Where’d you put my laser pointer, Bart?


Voice: "Will the revolution be blogged?"
All the people: "Hell yeah!" 

Got that out the way.  It’s been said a time or two–it won’t be
blogged, it will be blogged, it won’t be blogged–so many daisy petals, so few
revolutions.  I’m wanting to talk shop here, talk pedagogy tonight, but I’m
in the midst of a set of mini-essays from humanities on Geertz’ Balinese
cockfight and the notion of common ground.  Sore eyes.  A few loose
ends of prep for Thursday a.m.

About that: we’re using the EN106
this week as a note-sharing space.  I’m using all of the links
from TWiaOW
for the Point/PowerPoint sequence and then some.  We’re basically
reading the issue of efficiency in poorly conceived slide shows–the rationing
of language brought on by bullet points with the ever-popular PP program. 
We’re also using the sequence as a way to talk about the articles and
information credibility, especially as it applies to blog entries.  Here
are the links from the PPT sequence, in case anyone is interested in how the
popular business software continues to get attention (and not because it’s in
the biggest letters, as BULLET POINT A):

Makes You Dumb, New York Times

(free subscription)

PowerPoint ReMix,
Aaron Swartz: The Weblog
ET on Columbia
Evidence-Analysis of Key Slide
Heads With PowerPoint, Wired News

Is Evil, Wired

to Love PowerPoint, Wired
Level of Discourse Continues to Slide, New York Times
PowerPoint, New Yorker
Here are a few others I’ve added:

Bullet Points may be Dangerous, But Don’t Blame PowerPoint, Presentations.com

Don’t Blame the Tool – Reader Responses, Presentations.com

To Avoid the Perils of PowerPoint, take a kid’s-eye view, Presentations.com

PowerPoint has Always been the Point, Presentations.com

Can This Off-Site
Be Saved, Fast Company

Honestly, this list serves a second purpose.  I want to be able to
send it any time I receive a PowerPoint show that would work better as a
traditionally formatted page.  Since I started thinking about this
sequence, my inflow of PowerPoint shows at work is at an all time high. 
Maybe PowerPoint is soo powerful that the mounting of critiques creates some
kind of karmic vacuum–PowerPoint skepticism met cosmically by a surge
of colorfully-themed shows rushed to the doubter’s inbox.  Two shows were
sent my way in the past week.  One was a self-evaluation for whether or not you
(dear reader) would be a fit candidate for teaching courses online. (Slide One:
Are you technically proficient with checking email?)  The other involves
staff encounters with media–how to talk to reporters. (Slide Fourteen: 1. Speak
in short, concise sentences.  There is no such thing as "off the
record.") Time for an analysis likening PowerPoint to The Blob

I’ve got to get back to finishing touches on my night’s work (which, sorry to
say, blog, ain’t this).  But I wanted to plant another seed about divergent
uses for blogs in teaching composition.  I’ve been following the
discussions about the ways blogs hinge on concomitant reading and writing (via here
and here)
and also about the way blogs might be put to fairly limited uses by some
composition teachers (here). 
I can’t say that I’m addressing all or any of those important concerns in this
entry, but I am happy to chronicle my own discovery and rediscovering this
semester of the social dimension of blogs.  Blogs turn narrow conceptions of reading and writing
as private, independent, and isolationist upside down in favor of an extracurricular
literacy network–a connected arena of extraspatial (beyond the walls we meet
between) contact and community.  And, of course, there’s more to it than I
can plow through just now in the interest of convening tomorrow as a potentially
jubilant day.  But I want to note the latest activity I’m toying with–a
kind of bum-rush annotated bibliography via course blog–and say that I’m not
sure how I would have done it better before blogs converged with my
teaching.  In short, students in teams (two to an article) are writing
summative paragraphs for the first six articles from the set listed above. 
We’ll review the notes as a group next Tuesday, talk about ways the sources
might contribute to their upcoming essay projects and so on.  Setting a
category and enabling a simple search makes it possible for students to access
and share work they’ve done outside of class time.  Admittedly, this is my
first semester teaching with a weblog, so I can’t be sure what will happen.  I suppose that’s what
we could use–a record of best practices, if
only anecdotal evidence, of the many ways weblogs are growing the
possibilities for invigorating pedagogy.