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Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

Written by 5 March 2013

*ISTE Workshop: Transitioning to the Common Core with Google Apps - Join Catlin Tucker!

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

The following is a guest post by Catlin Tucker, one of SimpleK12's presenters. Click here to watch Catlin's Webinars inside the Teacher Learning Community.

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

Any teacher who has embarked on a research writing unit or taught students how to write a research paper knows it is a arduous and, often, unrewarding task.

After teaching the research paper this year, I knew my students needed to refine their research skills. Many needed more practice “searching smarter,” evaluating resources and analyzing information. That said, I dreaded the prospect of reading another 170 research papers.

The Common Core Standards emphasize the importance of conducting both “short as well as more sustained research projects.” They also require that students “use technology…to display information flexibly and dynamically” and “synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.”

Inspiration struck one night when I stumbled on an infographic titled “Get More Out of Google.” Infographics are research dense, visually interesting and a fairly new trend in the technology space. The next day, I asked students to explore a collection of infographics in small groups. I encouraged them to discuss the infographics.

  • Which infographics were most compelling?
  • How was research visually displayed?
  • Did they want to learn more about any of the topics covered in the infographics?

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

Most of my students had never heard the word “infographic,” which surprised me. I was excited to see them so engaged in the process. They were clearly captivated.

That night I posted a discussion topic on our Collaborize Classroom site asking students to select between two “big” ideas, modern day slavery and gender inequality. I explained that they would be researching one of these topics to create their own infographics.

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

I took my classes to the computer lab to conduct their research. I guided them through a “Got Credibility?” Google form I created to train them to analyze their resources to ensure the information they found was credible.

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core
Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

Once students had found compelling research and evaluated the credibility of the information they found, they began designing their own infographics using Piktochart. It was an interesting challenge to communicate their main points using charts, maps, graphs, and images.

Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

The end products were a wonderful mix of research, media and design! I don’t even think most of my students realized they were doing “research” because they enjoyed the process so much.

*ISTE Workshop: Transitioning to the Common Core with Google Apps - Join Catlin Tucker!


About the Author

Catlin Tucker is a Google Certified Teacher and CUE Lead Learner. She teaches 9th and 10th grade English language arts at Windsor High School in Sonoma County and has taught online college level writing courses. She spent the 2011-2012 school year on leave finishing her first book, Blended Learning for Grades 4-12: Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create Student-Centered Classrooms (Corwin). She is an experienced professional development facilitator and trainer, education consultant, curriculum designer and frequent Edtech speaker. She earned her BA in English from UCLA and her English credential and Masters in Education from UCSB. She is active on Twitter @CTuckerEnglish and writes an education technology blog at CatlinTucker.com.

Click here to view Catlin's original article on her blog.


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Infographics: Transforming the Traditional Research Paper & Addressing Common Core

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