ICT Research Topics

Research Skills – Thinking Required

  1. Questioning: See assignments below.
    1. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) topics below may be too broad to research for a 3 paragraph essay. Brainstorm 2 or 3 more specific questions.
    2. Review the Web Search In Plain English video. Create a list of words or phrases to begin an Internet search. Keep track of the words and phrases you use.
    3. Find the definitions of words you don’t know. Locate 1 or 2 possible sources of information.
    4. Narrow the topic to a more specific question. Your final question may not include what or how many. It should allow you to develop a deeper understanding of the topic.  Submit a question by the end of the class 1.
  2. Planning:
    1. Refine your list of keywords and phrases to use in a search. Keep track of this list in the word-processing document. document.
    2. Decide where to search. Remember the Deep Web.
  3. Gathering:
    1. Collect and record information from at least 2 reliable and valid sources of information. Use the 5 W’s to evaluate information sources.
    2. Create a bibliography entry for the resources you find. Use EasyBib to create a citation for each with an annotation. Placee these in the word-processing document. You will print and hand in the research question, list of keywords and phrases, plus a description of what search engine used, plus the bibliography with annotations by the end of class 2. The bibliography entry must be in hanging indent format. The annotation must be a bullet point under the bibliography entry.
  4. Sifting & Sorting & Analyzing:
    1. Take notes to support your topic. Organize the notes by information sources so you can correctly provide in-text citations later.
  5. Synthesizing & Evaluating:
    1. Develop an outline of the topic (see report below) The notes and outline will be printed and handed in at the end of class 3.
  6. Reporting: Communicate findings in written report. (3 paragraph minimum) Printed and handed in on class 4.

    1. Paragraph 1: Introduce the topic with a supported thesis statement.State the problem and your question. Paraphrase. Do not copy and paste.
    2. Paragraph 2: Provide specific examples to support your thesis statement. The examples to solve the problem. It must be supported by your research and from valid, reliable, appropriate information sources. Paraphrase. Do not copy and paste. One sentence may be a direct copy, but must be included within quotation marks.
    3. Paragraph 3: Your personal reflection as a Catholic student at ICS: How does this topic personally impact you? Paraphrase. Do not copy and paste.
    4. Intext citations for all information used are required.
    5. Formatting
      1. Your name, the Class Name and the date at the top left of the paper.
      2. Research question in bold, centered. Times New Roman size 18
      3. Paragraphs and bibliography in Times new Roman size 12, left justified. Do not indecnt paragraphs.
      4. Place one space after periods, commas, and questions.
      5. Spell check, Grammar check.
  7. Bibliography: Place the bibliography directly below the essay. Each bibliography entry must has a bullet point annotation explaining the validity of the information source. The bibliography entries must be in alphabetical order.
    1. Use EasyBib website to create the bibliography entries in MLA style.

Assessment will be based on the 6-Traits Writing Rubric and the Research Rubric located in the Documents tab on Sycamore. On the 6-traits rubric, you will assessed on Ideas, Organization, Voice and Conventions.


Topic Questions: Each students is assigned a topic to begin work but will narrow the topic to a more specific question. Students may share resources found but each student will research a different question.
  1. ‘Telecommuting’ refers to workers doing their jobs from home for part of each week and communicating with their office using computer technology. Telecommuting is growing in many countries and is expected to be common for most office workers in the coming decades. How do you think society will be affected by the growth of telecommuting? 
  2. Technology is making communication easier in today’s world, but at the expense of personal contact as many students choose to study at home in front of a computer screen. 
  3. What dangers are there for a society which depends on computer screens rather than face-to-face contact for its main means of communication? 
  4. Internet: Could you be without it? Discuss.
  5. Telephone: Coud you be without it? discuss..
  6. The internet has great influence in shaping people’s ideas. To what extent do you agree or disagree this statement? Give reasons for your answer.
  7. Does the Internet bring people of the world closer together? 
  8. Computers can translate all kinds of languages well. Do our children need to learn more languages in the future? 
  9. Smart phones are the solution to the digital divide (digital inequality). Discuss. 
  10. Not all countries allow or value freedom of the press. How does technology change a country’s ability to monitor information?
  11. You walk past a coffee shop and get an offer of a 10% discount on your smartphone. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of location tracking (or data mining or geotracking) ,
  12. Discuss the difficulties in censoring the flow of information in a society.
  13. Tweets, 140 characters at a time, can change the way society reacts. Discuss.
  14. All lectures in schools should be distributed as podcasts. Discuss pros and cons.
  15. Webapps enable students to collaborate and communicate which could reduce the amount of time needed in class. Discuss. 

Be a URL Detective

Tip #1: Use the URL to identify the domain name and web extensions and what they represent.

URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. The domain name is located after the http:// in the URL. For instance, the domain name for Incarnation Catholic School is icstampa.org. The domain name for Incarnation Catholic Church is icctampa.org.

The extensions in the URL provide additional clues to the identify and authorship of a website.

