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Mary Rodgers, Composer of Once Upon a Mattress and Daughter of Broadway Royalty, Dies at 83

Mary Rodgers, composer of Once Upon a Mattress, also wrote the book Freaky Friday (later made into a movie starring Jodie Foster and remade with Lindsay Lohan). Mary Rodgers, who, as the daughter of a famous musical theatre composer (Richard Rodgers), a musical theatre successful composer herself (Once Upon a Mattress) and the mother of a musical theatre composer (Adam Guettel), held a singular place in the history of the…

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Academic study concludes that teaching kids to touch-type can make them better writers

Improving students’ handwriting skill did improve their writing ability, but improving their typing skills improved their writing even more. From 1999, so not exactly news, but interesting info in light of the pro-handwriting links that have been making the rounds on the Intertubes. There was a significant relationship between orthographic-motor integration — handwriting and the length and quality of handwritten text, and a stronger relationship between orthographic-motor integration — typing…

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Blood & Laurels : Emily Short’s Versu launches iPad Game

Emily Short (Galatea, First Draft of the Revolution), formerly employed by Linden Labs to work on the interactive fiction storytelling platform Versu, announces that her Versu game, Blood and Laurels, is now available for iPad. (The Versu team also includes Richard Evans and Graham Nelson.) It’s the eight hundred and twenty first year of the city of Rome, a year of bad omens and unrest. The Emperor is bloodthirsty and…

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Digital Storytelling: Empower the Multimodal Writing Classroom with Scratch

How can the busy writing teacher interested in new media storytelling deepen the pedagogical value of multimodality in the classroom — especially for students with limited programming experience? Students who learn to design, code, revise, and publish multimodal texts are empowered by their encounters with technology, and can be more critical of the interfaces they face in daily life. Yet too frequently we ask students to submit a multimedia project…

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What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

When I used a Windows XP Tablet computer a few years ago, I got more interested in handwriting, so that Windows could better recognize my scrawled text. I’m a traditionalist in many ways, but truthfully I’m not all that worked up about the loss of handwriting. (Having said that, I felt like a very bad parent when my daughter received a congratulations note that she couldn’t read because it was…