Using Google Art Project to Influence Critical Thinking

by | Jan 27, 2015

Critical thinking is required in the business for obvious reasons. In business schools and in job interviews, for example, a question that keeps rising is “are you a critical thinker”?

But how do you know if you are a good “critical thinker” or not? More importantly, how you can develop and improve your critical thinking skills? That’s a challenge.

Some business schools offer courses that try to assist their students in developing these skills. I participated in a critical thinking course during my MBA called “Critical Management Thinking”. The course’s materials and subjects (you can read more from Rolf Strom-Olsen,  my professor, in his blog here) are trying to challenge the young business students to a different way of thinking by dealing with subjects unfamiliar to them, such as the Roman grain system and its relation to growth, Beethoven’s classical music and innovation, etc.

I always claim that art is a space that puts us out of our comfort zone and I was glad to see an academic way to use art for developing critical thinking. In 2013 at the 19th Annual Sloan Conference, an international conference on online learning, an interesting panel named “Using Google Art Project to Influence Critical Thinking” took place.

From the panel’s extended abstract (read the full abstract):

Critical thinking instruction has been long established as a key initiative for higher education. In today’s educational environment, explicit instruction has become the most evidence-based means for enhancing and developing one’s capacity for critical thinking. In an online environment, this has often resulted in guided discussion, peer-review, case studies, and other problem-based learning strategies.

Artworks have long been established as an educational tool. Stedman (2007) indicated that using artwork to communicate the role of leadership through history is a creative and engaging way to encourage students to see leadership beyond the text and beyond their experiences. Further, critical thinking is enhanced by the interpretative nature of the artwork. The skills demonstrative of strong critical thinking include interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation. Through the use of art, students can explore their own connection to particular piece project collaboration tools. Moving through each of the critical thinking skills as they connect meaning to art. 


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