Fundamentos para a Construção de um Modelo Computacional de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento do Pensamento Crítico (Portuguese Only)



This research presents a proposal for using Activity Theory and pedagogical practices of Mathew Lipman to define an activity of critical thinking in undergraduate students through collaborative web-based software mediation.
According to results from the International Program of Students Evaluation by UNESCO, which verifies the quality of education on several countries, Brazilian students have been among the lasts (worst performance) at last editions (reading in 2000 and math in 2003). This situation has motivated discussions about alternatives that improve student's intellectual and cultural skills.
Changes on any educational system are complex, expensive and a long term task. In the knowledge era, it is imperative to incorporate the use of new learning methodologies and educational technologies. Educational Technology, in our perspective, must produce artifacts to mediate the teaching-learning process. The proposed technology, briefly presented in this paper, aims to mediate critical thinking activities.
Lipman's Judgment Pedagogy aims to promote continuous thinking development during formal educational process. Critical thinking is composed by reflexive activity and investigative actions. These actions are underpinned by well established criteria and can produce a set of propositions qualified to support good judgments.
The proposed technology, named WebPensa, is a web application that has a simplified computer model of both Lipman's pedagogy and Engeström's Activity Theory. The application acts as a tool to be used by a group of students and teacher. This group forms a Community of Investigation and aim to solve some problem through argumentation. Each argumentation is expressed in terms of critical thinking elements (criteria and judgments).
The activity of critic to knowledge is based on the process of problem solving where the student can exercise the development of his/her thinking through reflection. This can be done alone or collaborative. Others cognitive skills like deduction, inference, questioning and auto correcting of empiric knowledge are also favored. This activity enables the users to rebuild and improve not just the meaning of the problem's context as also gives opportunity to exercise their argumentation. Thus, the activity is executed within a Community Investigation using rules to structure the relationship between the student and the community.
WebPensa, currently at prototype phase, will be used to stimulate critical thinking on contents of any course. The software, classified as a tool in the Activity Theory sense, is expected to change common practices of both students an teachers. At same time, coherently with the dialectic view of the teaching-learning process, the software too will be modified to accommodate a more realistic (contextualized) understanding of this process.


Educational Technology, Critical Thinking, Activity Theory.


Foundations to Build a Computational Model to Support the Development of Critical Thinking

MSc Thesis

Fundamentos para a Construção de um Modelo Computacional de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento do Pensamento Crítico (Portuguese Only), May 2005

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