Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
We recently completed the Global Warming Student Speakout in my English classes. It makes me wonder about the differences between digital writing and traditional writing. Here are four things I've noticed:
- Revision is becoming more visible. It used to be a black box. Among other things this is significant for writing teachers (e.g. a writing conference with more evidence) as well as for the writer.
- Linkage. It feels different reading a document that can link to the source material rather than just cite it.
- Web surfing for information during collaborative projects is more conductive to the ebb and flow of conversation, and is better suited to the psychological connections our brains make.
- Audience matters. Nothing new here. Audience influenced the choices we make in traditional writing too. But a potential immediate worldwide audience that allows others to interact with the content? That seems different. Maybe Marshall McLuhan's predictions about a global tribe aren't so far off.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
On June 24, 2006 I saw Garrison Keillor perform an episode of Prairie Home Companion in Salt Lake City, and I again wondered about voice. How does a writer come by a strong voice -- where does that confidence come from? I remember the first time I heard my voice through the sound system of a big auditorium; it was unnerving. But now when I hear myself like that, it's not a big deal. Speaking from experience, I got better as a writer once I got used to my voice, and that included actually listening to my recorded voice, becoming accustomed to it, "hearing" my voice as I composed, and then making editorial decisions based this awareness of voice.
So when I had my classes write about their thoughts on 9/11 and played their recorded voice back to them, I asked them what they thought about their voice.
Do you think seniors in AP English would have more confidence in their voice than my 9th graders do? I did. But I was wrong. 63% of the seniors responded negatively (e.g. "I sound weird"), while 65% of the 9th graders felt the same (e.g. "I sound like a freak").
Do you think girls or boys have more confidence in their voice? Out of the five seniors who responded positively to the experience (e.g. "my voice sounds more professional, cool") 4 of them were boys. All six 9th graders who responded positively were boys.
I think that if I get them more accustomed to their voice, they'll be better writers. That's why I include podcasting in my curriulum.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Here's an example of a wikimapia addition I made. I labeled Gilgal Garden in Salt Lake, which is definitely a one-of-a-kind.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Recorded on my PowerBook G4 laptop with a inexpensive Logitech USB microphone using GarageBand's helium voice for the background vocal effect. The quality will be better when I record this with Ben and Zack on better equipment. But for now at least, I've entertained myself (something I can do pretty easily).
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
- Abbie and Jackie on gun control (2013)
- David's interview of Aidan McDonald, a student who's a guitarist for the band The Departure
Communiqué from the 2013 Future of Education Summit
Original post (the server that hosted these files crashed, so they no longer exist. Sorry)
Here are some examples of podcasts the students did this year in my 9th grade Journalistic Writing class. They represent a wide variety of writing modes. The students were highly engaged in the process of composing for online audio.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Turns out the students who tend to contribute most to whole group discussions responded most online. The students who responded least were the chatty ones (students whose in-class interaction was usually off-task and with their neighbor). Anybody have any thoughts on that?
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Originally uploaded by 6 Sloans.
Me and the boys outside of an abandoned mine entrance in Montana's Beartooth Mountains. The mine went back about 150 feet. Some animal had made beds out of sage and pine needles in a couple of places; it smelled really good actually. We also found a dead kangaroo rat that was still pretty fresh.I'd be lying if I didn't say that it was a little eerie, especially when we turned off our lights. There are abandoned mines all over the West. At the risk of turning this post into a bit of a Public Service Announcement, I do think that if you're going to go into an abandoned mine, you should be aware of the potential dangers.
Caves are pretty cool places (no pun intended). While this wasn't technically a cave, it reminded me of spelunking. They appear often in mythology and literature. What's your favorite underworld place – real or fictional?
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
But one of the things I really look forward to is recording with Ben Moffat and Zack Sloan. We have a band called Cicada. I host some audio files on my school's server. Here's a link if you want to listen to "Summer Swims" one of the tracks on our newest CD. I haven't quit my day job yet, so we can only get together a few precious summer days. But we have a lot of laughs on those days.
I've also begun an online memoir (using Flash). Here are links to the first two chapters. It's the first part of the last time I made it to my parents' house where I grew up. They were moving out and it was also, coincidentally, my high school class 20-year reunion. Watch these and let me know what you think.
One of my classes participated in a PBwiki project. I'll do more with that technology and more wiki collaborations with other schools next year. In the very near future more schools will be collaborating more often, and I can't help but think that the world could use a little more education -- a little more peace, love and understanding these days. Since we did that I've thought more about the people who are creating those online collaboration places. Writely is getting a lot of press these days, but what about Writeboard or ZohoWriter? Does anybody out there think one of these three is the best? Or is there another one that I've overlooked?