideas introduced. Here are some different examples from across the school.

Junior Team

Room 8

Room 8 have been learning to use the digital cameras. Their success criteria for this were: in focus; not too much light; clear object and in the centre; not too much background; the whole object in view. The thinking hats were then used to help to support children in individually self-assessing the photos they had taken to decide which photos were acceptable and which needed deleting.


Room 10

Room 10 reflected on the class trip to the Herb Farm using the Yellow hat (the benefits of herbs), the Green hat (creativity of displays), the White hat (information we learned) and also the Red hat (feelings about our learning) to brainstorm words to create a Wordle for the blog.


Room 9

Room 9 have used the thinking hats to reflect on their learning at the end of their last Inquiry unit about "How does your garden grow?" They discussed each hat in groups or as a class and then wrote up a chart.


Middle Team

Room 1

This term Room 1 are inquiring about “How has Maori culture has helped form our kiwi culture?” During tuning in, they watched a clip of the haka on you tube. Next they organised their thoughts about the haka using a graphic organiser called Think Boxes. A think box has: see it, feel it, ask it, show it. The ask it part has formed questions which they are going to ask one of our Dad’s who is going to be a visiting expert about the haka.


Room 4

Room 4 have been using the Datt Thinking Tool - de Bono Thinking Hats - for reflection and next steps for their learning.  This is evident using my Narriative Writing Hooking in. A You Tube clip of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ was used in conjunction with  an oral PMI.


Senior Team

Room 3

As part of the Tuning In to their new inquiry “United in Diversity”, Room 3 used questions as different levels of Bloom’s Levels of thinking to respond to the tuning in clip used to access their prior knowledge.



Room 2

Room 2 used WallWisher in conjunction with the ‘Chalk Talk’ thinking strategy. For ‘Chalk Talk’ children must answer a question without speaking to others, but they also are not allowed to repeat any answers. This required them to think more deeply and critically about the question asked. This has been during the ‘Tuning In’ stage of their current inquiry.



  • Nick Rate

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing progress towards the integration of thinking and ICTs at St James'. If you are not familiar with it all ready, you may want to check out Andrew Churches' excellent thoughts and huge range of resources regarding a Bloom's Digital Taxonomy: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom's+Digital+Taxonomy

    There are lots of interesting visual representations of digital taxonomies like this one aligned to Googles services: http://kathyschrock.net/googleblooms/

    Look forward to seeing how your toolbox and blueprint develop. Regards, Nick