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Teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison

Good essay by Mikita Brottman. When I read Macbeth for the first time, I understood almost nothing. The play’s immediate subjects (kingship, Scottish history, nations at war) did not engage me, nor did I have any interest in theater. I loved Macbeth not for its story but for its language. I was fascinated by the weight of the words, their sequence and rhythm, the way they made me feel, even…

MLA Style Paper: Layout of First Page
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New Graphic for MLA Style Paper Handout

The other day, I noticed that if you Google for “mla style paper,” the first two images that appear are from my website — but out of context, they aren’t terribly useful. They’re just screenshots of sample papers. I’ve added some callouts with visual tips. Not the best graphic I’ve ever created, but certainly more useful than just a screenshot of a sample paper.  During the academic year, the MLA style…

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Education: Teaching teachers how to teach reading

I’m definitely seeing students in my freshman writing class and intro lit classes struggling with complex texts. I have more freedom to address the problem in my lit classes, where the focus is on reading. In the freshman writing class, where the goal is to produce a 10-page research paper by the end of term, students who do have the writing ability are struggling with academic texts (preferring instead to…

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Out of the Zuckersphere, (back) into the Blogosphere

This is why I still blog. While commercial platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to keep you churning out new content that attracts shallow attention, a weblog encourages reflection, the exploration of lateral thinking and deep linking, and the accumulation of ideas (your chronologically sorted, taggable history of posts) over time. Mark C. Marino says it well: [T]he problem with living your life on FB and Twitter is that…

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Fair use prevails as Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case

Fair use is a concept baked into US copyright law, and it’s a defense to copyright infringement if certain elements are met. The US Copyright Office says the defense is decided on a case-by-case basis. “The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may…

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The Minecraft Generation

It’s a world of trial and error and constant discovery, stuffed with byzantine secrets, obscure text commands and hidden recipes. And it runs completely counter to most modern computing trends. Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids…