• In a time where abundant information travels fast through the wide array of media and social networks available, it is of paramount importance to be able to distinguish trustworthy news from fake news, and to take critical positions to understand and face the changing world we live in. As such, critical thinking is perhaps one of the most challenging skills to be enhanced in the current higher education setting. The learner’s profile has changed over the last two decades with the widespread implementation of digital technologies which deeply affected the students’ needs. It is then no surprise that education stakeholders and decisionmakers have given priority to the fostering of the 21st century skills, namely the 4 Cs in education: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, in addition to digital skills (Vuorikari et al., 2022), only to name a few. Active learning-based methodology, though not new (Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Michael, 2006; Bromley, 2013), reveals to be effective as it focuses on a student-centered approach and on collaborative input. This paper aims to address the importance of active learning in the current higher education context by describing a teaching and learning experience based on this learning methodology. The experience intended to enhance students’ critical thinking within a rather theoretical subject, English culture II, taught to 1st year students of the bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages: English and Spanish, by means of an interactive and more engaging digital tool: jamboard. Students were presented with active slides guiding them during the performance of the stipulated tasks. By providing students with content and meaning, they were able to evaluate ideas and add value to them by putting forth critical reasoning about the issues discussed, namely the Civil wars in the 17th century in England and the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Overall, the results, based on a qualitative assessment, showed that the teacher has been merely a facilitator and students have been actively engaged in the learning process and have been able to reflect on issues from past times that have had implications in our present, hence enhancing critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and digital skills.

publication date

  • November 1, 2023