You can hear a lot about the harmful influence of technologies on the young generation. Some people are still certain that writing compendium of lectures is more effective than typing them on a laptop. However, it is more about convenience and individual learning habits. If students get a task to write 1000 words about a topic that was covered at the lecture, their results will depend on students thinking, research skills, critical approach, and certainly not on a technique used for making notes. If you use the right technical tools, they always help to think, analyze, predict, invent, and create. You just need to figure out which ones to use. We have a list of suggestions, maybe you’ll pick something.
In a couple of years after you graduate from high school, you will start to notice that your mind becomes less flexible. College and university activities are less diverse and more focused on the future profession. Thus, some completely forget about the basics of math, chemistry, or biology. The others give up on literature and arts. As a result, you cannot answer a simple “How many pages is 3000 words?” not because you don’t know how many words in pages. You just cannot calculate it fast.
It happens because the brain doesn’t get enough exercise. You can solve this problem with the help of mind-teaser, puzzles, sudoku, or apps like NeuroNation. 17 (or even more by this time) exercises and personalized courses help to improve memory and concentration, boost intellectual activity, and develop logical thinking. Its efficiency was confirmed by the studies in the Free University of Berlin.
Social networks cause even more controversies than technology in general. So why do we even refer to any of them when talking about critical thinking apps? Everything is simple. Facebook and Instagram are more popular and more likely to cause information overdose. Lately, they have been used as platforms for advertising, news, and consequently misinformation. It is important to count only on yourself when making judgments. Leave them for later to practice fact-checking and conflict resolving. LinkedIn, on the contrary, is aimed for sharing professional knowledge and practices for self-development. You can follow interesting people and companies to find out the true latest news, to learn how to express your opinion, and so on.
This is a great source of inspiration. Oldschool-style pages, communities, and threads make it stand out from the rest of social networks. Here users are encouraged to communicate with like-minded individuals, find people with similar interests and those, who can answer the questions that have been bothering you for a while (like that one about 3000 words). This platform features both serious matters and humorous content. By discovering new things and communicating with people, you learn to think critically.
This is one of the most popular educational platforms if the world among people of different ages. Speakers from all around the globe with the diverse background and various fields of expertise talk about the important issues, including scientific, cultural, self-development, and actually everything you can think about. This is a place, where you can meet world-famous scientists, journalists, inventors. User-friendly interface and classification allow keeping track of the most interesting topics.
My creative diary
This is an app for storing text, images, ideas — any content you want to keep within easy reach. There are around 30 types of pages for different purposes. It is an alternative to an ordinary notebook, just with the less risk that someone will have a sneak peek at your personal notes. You cannot keep everything in your head for too long without forgetting something important, and this app is a good site for storage. Besides, you can note down everything that comes to your mind immediately to check out for ideas later. There is no limit to the page count. Numerous stickers and fonts help to boost creativity.
This app works similarly to the previous one but has extended functionality. Initially, Evernote was just an app for notes. With time, it has evolved into the full-scale educational and business software solution and one of the most popular tools for critical thinking. It allows storing all kinds of files, synchronizing the notes between different devices, sharing with other users. It is widely used for planning and education. Structuring information well is one of the sub-functions of critical thinking.
One of the aspects of thinking critically is the ability to estimate your work and creations. Canva is one of the best apps to start with this. It is a universal app for creating visual content for non-professional designers. It allows designing an original post for Instagram, logos, posters, invitations, magazine covers, and much more things with ease. Thanks to the synchronization feature, you can access all the materials from all devices.
This is a platform for creating presentations and engaging videos in 20 minutes or even less. You can add multimedia content straight from your phone, record voiceovers, assemble and edit everything in-app, and then share directly from it. Presentations help to deliver ideas more effectively than words or papers, and the very process of creating presentations lets you step back and estimate the result critically, whether it would be interesting and persuasive for another person or not.
Almost everyone feels awkward when hearing a recording of their own voice. Nevertheless, it should not stop you from recording podcasts. Audacity is an online service that will help you with editing. This is a free platform for audio files editing that allows working with several audio tracks simultaneously. Users can record audio, change the parameters, use different effects, and so on. You can also mix podcasts for your friends. There are a lot of features that will be useful for both recording/editing and self-development.
Last but not least for today, learning WordPress will be a huge advantage for students in any case. Currently, it is the most frequently used website platform in the world — it houses more than half of all existing website. WordPress is easy to learn and use. It comes with diverse built-in features and free plugins that will help to develop your web resource. The apps and platforms mentioned above will help you to come up with the idea for your website. It is okay if you don’t plan to commercialize it. Just use it as one of the tools that keep your mind in proper shape and get an interesting hobby.
Critical thinking and technology are closely bound. No matter how hard you try to avoid the information overdose with fake sensations, screaming headlines, angry comments in social networks, etc., it is impossible to ignore it completely. However, it is not a reason to blame technology in everything negative that happens around. Technology is only the scope of tools invented by people. It is up to people to decide how to apply those tools.
Back to critical thinking, it is important to understand that this skill requires continuous practicing. Learning to think critically is not just reading, fact-checking, and objective interpretation. It implies diverse creative and estimating processes and activities, learning new things, and keeping track of how your ideas evolve. It doesn’t matter how many of the listed tools you will start using after you finish reading this article. It is important to understand how you can use technology for the benefit — personal development, in particular.