  • .org – organization
  • .com – company
  • .sch – school (used outside of US)
  • .k12 – most US school sites
  • .edu – US higher ed
  • .gov – US government (add country code for outside US)
  • .ac – higher ed outside of US usually used with country code, example, “.ac.uk”
  • .net – network
  • .mil – US military
  • .co – Company (if paired with a country code, example “.co.uk,” the state of Colorado or the country, Columbia)

For a list of country codes view Web Country Codes

Tip #2: Truncate the URL section by section


to  http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ to learn that the information is hosted on and part of the University of California Berkeley Library web site. Knowing the documents are part of the official Berkeley library gives it authenticity.

Practice Truncating: What is the domain for each of the following:

Tip #3: Observe the URL grammar.

If a tilde (~), %, or a person’s name or the word “user” after the domain name is in the web address, it is a personal directory and not an official part of the website. In the following example, http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml, the information on plagiarism is in the personal directory of wts. It is not part of the official indiana.edu website. This means the information must be evaluated based on the information contained within the web page, and is not automatically valid because it appears to be on a university web site.

Identify the web grammar elements in this URLs. What is the domain? Who created each web page? Is each an official part of the domain website?

Tip #4: Find who links to a site.

In Alta Vista use the “link web addess” command. This shows who links to the site and also shows how many sites link to the site. Look at the Ova Prima site, then use link www.ovaprima.org in Google or link:www.ovaprima.org in Alta Vista search windows to how many and what type of sites link to the Ova Prima site.

Tip #5: Study historical information about a site.

Use Way Back Machine at www.archive.org to find the history of a site. Enter the URL of the site in question. You can see when the website was revised. If you have a link that is no longer active but you know the URL, you can enter the URL in Way Back Machine to view the contents. Think about the implications for FaceBook and MySpace users! Yes. What you put on today will still be sitting on some computer, possibly years from now.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Fact or Fiction – Internet Librarian

Be an Internet Librarian. Use the 5W’s and the tips on URL Detective to compare the following pairs of websites. Decide if the information on each website is fact or fiction. Keep track of the steps you take to evaluate each web site. You will have to provide an annotation, a statement explaining how you know the information is valid, reliable and true facts.

Topic 1: Endangered Species

  1. Blue Poison Frog
  2. Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Topic 2: Crops

  1. California Velcro Crop under Challenge (1993)
  2. Mandarin Orange

Topic 3: Early Explorers

  1. About Explorers
  2. Explorers

Topic 4: Weather

  1. Case Analysis of a Historic Killer Tornado Event in Kansas on 10 June 1938
  2. Tornadoes

Topic 5: Dogs

  1. Burmese Mountain Dog
  2. Redbone Coon Hound

Topic 6:  A Dangerous Chemical

  1. Ban DHMO: Dihydrogen Monoxide
  2. Facts about Dihydrogen Monoxide

Topic 7: The Mind

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Several links above are from Kathy Schrock’s list

Web Site Evaluation 5Ws

5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why


  • Who published the website?
  • Who is responsible for the content found on the website?
  • What are the qualifications of the web publisher?
  • Is contact information provided?


  • What is the purpose of the site?
  • Is the information consistent with other sources?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • Are sources cited?


  • When was the site created?
  • When was the site last update?
  • Is the information recent enough to be useful?
  • Are the links up-to-date or are they broken?


  • Why would you use it? Did the site give you with the information you were researching?

Summary: OK to use? Be prepared to defend the source of information. Can you annotate the information website with a statement about how you know this is a valid, reliable, up-to-date source of information. Yes or No?

5Ws: Based on information from: Web 2.0 Applications for Children’s Services Summer/Fall 2007 – This material has been created by Bonnie L. Peirce for the Infopeople Project [infopeople.org], supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Any use of this material should credit the author and funding source.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Internet Search – Where to Start?

Search in more than one search engine. The list on NoodleTools website provides an excellent summary of places to look depending on your research topic:

Kid-Safe Search Engines

Frequently Used Search Engines

  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing
  • Ask
  • Alta Vista
  • Technorati is a search engine that searches blogs. Example of use: Technorati is a better place to find information about “Alan November” than Google because if you search for him in Google, the top links are owned by Alan November, so most of the information was written by Alan November. In the blogs you can read what people are saying about Alan November, not what Alan November is saying about himself.

*** View ICS Digital Help Web Search Strategies ***

Student Work – ICS Advertisements


    Create your own video slideshow on animoto.com. You must create a 30 second advertisement for ICS. Use your school email account to create the account on Animoto.

    Plan the following before you create the media message:

    1. What is the target audience? potential students or parents (early childhood, elementary, or middle school)
    2. What creative techniques are used to attract attention? images and music
    3. How might different people understand this message differently?
    4. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
    5. Why is this message being sent?
    6. How does the advertisement address the ICS Mission statement?

    Links to Sample Products:

    Links to other students advertisements are on the Media Literacy Wiki.

    Brand Logos


    Companies target very young children, resulting in 3-year old’s able to identify brand-name logos. The earlier the child identifies with a brand logo, the longer the company benefits. A successful logo is strong enough to be identified even from the first letter of the design. Can you identify the brands above based on the first letter of the brand name?