English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Arguments
  • Bias
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Research On Information & Interaction

    Research On Information & Interaction


    In this lesson, you will consider the ways that ubiquitous computing has changed how we interact with information and how it has changed how we think about knowledge. You'll also have an opportunity to research independently.

    In this lesson, students will consider the ways that ubiquitous computing has changed how we interact with information and how it has changed how we think about knowledge. They'll also have an opportunity to research independently.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Find the article “Turn On, Log In, Wise Up” by Donald Morrison on the Smithsonian magazine website. Share it with your students. If you do not have Internet access in the classroom, you can print and distribute the article.
    • Consider whether you want to provide a list of articles for your students in order to simplify the research process for your group or if you want to simply turn them loose.
    • If students will not have Internet connectivity, decide how you will direct them to conduct research. You could print out a selection of articles.
    • If you have access to a library and librarian, you may also want to open up the research aspect of this process more broadly by having students spend time in the library choosing articles.

    Turn on, Log in, Wise up

    • Let students work independently with “Turn on, Log in, Wise up.”
    • Give them a chance to ask their questions and get answers.
      • SWD: If you have students who would benefit from focusing on a smaller section of the text, you can have them work in pairs or small groups to divide the reading, each annotating one section.


    Read and annotate “Turn on, Log in, Wise up,” by Donald Morrison.

    • Identify the main claims and counterclaims, and annotate them with a few sentences each of your reactions. Make sure you explain how each counterclaim is discredited.
    • Note at least three claims or pieces of evidence that you find instructive and write annotations that explain how they relate to your own perspective on our relationship to technology.

    Share your questions and ideas with the full class.

    Article Notes and Questions

    • This activity can take place as a small group conversation instead of as individual note taking if you want to give students more opportunities to interact with their museum exhibit teams.
    • Be sure to save enough time in the next activity to model research skills as thoroughly as your class requires.
      • ELL: You can have students submit their notes and questions to you at this time to check for understanding and help you identify those students who need further support.

    Work Time

    Once you’ve had a chance to ask and answer questions, use “Turn on, Log in, Wise up” and these questions to add to your notes and to your growing understanding of the effect of digital connectivity on the way we take in information.

    • Morrison writes, “That’s how people stay informed nowadays: if the news is important, it will find us.” What does this statement suggest about the ways we interact with information?
    • What is newsworthy? What does the Internet prompt us to think is newsworthy?
    • How can Morrison’s essay help you deepen your argument for your own essay?

    Open Notebook

    Argument Essay Research

    • Model the use of the Independent Research Workflow. Examples from “Social Networks: What Maslow Misses” are provided.
    • Circulate to help students choose appropriate articles. If you don't have access to more substantive research facilities, you can have students choose articles from the ones you have selected.
      • ELL: Be aware of ELLs’ reading levels as they choose an article, and provide support and guidance as needed. Be sure that all students have access to dictionaries in both their primary language and English.
    • If you have access to a library and librarian, you can also spend a lesson teaching students to choose articles independently.
    • If students are not able to view the MLA Citation Guide and the Independent Research Workflow documents simultaneously, decide how you will make it easy for them to view the documents. You can print or project the MLA Citation Guide or put students in pairs.
      • SWD: Some students with disabilities may benefit from having hard copies of these resources whenever possible, so they can refer to them simultaneously, both in class and at home.
    • Depending on time, students can finish this process for homework.
    • Decide how you will provide access to articles if students do not have Internet connectivity. You could find and print a selection of articles from the list below. Wired ( ) and Psychology Today ( ) also have a variety of articles relevant to this unit.
      • ✓ “Connected, But Alone?” TED Talk with Sherry Turkle
      • ✓ “The Will to Connect: Some Thoughts on Human Nature in the Age of Social Media” by David McMillan, Thought Catalog website
      • ✓ “The Facebook Resisters” by Jenna Wortham, New York Times
      • ✓ Digital Nation video from PBS “Frontline”
      • ✓ “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?” from Newsweek
      • ✓ The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen
      • ✓ “Vinton Cerf on Where the Internet Will Take Us” by Brian Wolly
      • ✓ “Teenagers' Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing” by Tamar Lewin, New York Times
      • ✓ “Teenage Social Media Butterflies May Not Be Such a Bad Idea” by Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
      • ✓ “What Cellphone Calls Say About Parent-Teenager Relations” by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times
      • ✓ “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” by Jeffery Rosen, New York Times Magazine
      • ✓ “The Freedom to Be Who You Want to Be” posted by Alma Whitten on Google Public Policy Blog
      • ✓ “Why No One Cares About Privacy Anymore” by Declan McCullagh, CNet News
      • ✓ “Is Online Privacy a Generational Issue?” by Ken Denmead, Wired Blog
      • ✓ “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic
      • ✓ “Does the Internet Make You Dumber?” by Nicholas Carr, The Wall Street Journal
      • ✓ The Myth of Digital Literacy video clip from “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”
      • ✓ “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” by Matt Richtel, The New York Times
    • Encourage students to read additional articles if feasible.


    You’ve had several opportunities to read, annotate, and discuss articles. Now it’s time for you to do research. Take the skills that you’ve learned in reading, annotating, and examining arguments and apply them independently to new articles.

    • Use the Independent Research Workflow to guide your assessment of articles. Your teacher will briefly demonstrate its use.
    • Remember that when you do research, you’ll need to keep track of where you get information so you can cite it in your essay. Any ideas and any particular phrases that you get from an author other than yourself must be cited. Use the Citation Guide to help you gather and format the information you find.
    • Choose an article that you think might help you develop new evidence or a new claim for your argument essay.
    • Read your chosen article and write an entry in your Notebook that answers the following questions:
      • What is the main argument in the article?
      • If the article turned out to be helpful for your own argument essay, how will it help?
      • If the article turned out to be unhelpful, why won’t it help?

    Open Notebook

    Reading and Reflection

    • Encourage students to read additional articles if feasible.


    • Finish reading your article and writing your notebook entry.