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Tuesday , December 18 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: writing

Tag Archives: writing

Op-Ed: Are we Teaching our Kids to Write Like This?

I was turned on to this article some time ago that appeared in the New York Times Magazine “A Game of Shark and Minnow” which describes the story of eight men in the Philippine Navy on an abandoned ship in the South China Sea who stand guard against the Chinese Navy.

While the story is interesting, what really drew my attention was the way that the story was presented. If you just casually scroll through the story, you will see that it is presented in multiple formats:

  • Text
  • Photos
  • Movies
  • Audio
  • Maps
(Photo by Ashley Gilbertson / VII Photo)

Writing in the 21st century is far more than simply writing text. Writing in the 21st Century involves all of the above. Maybe even more.

Check out this video for instance:  How many words would it take to describe what is presented in that short video?

The point is, I think that almost no one would argue that this is a powerful way to present information.

 

A powerful way to write.

Think about it: You probably, unless you were truly interested in the topic, would have skipped over a text only, on the paper page article about eight guys on a boat in the South China Sea.

But I bet that once you logged onto the article, you started scrolling through it, looking for the videos, looking for the interactivity. You spent a lot more time on the article, I bet, than you would have if it were simply text.

Writing in the 21st century should be inclusive of ALL the ways we now have to easily integrate items into writing:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Photo
  • Hyperlinks
  • Animations
  • and of course, text.

Look at the list: What are we spending most of our time teaching kids to do? It is text.

The written word. I bet if we graphed out most of our classes, students are spending the vast, vast majority of time communicating in text in one form or another.

Text, text text.

We are supposed to address the learning needs of different students, but we address their communication needs all the same.

Are you a visual learner? Good write in text. Are you an audio learner? Good, write in text. Are you a kinesthetic learner? Good, write in text.

Get the idea?

That is where digital storytelling comes in. Digital storytelling, or digital communication in general, addresses all of those “non-text”

Luckily, there are those out there that have decided to take up the digital storytelling mantle:

Digitales Nice introductory site to digital storytelling. I would like to see more inclusive ideas here, about how DS can be used in various curricular areas.

David Jakes has a site about Digital Storytelling here. Some of the links are broken, but you can find good basic info here as well as link to some tools.

Here is a nice collection on Diigo on digital storytelling tools:

What would happen if a teacher said this:

In your report/paper/lab/thing that you must turn in to me, you must include the following:

  • Photos
  • a short video with audio
  • text
  • a hyperlink

Why should you start incorporating digital storytelling into student writing? According to this article, there are several plusses when students write in a digital storytelling mode:

  • It develops creativity and critical thinking
  • Students who are shy or afraid to talk in class get a chance to speak out their minds
  • It empowers students voice to deliver rich, deep message that is capable of conveying a powerful message.
  • It helps students explore the meaning of their own experience, give value to it, and communicate that experience with others.
  • It promotes the notions of life long learning and independent learning
  • It develops students communicative skills
  • It is a reflective process that helps students reflect upon their learning and find deep connections with the subject matter of a course or with an out-of-class experience.
  • It fosters students sense of individuality
  • It also gives students an opportunity to experiment with self-representation and establish their identity
  • Students creating digital stories develop proficiency with multimedia applications

What is wrong with a goal of having student write and communicate in a fashion that looks like the New York Times Magazine article?

Nothing is wrong with it. In fact, it should be the norm, not the exception.

***

Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.

Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.

Art on Film: Want to Write a Movie Script?

Have you ever seen a movie (of course, we all have) and wondered, “I can write something like that,” or “I hated the ending, it should have ended like this” and didn’t much do anything about it but just think about it?

How would you like to write your own script? Yes, that’s right, it’s very simple and totally free. The only thing you need is your imagination!

There are certain websites out there that help you write a screenplay in MOVIE FORMAT. Anyone can write a script, but to be truly professional, you need to know the format, you need to know the lingo and you need to know how to write movies. Television format is different from Movie format and as well as Comic Book format.

They all have a format to them, but if you’re just interested in writing a good script, either short or feature length, you need to know at least some of the preferences.

