Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Teaching Teens Research: Research as Thinking and Visualizing Information

My rough draft of the Hourglass framework
I like converting information and concepts into visuals. Big ideas can be understood better when presented and communicated into shapes, images and graphics. Also, I find the whole exercise of conversion as highly creative. It's fun.

My last two posts on the research model shows it as an hourglass. The first visual  shows the idea that research is a process. The second one has the Facets of Research by Wilison and O'Regan (2007). Both visuals represent the idea that research is thinking. A thought process.

The kind of thinking that comes into play in research is similar to an hourglass where the researcher begins with macro thinking. Looking at broader concepts and then, narrowing into specifics to tighten ideas that answer the research question and leading to an agreement, an amplification of the thesis statement, if not, then an application of findings into global and real world examples. For high school students, their first foray into research can be an overwhelming experience. Research is, after all, made up of global and unitary skills. It's complicated. 

What teachers and school librarians can do to help teenagers is to pare the global skills into sub-units and put together the units into one big, global thought process. School librarians who are not as involved as teachers in teaching and instruction still have a role to contribute by suggesting and recommending websites and resources in designing visuals and infographic and customizing graphic organizers. So, I am sharing what I discovered online. Here are web apps for designing texts into easy to understand visuals and sites where teachers and students can make amazing infographics.

I will start with my favorites. For infographics, head on to easel.ly and Infogram. For e-posters, look at Canva and Thinglink for interactive boards using photos as platform or information base. I have used Thinglink several times in book promotions and library campaigns.

Here are the new ones I discovered along the way. Haiku Deck is a presentation app like Prezi, except for the magnifying feature of the latter. For the use of graphic organizers to visualize ideas, head on to Creately.

Visualizing texts and ideas can be a lot of fun. Indirectly, when done on a regular basis, it is a study skill that promotes critical thinking, creativity and metacognition. With the use of web apps, technology has upped the notch of developing the said skills.  

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