How to improve your critical thinking in 5 ways

Critical Thinking and Ideas

One of the biggest jolts you will experience as you make your way from a high school to a college education and beyond is how you are expected to think. While thousands of teenagers are currently spending their last summer at home, counting down the hours until they can leave the nest and make it on their own, few realize the work involved at college and then in the big world. No longer spoon-fed information and sources, you and you alone will be expected to collect and analyze information from your lectures, study them, evaluate them, then create links and form ideas from this. This is called critical thinking.

So how do you think like this?

Question things

Question things – everything! Don’t just accept what you are told as truth, and don’t be satiated with basic information. If you read or hear something, ask why. How was this information found? Who found it? Is it a fact? Are they biased? What does it prove? You will find yourself starting to think outside the box.

Tools for using this technique: Pick up a few tabloid newspapers and go through them. Tabloid papers are renowned for half-truths and fake sources, so it is a good way of putting your skills to work. Read a story and looks for parts you could question. Phrases like “Sources reveal”, “It seems that,” or “Rumor has it” are classic holes in storytelling.

What sources? Are they reliable? How does it seem, and to who? Where are these rumors coming from and is there any truth to them? After you have read the story, write down as many solid facts as you can glean, as well as your questions. What conclusions have you drawn?

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Five ways we’re using collective intelligence to change the world

Collective Intelligence

It wasn’t difficult to see that the internet was going to change things forever, but what is surprising is the way it has actually brought people together. We have access to a ton of information at the click of a finger, as well as new connections to people from all over the world. What this has produced is an incredible wave of collective intelligence: people pooling their knowledge and power to make decisions, and even, change the world. But how?

Climate Change

One of the leading online platforms for connecting ideas on climate change is Climate CoLab. Instigated by websites like Wikipedia, Climate CoLab combines climate experts and people from around the world to share and join ideas on new solutions and approaches to environmental change. Featured in media channels such as the Boston Globe, Discovery, and the BBC, and recognized by the White House Climate Data, it is making leaps and bounds in real projects to change the world.

Petitions

Petitions are certainly not a new creation, and their beauty is in their simplicity. With email and social media, petitions are flourishing and having a real impact. Just look at the impact of petitions in the UK post-referendum. Spread across social media channels and approaching 4 million signatures, calls for a second referendum are hard to ignore. This is huge in terms of giving a voice to the people; simply signing and sharing can do a lot.

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