Adobe.com has a great script writing program that is not only free, but you don’t need to download any software. You can do it all at their website. You can save it, modify it and import old scripts you’ve written. Just go to storywriter.amazon.com and you’ll be set.

Adobe formats everything for you from start to finish, all you need to know is what each of the segments mean. It’s very simple really, once you jump in, you’ll get the hang of it. And if you’re having trouble, you can always check out their troubleshooting link or just go to your trusty old youtube and search for Adobe Storywriter Tutorial.

There are, of course, books by screenwriters that describe in-depth the structure of writing a movie. You also have the use of the internet search engines where you can download your favorite movie scripts or view at their page. It all depends on the websites; and learn that writing style.

Each writer has their own way of writing, but all of the scripts fall under the same format. Find your writing style!

Start with a short story and go from there. If you don’t have an idea for a movie, just go outside and look at your surroundings. Go to a park, go to the zoo, go watch a movie or listen to some music, or read a book or a newspaper. You’re creative, you just need to pay attention to that creativity.

You can also go to www.celtx.com to write scripts, it’s a free website, but you need to download the program.

Now, when you’ve gotten the groove of things and want to try professional writing software, that’s all up to you.

Lots of screenwriters use either Final Draft or Movie Magic, but after working with Adobe Storywriter, I’ve found a new program that I will continue to use. I like the font that is used and I like the ease of writing.

So, go out there and start WRITING!

Best,

Arturo

The Art ON Writing: Troubleshooting Writer’s Block

When I first began writing my first screenplay, I went through what every writer goes through, that dreaded “writer’s block!” It’s an irritating problem for us writers because it doesn’t just hinder your writing, but it keeps you from writing!

When it gets you, it gets you and it causes you to stop and possibly start a new writing project. Well, it did to me. You see how I said, “did?” That’s because it doesn’t happen to me anymore. I’ve found a way around that pesky nuisance. I call it a “loop hole” in the quantum entanglement parallel dimensional torsion field generator collider mechanism we call our brain.

If you are having trouble with writer’s block, I have some great ways to get you around it and finish that book, script or whatever it is that you’re writing. This is what I do. I don’t think of what to write next. You see, that’s the problem. You don’t need to writer what’s going to happen next. You can always come to that later. And trust me, it WILL come to you later. Just begin writing over that bump in the road and come to it later.

That’s one of my techniques. Here’s the other, and it may sound crazy to some of you, but hear me out on this one. When I began writing, I was just trying to write what I’ve either read in books, heard on the radio or saw on TV. You’re only trying to copy that structure. STOP! You don’t have to try to match someone else’s storyline.

When I write, my characters actually come to life. They have their own lives, talk their own talk, walk their own walk and run freely. I just follow ‘suit. I run with whatever my characters do. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Think of it as Dr. Frankenstein creating his monster. He finds the parts, puts the pieces together and at the end, he gives his creation LIFE! IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!

If you have fun with your writing, the possibilities are endless on overcoming that writer’s block, which is just a silly bump in the road. Put an “X” on it and come back to it later. The best way of coming up with a way to resolve your block is simply not thinking about . How many times have you forgotten someone’s name only to remember it when you’re not even thinking about it? It COMES TO YOU! Like Karma; in a good way.

Don’t follow structure. Forget about following the rules, Think outside the box. If you’re still having problems. Just get up, stretch, have some food, go outside and take in the outside world to clear your mind, then go back in and sit down and just simply begin writing. The words will pour out of you like sweat on a horse. Wait… Well, you know what I mean. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just clear your mind and write.

I find it that listening to music clears my head. Especially music that deals with what I’m writing. Let’s say I’m going to write a 1930s detective noir. I listen to music from that era. Or if I’m writing a story about baseball, I listen to baseball on the radio or on TV if it’s playing or listen to old Harry Caray (RIP) sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”

Do what you must, but don’t think too much or that dreaded Writer’s Block will surely make a mess of you.

If you have any questions about writing, filmmaking, writing, television, writing, movies, or anything paranormal, yes, paranormal; I’m a ghost investigator as well, just leave a comment and I will try to answer them “asbestos” I can. 🙂

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