Archive for Weekend Tech

Weekend Tech: Tweets are still #funny

 

In yesterday’s post I referenced The New York Times Article, Writer’s New Form: Tweet-Up Comedy.  One of the most interesting components to the piece was WitStream, an aggregator of humorous tweets.  Now I think WitStream is simply genius.  It helps that Michael Ian Black is one of the brains behind it, and I do like the idea of a “24 hour live comedy ticker.”  I am not recommending that you show the website/posts in their entirety to your students.  It can be a minefield.  Instead, take a screenshot of appropriate WitStream posts.  See example below:

Read more

Weekend Tech: Tweets are #funny

Twitter is funny.  Actually, The Onion’s tweets are funny.  And idislikestephen, and monkeysee, and David Pell, and…you get the point.  I troll Twitter looking for my humorous “tweet” fix on a semi-regular basis.  I’m not sure it’s as bad as my coffee problem, but it’s a habit.

The New York Times ran a story this past Sunday entitled Writer’s New Form: Tweet-Up Comedy.  It’s a great read about how writers for late night talk shows use Twitter as their testing ground for zingers.  It is entirely possible, after reading it, that I spent several hours on Twitter scouring these types of tweets while snorting in an incredibly unattractive way. Read more

Weekend Tech: Occupy Wall Street

Yesterday we offered Transcendentalism and image analysis in conjunction with with the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Today we examine All the King’s Men and satire.  See our ideas below!

Teaching All the King’s Men & Huey Long with Occupy Wall Street

Willie Stark makes multiple speeches throughout All the King’s Men, but most of them deal with being a regular, small town, average joe.  Examining Huey Long, Willie Stark’s flesh and blood counterpart, is where Occupy Wall Street comparisons become more direct.

These two clips have shades of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  Both suggest a certain level of dissatisfaction with current government.  It would be easy to use Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog Primer about Occupy Wall Street, as well as his Q & A witth anthropologist David Graeber from 10/3/11, to give students a basis for linking Huey Long to today.  Even just using the Q&A on its own is a great way to incorporate media literacy into the classroom. See our other post on the NBA lockout and Q&As.

 

Teaching Satire with Occupy Wall Street

As I said on Saturday, The Onion has been on fire this week with humorous tweets about Occupy Wall Street.  All of them can easily be used to discuss satire, voice, diction, syntax and argument.  We like tweets and using them in the classroom as “hooks” or quick diction/syntax analysis.  See our post about tweets remembering Steve Jobs from several weeks ago.

 

The cover of The New Yorker is also a great resource for both teaching satire and image analysis.  See their recent cover on the “occupation.”

And while it isn’t satire, I would be remiss not to mention this list from what else but The New Yorker.  John Cassidy hosts the blog Rational Irrationality and his list of “Top-Ten Unlikely Occupy Wall Street Supporters” links to great arguments from big names about the movements.  It’s useful once again for point of view, voice and argument analysis.

If all of this isn’t enough for you, checkout The New York Times Learning Network’s extensive Occupy Wall Street post with classroom resources.  You can’t go wrong!

Weekend Tech: Occupy Wall Street

While I considered using Weekend Tech to discuss Zanesville, Ohio and exotic animals, I decided against it.  It was too bizarre, and even though I laughed when NPR used “Pumped Up Kicks” as background music to discuss this story, I knew it was because I’m a bad person.  The Occupy Wall Street movement seemed like a more versatile idea, especially since The Onion had some incredibly humorous tweets this week.  Everything from infographics, to image analysis, The Onion to literature tie-ins is in store this weekend.  What more could you want? Aside from some appropriate background music of course.

Occupy Wall Street Infographic

Last year The Learning Network at The New York Times created a “starter” kit for using infographics in the classroom.  It’s a valuable resource if you’re not familiar with infographics or how to implement them.  What do I like about infographics?  Well they are everywhere.  Newspapers, magazines, even The Onion creates infographics in jest for public consumption.

The website Visual.ly is a vast resource for infographics.  The infographic titled, “The State of American Discontent” is a perfect supplement when discussing this movement.  It fills the role of media literacy and still teaches argument, purpose, tone, etc.  Amending the SOAPSTone format slightly here is useful because the same categories still apply.  Use it even as an argument analysis. Analysis could include: types of data presented, organization of the information, even images used to convey the data.

Occupy Wall Street to teach Image Analysis and Transcendentalism

I’ve posted before that The New Yorker has fantastic blog resources.  What caught my eye this week was the blog Photobooth.  The series of images taken of protesters at Zucotti Park is remarkable. What makes the “slideshow” thought provoking is that each protestor in the series is photographed alone.  Their cardboard signs are the central focus of each shot.  Representing a range of ages and occupations it’s a great way to practice some of the image analysis techniques we’ve previously posted about.  It’s also a great physical representation of Transcendenalist ideals, especially Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.

