In the previous post ‘Developing a critical mindset Part 1′, I suggested an activity based on an idea by Debra Hills for getting students develop a critical mindset in order to get them to think critically, especially when reading. The activity suggested they respond to a statement about facebook. Now if you want to follow that activity up in a complete lesson here’s a reading activity you could use.
There are two short reading texts at the end of this post with opposite views on using Facebook. Make copies. Put students in pairs. Give one text to student A and one text to Student B. Ask them to read their text and identify the following:
1 The main point of the article.
2 Supporting evidence in the article for the main point.
They can highlight key words or phrases in their text.
The next step involves students talking to each other about their texts. There are two ways to do this:
1 Ask them to describe the information in their text without looking back at it (so they don;t read it) and so they find out what the connection is between their partner’s text and their own. They should describe the main point and the evidence. Afterwards they read both texts to check they both remembered the key points and gave effective summaries.
2 The other (more advanced) option is for each person in the pair to present the side of the argument presented in their text as their own opinion. They should back their views up with the evidence in the text and discuss the pros and cons of Facebook.
This activity takes the students a step further to showing how our opinions must be backed up with evidence. Note that there are similar texts online about the pros and cons of facebook with more evidence quoted. Students could follow up the task by searching for sources and evidence.
Facebook can help your brain in old age
We often read that older people can keep their brains healthy with crosswords and puzzles. Now new research shows that over 65-year-olds can benefit from using social networking sites. Scientists from the University of Arizona found that pensioners who use Facebook did better in tests than those who didn’t.
The scientists did a study on 14 adults aged between 68 and 91. They had either never used Facebook or used it less than once a month. The scientists set one group up with Facebook accounts. This group had to make ‘friends’ with other people in their group and post on the site at least once a day. A second group learned to use an online diary site called Penzu.com. The diaries in Penzu are private and there is no social interaction.
Before they used the internet, the two groups took cognitive tests. Then, eight weeks later, they took the tests again. The group who had used Facebook did 25% better in the tests. There was no change in the other group’s performance.
The head of the study, Janelle Wohltmann, said: ‘The big difference between the online diary and Facebook is that when you create a diary entry, you create the entry, you save it and that’s all you see. If you’re on Facebook, several people are posting new things. You’re seeing this new information coming in, and you need to focus on the new information and get rid of the old information.’ The ever-changing site helps mental activity.
Adapted from Daily Mail, 20 February 2013
Facebook can cause health and social problems
Sites like Facebook allow people to leave messages, send photos and play games. However, the psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says that social networking sites could raise the risk of cancer because they decrease the amount of time people spend meeting face-to-face.
Research suggests that the number of hours we spend meeting people face-to-face since 1987 has fallen dramatically. Dr Sigman thinks this is a problem because the body produces different hormones when people meet physically and he believes that the increasing amount of time humans spend online and on their own will cause problems in the future. It changes the way genes work, increases disease and affects our mental performance.
In particular, Dr Sigman is worried about children because he believes that electronic media means children are not learning important social skills. Dr Sigman says: ‘Parents spend less time with their children than they did a decade ago. Britain has the lowest proportion of children in Europe who eat with their parents at the table. ‘He adds that studies show that children taught via video broadcasts and DVDs do not learn as well as when they did when given lessons by a real teacher.
Adapted on Daily Mail, 19 February 2009
Categories: Critical thinking