Is Your Creativity Being Stifled by Your iPhone?

What do you do while waiting in line, sitting in class, or even laying in bed at night, before you fall asleep? Most people would say they reach for their iPhone and check social media, play a game, or even check email. The smart phone was the ultimate cure for boredom. But what effect does this cure have on us?

A recent post on Read Write explores the possibility that the iPhone is killing a person’s creativity. The average user spends more than two hours a day on their phone, with the majority of that time being “wasted” on surfing the web, checking social networks, and playing games.

While spending your free time on your phone may not seem all that bad, this post reminds us that boredom may be a good thing. “Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire have conducted research into the potential upsides of boredom and found that the time we spend daydreaming could improve our creative ability.”

The verdict is still out, however, as many users argue that phones can also help enhance creativity. Do you think the cultural phenomenon of the smart phone is killing creativity? Let us know @msuwrac.

From Cool Infographics: “Social Network Overload”

A large portion of the population is addicted to Twitter, Facebook, or some other form of social media. A lot of you reading this probably got to this post from a link on Twitter, right? I thought so.

This post from Cool Infographics demonstrates the “Social Network Overload.” A lot of people feel unplugged if they don’t check their social media accounts. 62% of people are afraid they will miss something if they don’t check, and 40% of people said they would rather run a marathon, get a root canal, or wait in line at the DMV than get rid of their social profile.

Are you a victim of social media overload? Check the rest of this infographic to find out!

From My Modern Met: The Keyboard Couch

This is pretty much the coolest couch, ever. Designed based on the theory that “sooner or later, at home or at work, we all end up by falling asleep on our computers keyboard.” With that, these designers created this soft, comfy sofa bed, designed to look like a keyboard.

What’s more, the couch is completely customizable by remote. Each cushion, or key if you may, can be adjusted to any height.

I want this couch in my home! Do you? Check out more pictures here.

From Creative Market: “2013 Font Trends”

Each year there are new trends in technology, hairstyles, and fashion that people try to keep up with. The same is true for fonts. Whether you are aware of it or not, some people are following font trends each year.

Popular designs for 2013 are grunge fonts, which give your work some extra attitude; big and bold fonts, perfect for creating amazing headlines; handwritten fonts for personality; and stencil fonts, for a blast from the past.


What is your favorite type of font? Do you follow any font trends?

PW Students Offer Feedback to MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars

In Professional Writing, students learn a wide variety of skills, ranging from web design, to grant writing, to editing. Along with learning these skills, Professional Writing students have the opportunity to focus on real life situations and apply these skills on projects with real clients. Stuart Blythe’s WRA 202: Introduction to Professional Writing class got the opportunity to work with the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) on projects concerning international student relations.

OISS is an office that prides itself on giving support to MSU’s international students, scholars, and families. They provide advising, help with immigration standards, and conduct orientations to help international students adjust to life at MSU. They also serve as a liason between US Government agencies, foreign embassies, and sponsors, and provide opportunities for growth at MSU.

Over the course of the semester, the WRA 202 students worked on two different projects for OISS.

Their first task was to redesign the program’s Curricular Practical Training (CPT) forms. These forms are used by international students in order to get work-study internships in the US. Prior to the PW students’ help, these forms were overly long and instruction heavy, and were often being filled out incorrectly by students. Kelsi Lerner claims this project helped develop her skills as a professional writer, especially in regards to audience. “Not only did the projects have to be clear and simple enough for your average reader to understand, but also an International student who may have a minimal understanding of the English language. I think in this way, the projects really helped me understand how to write well, not just subjectively speaking, but also for the audience that my writing is directed at.”

The second project was to design a communications strategy for OISS with the goal of increasing interaction between international and US students. OISS wanted to increase attendance at their events to help international students form relationships here at MSU. In order to do this, the students researched relations on campus among US and international students, and brainstormed ways to encourage students to participate more in outreach events planned by OISS. Anna Meyers, a student in the 202 class, said that “the biggest challenge in this assignment was coming up with something new. We had to think of a strategy that hadn’t been done before.” (more…)

“Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning”

“the best kind of learning comes as a result of well-designed experiences.”

– James Paul Gee

That quote, given by Gee at the Learning and the Brain Conference, leads into his 10 truths about video games and how they can help aid learning. The belief that video games do nothing but waste time, time that could be spent learning, can be laid to rest. Here’s why:

  • Video games have motivation, clear goals, and immediate feedback. These are all important values in learning
  • Video Games reduce the need for testing. They are a type of learning that is designed so that you cannot get to the next level until complete the previous, mastering the skills.
  • They motivate learning and teach kids to love being challenged
  • Video games encouraging risk taking, because the cost of failure is relatively low. In a video game, if you fail, you get to start over, where as in school, the consequences can be much higher.

These, along with the other six truths, show exactly why video games can be helpful for learning. You can also hear more from Gee in the video below.

Watch Extended Interview: Dr. James Gee on PBS. See more from Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.

From Restronaut: “Top 10 Most Sarcastic Flapper Slang Words”

Everybody enjoys a little slang. Especially when it comes from a time period like the ’20s. Restronaut feeds this enjoyment with sarcastic flapper slang. A potato isn’t a “starchy, tuberous crop” like we know it, but instead it’s a young man shy of brains. A corn shredder is a young man who dances on a girl’s feet and a face stretcher is an old maid who tries to look young.

Read more sarcastic flapper slang! Maybe you can work some of it into your daily language!