Weekend Tech: NBA Lockout

Many online news sources participate in weekly Q & As.  I often find myself saddened by the fact that I never seem to have the time to include myself in the conversation.  I sadly console myself, however, with the archived texts.  These Q & As are valuable resources for discussing ethos/logos and authorial voice.  I find that students struggle to understand and identify these.

Since Q & As are short exchanges everything must be condensed.  It gives students a great opportunity to examine how “discussion leaders,” even when prodded, stay on task and logical.  Have students read, write, or discuss.  You could easily treat each question and answer as a short passage.  You can also have students examine the angrier language used in the questions versus the even responses of the answers.  Below are some screenshots from the Q & A with Scott Rosner at The Washington Post this week on the topic of (what else) the NBA Lockout.

 

Using Online Q & As

Example #1

 

Example #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Tech: NBA Lockout

Nothing makes me pay attention like the headline “Federal Mediator to Step into NBA Lockout.”  It’s a giant train wreck unfolding.  There is something ironic in the fact that the NBA is tweeting about their own demise.

 

The idea of giving students a current topic to read/write over isn’t a new one.  Everyone uses this idea.  But this weekend we’ll up the stakes a little bit by looking at some different types of online sources to teach rhetorical appeals and voice.

Examining Headlines

One of the easiest ways to talk about rhetorical appeals or voice is to look at smaller sections of text.  Practicing with smaller sections ensures that students don’t get overwhelmed in a sea of text and then quit.  Headlines are great for a mini lesson.  Have students write about the word choice in some/all of the headlines below.  At the very least you can have them practice some solid synonyms for tone.  You can see from the range below that they range from the practical, to the apathetic, to the angry.

NBA lockout: Owners, players can’t solve issues fans wish they had

Tracee Hamilton, The Washington Post

 

NBA lockout: Sound and Fury signifying, nothing

Mike Wise, The Washington Post

 

NBA Benefits Plan Typical…For Millionaire Ballplayers

Maxwell Murphy, The Wall Street Journal

 

NBA Lockout? Wake us when it’s over

Patrick Hruby, The Washington Times

 

NBA Lockout Presses Small-Business Owners

Emily Maltby and Sarah E Needleman, The Wall Street Journal

 

Necessity Dictates Fewer Games, but Sanity Makes a Case, Too

Richard Sandomir, The New York Times

 

NBA Players Should accept pay cut, get back to work

Bill Plaschke, The LA Times

Weekend Tech: Steve Jobs

There were three apples that changed the world: Eve's, Newton's and Steve's.

Yesterday we talked about Steve Jobs and how to use public outpourings of grief as a way to teach everything from argument to media literacy.  Today we continue by looking at some other choices.  I know that the below link don’t do justice to what exists. They do however provide varied points of view.  Click around and let us know if you have other resources/ideas.

Mourning Steve Jobs: The Purpose of Public Grief

Leave it to The New Yorker.  While I profiled their Back Issues Blog yesterday, the quality of their articles is undeniable.  Today we look at an article from the News Desk.  It’s perfect for student use in class.  They can practice annotating for SOAPSTone and evaluating O’Rourke’s argument.  What’s useful about this article is that it also includes links to other memorials which means a “multi-layered” media literacy strand.  Read more

Weekend Tech: Steve Jobs

Everybody was talking about it and by everybody I mean all of my students.  I expect them to discuss reality television, the NBA lockout, even homecoming requests on Facebook.   But I don’t expect detailed conversations about Steve Jobs.  Not from high schoolers. And certainly not in a meaningful way.  But the way they talked about Jobs got me thinking.  They were right.  The reaction in the last several days has been remarkable.

Teaching is about opportunity presenting itself and this a chance to for meaningful discussion, writing, analysis, anotation. Having students study/discuss these online “memorials” teaches a variety of skills: media literacy, memorializing in modern culture, the impact of social media, our “relationship” to public figures, the importance of technology, technology innovation and so on.   All of it’s critical thinking.  Who are we as a society in relationship to this loss?  This weekend I’ll post some of the best “remembrances” for classroom use.

Pitch Me Another: Apple’s Ads
The New Yorker’s Back Issues blog put together a retrospective of Apple advertising spanning the last several decades. It’s great especially the advertisement from 1984.  An easy way to do evaluate advertising, assess a change over time in audience expectations, even print advertising’s use of word choice.

Twitter’s Top Trending Topics: #iSad and #thankyousteve

The the word choice in the hashtags alone is meaningful.  iSad sounds so much like loneliness.  Like loss.  Like grief.  Even I can barely stand it and thankyousteve sounds almost like the closing of a letter or email or text.  Now perhaps I’ve been manipulated by all the media coverage too but it is fascinating.  The language is meaningful and economical.  Consider class discussion, writing prompt, or big picture analysis.

Here are some useful tweets:

David Pell 

Mark Zuckerberg

Joeykirk

NPR’s Monkey See