ISTE 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

ISTE 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

What tools are available for ELA students to organize research papers that allow students to develop critical thinking and make a clear arguable thesis through decision-making skills?

After I posed my trigger question, I investigated some of the suggested links provided on the module outline. As I explored these numerous links, I felt that mind maps would be an effective resource for students to organize their research, which should be structured around their arguable thesis. I feel that (Links to an external site.) is an effective and simple platform which students should use. This visual tool does necessitate students to develop an arguable thesis, which should be supported by each bubble of the mind map. Students can use this tool to identify and decide which bubbles most effectively support their arguable thesis. serves as more than a “substitution” method because it enhances students ability to reorganize and edit their mind maps compared to a traditional paper copy. That being said, I feel that this user friendly mind map requires a limited amount of critical thinking and decision-making skills.

I developed an idea from the suggested link to Newspaper Map (,-68.35391,7z (Links to an external site.), in order to facilitate high-levels of thinking, which is highlighted in my trigger question. Through The Newseum website, (Links to an external site.), I thought it would be a beneficial for students to compare and contrast two of the top-5 national newspapers in current circulation. Students would be assigned to analyze these newspapers and form an arguable thesis supported by concrete details. This requires students to analyze objectivity, tone, and intention in order to create an arguable thesis statement. Bates states (n.d.), “If media then vary both in the way they present information symbolically and in the way they handle the structures required within different subject areas, media which best match the required mode of presentation and the dominant structure of the subject matter need to be selected.” In this instance, technology provides all students the opportunity to view the front pages of major national newspapers. In a related assignment, The Newseum website (Links to an external site.) allows students to view local newspapers’ front pages and analyze how they have changed over time. There are many different variations to this assignment, for instance, looking at media coverage in different regions of the United States and/or world. This incorporates not only analyzing media coverage, but facilitates critical thinking and decision making skills.

Lastly, it is brought to my attention to by a group member that The Newseum also archives front pages of important historical events. This capability could be utilized to analyze media and give students a real-life example of the media coverage during that select time period. Students could also look at how different newspapers covered the same historical event. This activity would align with “CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.9 (Links to an external site.): Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.”

All of these activities further students’ skills in relation to “ISTE 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.” Students are required to look at multiple different sources and identify similarities and differences. Also, students must take into account social, political, and historical factors that influence media coverage. With students increased exposure to media it is important they begin analyzing outlets with a critical eye to ensure objectivity and identify various biases.


Bates, A. W. (n.d.). Pedagogical differences between media. In Teaching in a digital age (7). Retrieved from


About powelli

Seattle Pacific University Graduate Student - Master's in Teaching - Anticipated Graduation August, 2016.
This entry was posted in Critical Thinking, Media, Problem Solving, Research, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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