Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo’

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How Baby Pictures Can Help Writers

posted: 9.16.09 by Traci Gardner

I’m not very good at perspective. I never think my latest draft is good enough. Every time I skim through, I doubt I’ve made any progress.

It’s hard to see any substantial changes when we’re deep in the writing process. That’s where baby pictures can make all the difference. No, not pictures of actual babies. Baby pictures of the texts we’re working on.

Here’s an example. Take a look at How 20 popular Web sites looked when they launched. The article includes baby pictures of the most popular sites on the Internet. You’re bound to notice some significant changes when you think about the sites as they exist today. Google looks similar to the site of today, but Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo look nothing like today’s version. A comparison of past and present versions quickly demonstrates how much they’ve evolved.

You can easily arrange a similar comparison for the writers you teach. Early in their composing process, ask students to capture a photographic version of their work:

  • Save a first draft by printing out an extra copy or making a photocopy.
  • Have students take a snapshot of the first part of their texts with a webcam.
  • Take a screenshot of the work on the computer.
  • Snap an image with a cell phone or other available camera.

Next, save these baby pictures for later in the process. You can collect paper versions or have students submit files online. If you want, students might even share these first photographic images with one another and reflect a bit on their process so far.

Later in their composing process, explore websites from the Telegraph article and then ask students to make similar comparisons between the baby pictures of their work and their current versions. They’re bound to realize that they’ve made much more progress than they thinkā€”and gain some great perspective on themselves as writers.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Drafting, Revising, Writing Process
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Three Tutorials on Using Search Engines

posted: 7.20.09 by Traci Gardner

Most college students think they already know everything there is to know about using search engines. I’ve found, however, that while they can type a few words into Google or Yahoo, they need to learn a lot about more sophisticated search options and about how to sift through the results they get.

Google has announced a collection of resources that will make teaching these lessons a snap. You can either run through the three Search Education lessons yourself to brush up on your understanding of the search engine before leading class discussion or you can use the lesson materials, all created by Google Certified Teachers, as resources in your lessons themselves.

The “Summer 09 Edition” of the Google Teacher Newsletter describes what the lessons have to offer:

[Google Certified Teachers have] developed three modular lessons not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match what best fits your needs. And all of the lessons come with presentations which will help guide your classroom discussions. You’ll learn fundamentals of search (which includes judging the validity of sources), search techniques and practices (for more advanced searches), and features and functionality (to learn some neat tips and tricks).

While the lessons are far more scripted than most of us would use in the college classroom, there is plenty of stand-alone material that you can adapt and use in whatever way fits your teaching style. The lessons are broken into basic, intermediate, and advanced techniques, so you can easily find resources that will fit any classroom of students.

The lessons include great suggestions for extending the lessons as well. For instance, be sure to check out the list of hoax sites for students to practice on in the advanced Believe It or Not lesson.

Looking for more than the Google lessons offer? Check out Bedford/St. Martin’s Research and Documentation Online for additional classroom resources, including Tips for Evaluating Sources.

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Categories: Citing Sources, Finding Sources, Professional Development & Service, Research, Teaching with Technology
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