Found on my Google Reader This Morning

I encourage all of my classes, especially the ones with a blogging requirement, to use an RSS reader. It is still the best way to organize online reading, although these days I get some of my most interesting links through the smart people I follow on Twitter. My Google Reader page now has nineteen folders full of blogs, eight of which are from courses I teach/have taught. This adds up to several hundred blogs, not all of which are active, thus the appeal of the reader. I don’t have to check blogs; it serves up the new posts automatically. For most of the people who visit Techsophist, this is pretty obvious, However, since my course materials link off this blog, some of my students visit here from time to time, even if the only reason is that they were distracted by all the recent Catpaint posts. This post is for those who haven’t tried an RSS reader or have only used it to track class members in a course.  Here is a sampling of what my reader had to offer this morning.

From the New York TImes, the return of the alaia to surfing. A bit of ancient history–I spent my middle school and high school years in Palos Verdes Estates, California and my home beach was Rat beach. It was common for guys to surf before school and stow their wetsuits in their lockers. I remember two brothers who spent a lot of time making their own boards, starting with balsa wood, shaving it down to the right shape, and sealing it, I know not how. Anyway, it was a serious surf town and probably still is. What I like about this article is the DIY aspect of it and the return to an older, almost spiritual approach to the sport. I glance at the New York Times almost every day, and spotted this by chance. I then went to my RSS reader, used the search box, and was able to reread Laird Hamilton’s post to Gizmodo on four new ways to surf.

In today’s offerings from TV Squad, a power match in the making. On Sunday, Rush Limbaugh visits William Shatner’s edgy interview show, Raw Nerve. I don’t want to miss this conversation; it may be one for the books in the rhetoric world. I’m setting my DVR and hoping for YouTube to follow through and give clips I can use for Modern Rhetorical Theory next semester.

Next up, from io9, the science fiction blog, a novel-writing experiment calledlivewriting. Read all about it and see if you want to collaborate in this novel-writing experience. In it, you participate by answering plot questions with Twitter hash-tagged responses, or, for non-tweeters, to the io9 linked console.

This next post is a strange one, especially since just last week I mentioned my  son’s longtime use of old computers to donate bandwidth to the SETI@home project. Slashdot posts about a school technology supervisor who got fired over using school computers for the project, one that seems to be created FOR education and a way to make science approachable and even interesting. The Slashdot post gives a link to the SETI project director’s response to the district administrator’s stance that “an educational institution … cannot support the search for E.T.” Slashdot’s post about the original controversy, which now has 617 comments, is here.

Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning announces the report, Meeting of the Minds(PDF), sponsored by Global KidsHarvard’s GoodPlay Project and Common Sense Media. Matching the experience of many who work with digital media in education, the report finds that “young people need guidance from adults in navigating ethical issues of online behavior,” an idea akin to the main point discussed Thursday night in my Comp/Rhet for HS and CC Teachers class. The primary reason why multimodal assignments are so necessary in composition classes may be that students need to learn the rhetoric behind new media just as much as the rhetorical strategies used with print media. Why? Because the communicative world they must negotiate is not flat and on paper, at least not exclusively. I need to read this and see if I want to add it to future 520/629 readings.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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