What is the Argument Ninja Academy?
Imagine a martial arts academy, but one that teaches students how to think critically and argue persuasively — martial arts for the mind!
And what if the teaching and learning experience was inspired by martial arts training principles? A belt level system! Drills, forms, and sparring! A focus on skill development and real-world application, rather than rote learning!
And what if this training program was implemented in an online environment that made use of state-of-the-art learning interactions and gamification features?
The goal of the Argument Ninja Academy project is to design and build such an online learning environment.
The Argument Ninja website (what you’re on right now) is dedicated to developing the conceptual and methodological foundations for this project, including the training curriculum itself.
Kevin deLaplante is the Content Director for this project, and he is responsible for all of the content on this site.
Who is Kevin deLaplante?
For 17 years I worked as a professional academic.
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics (1991) and a PhD in Philosophy (1998), found work as a visiting Assistant Professor (1999), and became a tenured Associate Professor (2005). I eventually became Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Iowa State University (2008-2012).
I’ve been very fortunate. By every external measure I’ve enjoyed a successful (and increasingly coveted) academic career. And I’ve learned a great deal teaching courses on logic, critical thinking, philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, philosophy of technology, ethics and more in a university setting.
But I wasn’t satisfied. I grew tired of teaching the same small number of courses year after year, and frustrated that I was spending less and less time studying and teaching the subjects that drew me to philosophy in the first place.
So I began creating opportunities to teach what I love outside the confines of the university classroom.
I started recording video lectures, opened a YouTube channel, explored online learning platforms, launched a podcast, and created web resources for sharing my content with the broader public.
By taking a step outside of academia I found a way to rekindle my love of philosophy and my passion for teaching.
In 2015 I resigned from my tenured academic job to work full-time as an independent online educator, and as a trainer and consultant on the topic of critical thinking in organizations. I moved my family back to my hometown of Ottawa, Canada, where I now work from home.
The main focus of my work has been creating content for the Critical Thinker Academy, a video tutorial and training site. That site has over 20 hours of video content on a variety of topics related to critical thinking and writing skills.
However, more recently (summer of 2016) I started the Argument Ninja Podcast, where is where I explore new approaches to critical thinking education and training that focus on the concept of “rational persuasion“, and the value of thinking of critical thinking as a martial art.
Does the Argument Ninja Academy Exist Yet?
Not yet. You can think of this site as the philosophical center of this project. Currently we have a small number of people (project manager, marketer, instructional designer) who are invested in making this a reality.
We’re working to expand this team and identify sources of financial support for the project.
How Can I Help?
There several ways you can help to support the development of this project.
- You can put your name on our email list, so you can receive information and updates as they come out.
- You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a rating and a written comment. That’s enormously helpful.
- You can read through the articles on this site and share any of them that resonate with you on your social media platforms.
- You can sign up to become a Patron over at Patreon! You can pledge as little as $3/month to support this work, and as a reward you’ll get access to all of the video content at the Critical Thinker Academy, and reserve a seat for yourself in the Argument Ninja Academy when it is finally launched.
- You can share this site with people who may be interested in supporting this project at a higher financial level, and ask them to contact us!