Tom Wright's blog

The Simpsons, cell phones, and the current curriculum

In "Bart Gets a Z," Bart Simpson has a young substitute teacher who's seriously wired. He sends a mass text to assign homework: "20 MINUTES OF TWITTERING." At one point, the teacher asks, "Who can tell me what the Monroe Doctrine was?"

An unfortunate student starts to answer: "The policy of President Monroe that America has the right as a nation to ...." The teacher interrupts him.

"Are you telling me you memorized that fact," he asks, "when anyone with a cell phone can find it out in thirty seconds?"

Teachers as parents

My daughter started high school a couple of weeks ago. She is now working on her first research paper in honors English.

This is the correct way to write a research paper:


The formal research paper

I've taught at four institutions so far, and all of them required me to cover the traditional formal research paper. The assumption seems to be that professors in other departments give this sort of assignment frequently, and they believe it's the job of first-year composition instructors to make sure the students can complete it well.


Flickr, Creative Commons, and the right to use

DALLAS — A Dallas family has sued Australia's Virgin Mobile phone company, claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and Web site advertisements without consent.

The family of Alison Chang says Virgin Mobile grabbed the picture from Flickr, Yahoo Inc.'s popular photo-sharing Web site, and failed to credit by name the photographer who took the photo. [...]

Google Docs

I've just started using Google Docs for a collaborative project, and I love it. The students seem pretty happy with it, as well. (They especially like the ability to revert to an earlier version.)

I know that a few other people on here are using it, too. How are you using it? What features do you find unusually helpful (or limiting)?


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