Skip to main content

Poet Posts...

I have several blogs, some public and some not-so-public. This blog is specifically for ramblings on "digital writing" and how we might use new technologies to improve the writing skills of students. My other blogs range from photos of my cats to updates on life in Minnesota so my friends can share in my adventures. In some ways, these are the same uses students have: vanity sites (who else cares about my cats?) and keeping in touch with friends. The question we need to ask is if using these technologies can improve writing in ways other tools might not. Or, are we merely entertaining students with new toys, deceiving ourselves into thinking what is more exciting must result in more learning.

I am a skeptic, having been a business owner, corporate executive, and college administrator. Technology might not only do little good, it might encourage bad habits and mistaken notions of what is acceptable when writing later in life.

My first required posts will be this weekend. I've never bothered with YouTube or online videos because video tends to hurt my eyes and cause literal physical discomfort. I have seen YouTube videos on television and wonder why people would seek out such things. Let us hope the video blogs I view are somewhat more appealing. Just seeing what is listed as "most popular" on YouTube and MySpace should scare any social critic.

I'm not sure asking students to frequent sites best known for videos of profane comedy and stupid stunts ending badly is wise. Maybe I can be convinced otherwise, but I am a skeptic.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Slowly Rebooting in 286 Mode

The lumbar radiculopathy, which sounds too much like "ridiculously" for me, hasn't faded completely. My left leg still cramps, tingles, and hurts with sharp pains. My mind remains cloudy, too, even as I stop taking painkillers for the back pain and a recent surgery.

Efforts to reboot and get back on track intellectually, physically, and emotionally are off to a slow, grinding start. It reminds me of an old 80286 PC, the infamously confused Intel CPU that wasn't sure what it was meant to be. And this was before the "SX" fiascos, which wedded 32-bit CPU cores with 16-bit connections. The 80286 was supposed to be able to multitask, but design flaws resulted in a first-generation that was useless to operating system vendors.

My back, my knees, my ankles are each making noises like those old computers.

If I haven't already lost you as a reader, the basic problem is that my mind cannot focus on one task for long without exhaustion and multitasking seems…

MarsEdit and Blogging

MarsEdit (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Mailing posts to blogs, a practice I adopted in 2005, allows a blogger like me to store copies of draft posts within email. If Blogger, WordPress, or the blogging platform of the moment crashes or for some other reason eats my posts, at least I have the original drafts of most entries. I find having such a nicely organized archive convenient — much easier than remembering to archive posts from Blogger or WordPress to my computer.

With this post, I am testing MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software based on recent reviews, including an overview on 9to5Mac.

Composing posts an email offers a fast way to prepare draft blogs, but the email does not always work well if you want to include basic formatting, images, and links to online resources. Submitting to Blogger via Apple Mail often produced complex HTML with unnecessary font and paragraph formatting styles. Problems with rich text led me to convert blog entries to plaintext in Apple Mail and then format th…

Screenwriting Applications

Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action descriptions. "O.S."=off screen. Written in Final Draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A lot of students and aspiring writers ask me if you "must" use Final Draft or Screenwriter to write a screenplay. No. Absolutely not, unless you are working on a production. In which case, they own or your earn enough for Final Draft or Screenwriter and whatever budget/scheduling apps the production team uses.

I have to say, after trying WriterDuet I would use it in a heartbeat for a small production company and definitely for any non-profit, educational projects. No question. The only reason not to use it is that you must have the exclusive rights to a script... and I don't have those in my work.

WriterDuet is probably best free or low-cost option I have tested. It is very interesting. Blows away Celtx. The Pro version with off-line editing is cheaper than Final Draft or Screenwriter.

The Pro edition is a standalone, offline versio…