Cognito Lens

Critical & Creative Thinking Skills

The Cognito Prism – encouraging critical/creative thinking

To use the Cognito Prism to develop critical and creative thinking, there are two dimensions to consider.


Overlaying a timeline onto the four domains of the HOLO lens creates a level of cognition to guide a learner into deeper contemplation.  At the centre of the focus is placed something to investigate.

The timeline allows us to scaffold our thinking around the past and the future, and in the process to use higher levels of thinking.

Cognito Timeline image


1.    Etymology – what is the name of the thing we are investigating?  What is the origin of that term? What other words share similar spelling or letter formations?
2.    What is the history of the item? When was the first time this object was created? Where did this item first get developed? What culture? How did this item develop over time? How did it evolve?


3.    How will this item develop with new technology? What will the future hold for this item?
4.    What is the consequence of continued use?  Is this item sustainable? What resources are used? Where are those resources located?

There is no restriction on the questions but by focusing on the past and the future, on the etymology and history, on the technology and sustainability will ensure there is deep contemplation around the concept of time and logic.


There is also a vertical axis.

This is a focus on the item’s micro, to analyse the constituents, and the macro, to evaluate the item as part of a larger collective.

Cognito Macro Micro image


1.    Individual – Why is this item designed like this? Who designed this? What is this item’s form? What is its function? Where was this item created?

2.    Constituents – What is this material on the molecular level? What are the different parts of this item?  How was this item constructed?


3.    Collective –How is this item grouped with other like items? How is this item packaged? How is this item sold?  Where is it sold

4.    Relationships – Where is this item manufactured? How was this item manufactured? Where would you find this item? How was it transported? How much energy does this item use?

These are types of questions based on a manufactured item – but similar questions can be used when evaluating a natural item – such as a mineral, a plant, or an animal.

An extension would be to evaluate two items, such as a natural item and a manufactured item.  Comparing and contrasting leads to critical analysis.

But as a teaching tool, the beauty is on using the HOLO lens in social groups – so conversation and ideas are shared. It is important to remember HOLO allows learners to look at the world around them critically and creatively, and to consciously consider their own attitudes, biases and misconceptions.

The Outer Reaches – Knowing, Being, Belonging, Becoming

In full, the Holo lens emboldens learners to grow in confidence and to really contemplate themselves as learners in knowing, being, belonging and becoming.

Knowing: by reviewing the past we ‘know’ more about our pathway;

Being: by analysing the micro – we learn more about, and respect, each of us – cherishing each entity’s ‘being’;

Belonging: by evaluating our relationships, our role in a collective – we find comfort in our belonging;

Becoming: by contemplating our future – we can dream, strive and be encouraged to ‘become’ better for the betterment of our community.

HOLO full diagram