Creative writing apps

In many ways we have increased our capacity to write creatively because we have technology and social media sites. We have opportunities to inspire and influence because we are on Facebook and Instagram and there are still those who meet the Twitter creative tweet challenge. We have blogs and websites and even though there is a big emphasis on visuals on the internet, the opportunities to write and write well are there. We can make our own books and publish them online. We can create influential and interesting email content. We need apps! Are there apps to inspire creative writing? Yes. You may have your own favourites. Yona Yurwit in the video explains what she uses on her iPhone and why. Makeuseof has some good recommendations of creative writing apps some of which are paid and some of which have a paid premium version. More and more phones are becoming less about consumption and more about productivity and creativity.

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Our outboard brain

Discussions around the outboard brain were strong around 2007 when wired magazine and others picked up this notion of us now having an outboard brain and outsourcing some of our thinking to a device. The article Your outboard brain knows all was a lively discussion of this issue:

“My point is that the cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we’ve outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.”

It made me think. I love being able to look anything up when I do not know. In that sense I am more informed. My blogging has really contributed to my knowledge but I have just done exactly what the article is talking about. I surprised myself by finding a blog post about the outboard brain on another blog of mine. I had forgotten all about it. The issue is still relevant and David Bowden’s poetry examines the impact of technology on us. There is another poem The inner net which examines our so called connectivity and what the impact of that has been in human terms.

I have ready access to factual information because blogging makes me think and integrate that knowledge into my own database. I’d say technology has contributed well and effectively to my ever growing brain. To ensure this though I make sure I put myself at risk technologically by learning new software, a new OS, a new gadget. Nothing like databases to force a literary brain into chaos and ensure it HAS to learn!! Technology is for me a tool, not a substitute…and I thank this poem for helping me think this through.

Media Literacy

Don't bring me your problemsClassic classroom content override. I have now watched all the videos by Miguel Carrasco. I’ll write another post about that but meanwhile there is this one which came about because Miguel Carrasco was showing us how to get ideas for content and then popped onto someone’s Facebook page and there was the quote: “Don’t bring me your problems . Bring me two solutions.” . I was listening to Miguel Carrasco talking but my mind had gone off on a tangent because of that quote. It made me think of how I operated in a classroom with technology. It was standard practice for me to say to students:

“If you are having trouble, tell me what you have tried to do yourself and if you are still stuck, I’ll try and help you…or we’ll all try and help you. Have a go yourself first with your ideas. ”

When it came to research on anything I’d come into class with 20 minutes of teaching on good and helpful sites to get them started and on the right track and then we had the open invitation that if you had a good site too , you’d let me know and I’d put that into the list of resources on the LMS. Team effort on good research but as the teacher I shone the light on the path. Students also got into the habit of messaging me on the LMS to send me links at any time so I could add to those shared resources. Parents could enter that research arena because we blogged a lot of what we were doing. Based on their knowledge and experience they could come in with other information and links. It was always growing and pointing us in the right direction for good learning and reliable information.

Image: dreamstime

I  appliinformation supported the classroom tenet to myself. There were occasionally days where I had to walk in and say:

“I have tried to find some good examples of …. and I have looked here and I have looked there and the best I can do is this…”

I would go through my information and then we’d spend 10-15 minutes to see what the students could come up with that was better and then put that on the shared resources. Students had input into worthwhile content and reliable resources.

We learned from each other.

Dana Boyd has written a long and interesting article Did Media Literacy Backfire? It is worth the read because it looks at how we are bombarded with information and misinformation and how we may be trying to deal with that. On any given day everything is coming at us: news, fake news, distractions, red herrings, information and misinformation. We have to stay in control of that and we have to teach others how to stay in control of that. So we need to be coming at it from a solutions point of view and not a problems one. If we see it all as a problem we’ll collapse under the weight of what is headed in our direction. We need to step back and have a plan of how we deal with this and , in my book, networking and team effort wins.

Ready for 2017

PNew year 2017lenty to celebrate already with my blogging! WordPress just put up my 10 year anniversary celebration of blogging on WordPress. I started on Blogger in 2003 and this year I have had a chance to really focus on what I want to achieve through blogging. It is worth thinking about. It helps me clarify my ideas , get feedback, look at ideas and think about them. Blogging is always a journey of discovery and growth. The reflection and ideas building are intrinsic to blogging. My top post for the month and this year continues to be the MiniMac OS shortcuts.  That was a good find and helped me a lot at the time.

I found the 2017 Windows 10 desktop theme at winaero. I really like it and the graphics are very clear and well thought out.

I’d like to thank all my followers on WordPress, all the people who visit my site, all those who connect with me on Twitter from the tweets about the posts and those of you who just come and look. I get a lot of really helpful support and feedback which has enabled me to blog on.

I wish you all a really happy , positive and productive New Year.
wordpress10years

Coder blogs

I really like this video by Chris Hawkes. He is a competent , successful coder who has taken time out of his busy schedule to take us on a walk and discuss his ideas about what he thinks the fundamental issues are with regard to contemporary coding . We can walk with him and listen to him unfold his thinking. Coding requires a very disciplined mind and thinking but it also requires a capacity to keep up to date. Chris Hawkes puts forward a very strong case for coders to be able to be efficient and capable researchers who share and discuss their knowledge. We no longer have the answers, the way, the method, the procedure. We live in 2016. We can’t just use Google a quick solution to something. We can’t spend our time reinventing the wheel . We need to have people who know how to get quality information which will move  a project and thinking forward. People need skillsets and knowledge but they need to be able to quickly update their capacity to function now, today. Coders have communities to build their skills and knowledge. They learn to connect , share and problem solve. Nobody can know everything any more and one thing will suddenly become obsolete. Programmers need to be able to learn on their own and they need to now how to do quality research and find things out. They need to be interested, self directed and lifelong learners. Communities develop best practices and share their updated knowledge and tackle trouble shooting and problem solving . It takes teamwork to solve complex problems. Coders are sharing their knowledge in lots of ways. Huffington Post published 25 best coder blogs. Makeuseof has recommended 7 coder blogs for student programmers. One of my favourite coder blogs is codercoach because Kristi Pollard (Stanton), RHIT, CCS, CPC, CIRCC gives such a personal insight into coding , the life of a coder and issues with coding.

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