Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Feature Articles Have Something Important To Say

I read an article this morning that shows some of the different expert opinions on the effects of exposure to "web 2.0" on the development of your brain. There is a lot of research on how the digital connections we make and how the brain wires itself as a result. I am linking to an article here about it and hoping you'll read it and share your opinion on the subject.



The main reason I post this though is to show you that good feature articles try to make some kind of impact on the reader. They try to be deep, not shallow. Think about that in your own writing.

Learning 2.0: How digital networks are changing the rules

By Mélanie L. Sisley

March 8, 2011

Link to the article and check it out and get back to me and tell me...

 what do you think?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Catchy Titles/ Headlines/ Charlie Sheen!

Ok, so this is kind of a technical topic, but one that is important.  What's in a name?  You know how when your parents name you it generally doesn't predict the kind of person that you are going to turn out to be? (although I'm sure there are exceptions -- like Johnny Cash's song Boy Named Sue explains), sometimes the name itself generates interest, is memorable, and makes people take notice.  Give a person a name like, oh, I don't know - Barrack, and perhaps one day that person's name recognition will be key to their success.

When you create a piece of writing, a song, a poem, a story, an essay, or create a piece of art like a movie, a play, a sculpture, or create a scientific or technical masterpiece, like the telephone, or like Angry Birds, the name can be a great predictor of success.  Here's the thing - there are usually several usable good choices, you just need something that captures the readers attention (put Charlie Sheen in the title and your story or whatever else should go global overnight), but the catch is it should have a certain tie-in to what it is introducing.   Imagine the toughest looking guy you can.  Now think of the wimpiest name you can, now imagine them put together.  Funny right?  But not effective.  Some English tools that help to generate great titles are:

parallel phrasing
taking a memorable line from the piece and using that
a play on words if appropriate

Anyway, post a list of the best (or worst) titles you can think of and say why they're so good (or bad).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feature Article Discussion

      So today in class we talked about the longevity study as found in O magazine.  I always find it interesting when there is such a huge departure from what we think is common wisdom on a subject, especially on a study that was conducted for such a long period of time (you'd think it would have a great deal of credibility considering that it has taken place over a long period of time).  I think this is a good example of a feature article that is interesting and informative; not necessarily earth shattering but entertaining.

     Another thing I read yesterday was about how a certain class of Vancouver grade 12 kids felt about school.  Specifically what they remembered from their grade 6 school year and what they thought was important to them(not one thing they listed when asked was academic) .  They also voiced their opinion on the infusion of technology into their learning.  Their answers were somewhat surprising to me about that, and in a way weren't surprising at all.  Read on by linking to the blog here:   http://cultureofyes.ca/2011/02/23/kids-report-school-is-just-fine-sort-of/

Become part of the discussion by answering one, some or all of the questions below:

What do you remember about grade 6?
What is your opinion about changes to the way you learn / I teach?
What is your take on what these students have to say?