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What is Remedial Writing?

by | Posted December 17th, 2012

“Remediation is not new, and unless we have an unprecedented transformation of our social order and educational institutions, it will be with us for some time to come. As long as we continue to hold onto the ideal of educational opportunity, we will need remediation to help correct an imperfect educational system” (Mike Rose Back to School 96).

What are we talking about when we say remedial writing classes? The writing programs, students, and content of these classes are the subject of much debate and good, thoughtful work.

You can trace a history of remediation from the words used to describe it over the last few decades: bonehead English, basic writing, preparatory writing, and writing intensive. You can see the types of learning and assumptions about students’ abilities that are implied in each of these names. Bonehead English brings to mind skills and drills, worksheets, grammar and red ink. Basic writing conjures correct simple sentences, moving on to the well-formed paragraph, perhaps advancing as far as the five-paragraph essay for entrance exams. Preparatory writing classes suggest that students are being prepared to write longer essays, perhaps through an emphasis on the writing process. In these classes, genres like the personal narrative open a sequence of assignments that perhaps moves students into defining, serializing, comparing, and, finally, analyzing—all as a practice run for the college writing class. And writing intensive classes? Think preparatory writing and add to it more contact hours and longer page-length requirements. (more…)

From MindShift: “How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom”

by | Posted December 13th, 2012

Gone are the days of teachers yelling at students to put their cell phones away, or threatening to confiscate them. Instead, many teachers are resorting to using cell phones to help aid learning in their classroom. Mind/Shift  brings us an article displaying ways that cell phones can work in the classroom. Whether it be through cell phones, iPads, or other modern technology, Ramsey Mussallam, the teacher showcased in this article, finds a way to use the technology in every aspect of his classroom. Students today are already glued to every piece of technology they have, so why not use it to help them learn? Put away your threats, teachers. Embracing the modern advances will help your students and you!

Where do you come up with your best ideas?

by | Posted December 12th, 2012

Ask 100 people where they do their best thinking, and you’ll receive as many answers. When we ask friends this question, sometimes we hear “the shower, the ride home, during yoga.” It’s true that routine and repeated acts, no matter where they happen, can be great for thinking. But, if most of us want to invent really great ideas, we don’t just shower more — we read and write more. And that means we seek out settings where we can focus attention and access important resources at the same time.

Panoramic shot of Bessey 317

This combination of focus and access might be what makes the Bessey 317 classroom on Michigan State’s campus so special. Though Stacey has been away from Michigan State for a while, she remembers Bessey 317 as a playroom full of things that support experimenting and seeing things differently: bright colors, plush toys, objects to touch, bend and stack. Those things live alongside more traditional composing technologies: crayons, a scanner and printer, and of course, computers. (more…)

From Neatorama: “Potential Employer Critiques Applicants Cover Letter”

by | Posted December 12th, 2012

We have all been there; the high pressured moment of writing a cover letter for that job you’re dying to have. Could you be making fatal mistakes in your cover letters? Neatorama brings us a wonderful example of these mistakes, when a potential employer critiques an applicant’s cover letter. While some of the remarks may be a little snarky and harsh, everybody that will ever have to write a cover letter (that means you!) should take a look at this article. Prevent yourself from making these same mistakes and missing out on that awesome job opportunity.

From Brain Pickings: “Joan Didion On Keeping a Notebook”

by | Posted December 11th, 2012

“what compels us — what propels us — to record our impressions of the present moment in all their fragile subjectivity.” –Joan Didion

Why do we feel the need to share certain moments of our lives? Do these moments, that seemlingly hold importance for us, hold the same importance for others? Most likely not. Maybe we find them interesting, maybe we find them funny. For whatever reason, many people today are making a “notebook” or diary out of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any other social media platform. Brain Pickings brings us Joan Didion’s On Keeping a Notebook which goes through Didion’s book about notebooks and relates it to the modern day notebook that is social media.

From ReadWrite Play: How Social Media Impacts Music Sales

by | Posted December 10th, 2012

Yup, Social Media Really Does Drive Music Sales” on ReadWrite changes the way for artists and performers. According to recent studies, there is a correlation between an artist’s social media presence and their album sales. This just proves that it’s true that social media is becoming a vital part of every profession, a vital part of life. You can fight it all you want to, but it could just end up hurting you, and the profession you’re trying to succeed at. As long as you use it correctly, your social media platform can boost you up in this modern day world.


Social Writing and a Space Shuttle – MSUPW at NASA

by | Posted December 10th, 2012

Mike and Alexandra with Atlantis

Yes, that’s two #msupw folks – Mike McLeod, faculty, and Alexandra White, alum – with a space shuttle. This happened because we were both selected to attend the NASA Social Atlantis – Celebrate the Journey event to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis be permanently retired from service and share that experience on social media. We attended this event first as unabashed space nerds, but we managed our nerdery well enough to strategize our writing to document the experience for ourselves and for our audiences. Here we’ll reflect on the rhetoric of the event, our social writing strategies, and shamelessly geek out over space.

About NASA Social

NASA Social is a semi-regular event NASA has been hosting since 2009 in which members of its social media following are invited to high-profile events and given media credentials, affording them some behind-the-scenes access that the general public never gets – NASA calls this “pulling back the curtain.” These events vary from the launches of satellites and space shuttles to speaking events with NASA celebrities and, in our case, the retirement of famous spacecraft. (more…)

From Mindshift: When to Use iPads

by | Posted December 8th, 2012

This article discusses some of the questions or issues associated with using iPads or other tablet devices in the classroom. “10 Important Questions To Ask Before Using iPads in Class” covers questions of use, what some of the advantages would be, and what possible disadvantages or problems could pop up. iPads could be very useful for filming projects, peer editing in class, along with many other possibilities.