I have rediscovered my love for writing. I remember crafting a major paper on the late novels of Charles Dickens during my senior year in college. It was a strangely luxurious experience as I drafted and redrafted my treatise. When I was in my twenties, the principal asked me to help compose our application for "exemplary school" status. I was honored and actually enjoyed trying to find just the right words for this composition.
I'm not sure exactly what "day the music died", but its been at least a thirty year hiatus since I've actually enjoyed a writing project. Oh yes, I have continued to teach writing and I have continually written for work. But it has been work.
Recently, I rediscovered the joy. The key? Hyperlinks! I am intoxicated by the way they allow me to add another dimension to my expression. In fact, though I know I should restrain myself from overusing them, I still compulsively hyperlink whether blogging about vlogs, proposing a staff-development plan, or preparing a collaborative project for my students. I am excited by the way hyperlinks have animated the study guide for my film class. I actually enjoy searching for the links, just as I have done in this paragraph.
Now for the dark side. I have developed a sense of indignation over traditional "research". As I indicated in Oh, How I Miss Ibid. . . . , I can't imagine anything more outdated than "Works Cited" when hyperlinks allow us to jump directly to the source. I also think that presenting research on paper verges on the preposterous. Learning to search, discriminate among sources, and then remix them. At my school, our students have laptops have more access to information than we could have even dreamed of ten years ago, but my department is still paying tribute to the antique "accoutrements of scholarship". It staggers that hours of instruction are still spent on teaching a teaching a traditional "research paper" in the year 2009. Teachers chronically complain that they don't have time to learn about Web 2.0 technology. Well, gang, here's some time for you: chuck the research paper of yesteryear and let your students compose with hyperlinks.
"Moleskin Concept Diagram 1" Creative Commons Flickr Photo by jazzmasterson
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