Approaching research skills in a digitally literate classroom

An area I’m currently exploring is how to promote digital literacy across the curriculum. One of the ways that this can be done is through explicitly teaching research skills and guiding students through the process. The result is that students gain transferable skills and a set of useful notes at the end of the process (and we don’t have to wade through copy and pasted information that (most likely) is either less than relevant or beyond the students’ understanding of a topic).

In a nutshell – if we don’t teach students how to research well, then the success of any research task is left (at least in part) to chance.

The process here is taken from an eBook for a Year 9 group. Students will be researching the social and historical context of WW1 poetry and they’ll record their findings in a pdf version of this workbook in Showbie or Notability.

Step 1: Give the students a reason to buy into the research process

Step 1: Give the students a reason to buy into the research process.

Start by giving students a reason to buy into the research process so they can see the value in high-quality research. This idea is taken loosely from the  ‘so that…’ form of lesson objective as it highlights a sense of purpose. The aim with this starter is to get students thinking about the role of context when they interpret literature so that they can appreciate that literature isn’t just created in a vacuum. Once they understand the reason for exploring social and historical context, they’re more likely to engage with the research process.

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Prior to opening this website, I have posted to on a range of topics. The benefit of Staffrm is that, like Twitter, it’s a collaborative space for testing ideas that don’t have to be polished. It’s great for digitally jotting down some ideas and reading what other people are exploring in their own classrooms.


Previous posts

“What do you think?” Thoughts on 360 reviews as a form of professional learning

Teach. Mark. DIRT. Repeat. Thoughts on streamlining marking

Why I’m banning ‘just Google it’. Thoughts on digital literacy.

Rethinking literacy: teaching literacy through high-quality texts 

“It’s on us now, isn’t it?”: some reflections on student feedback

Multiliteracy: more than reading and writing