The extended setting of the Harry Potter series is fertile soil for fans interested in worldbuilding, especially since the release of Pottermore (previously), a companion site to the books that includes back-story and adjunt information direct from J.K. Rowling. Some of these worldbuilding projects include explorations on wizarding fashion, magical education (including other magical schools), fantastic beasts (and perhaps where to find them), Muslims at Hogwarts, and the next generation of Hogwarts students. [more inside]
The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
“It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent.”
Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn't a school assignment. — Clive Thompson describes the results of the Stanford Study of Writing, mainly that young people today write far more than any generation before them.
Louis Menand in The New Yorker surveys American creative writing education, past and present, and asks whether it should still be taught. (via) [more inside]
EduChoices offers some good free stuff online: 25 Places to Read Free Books Online l 50 Online Writing Websites for New Writers l Ranking of 20 Universities that Offer Free Courses Online (with links to the free courses), as well as information about university courses etc. l Great Reference Sites Other Than Wikipedia l Free Linux Tutorials for Beginners l Useful Online Calculators For Almost Every Educational and Life Need. [more inside]
Remember Laura K. Pahl, the girl who was famously humiliated for trying to buy a term paper over the internet? Perhaps she should have gone to a professional.
Speaking of speeches, David Eggers delivers one at TED on grassroots community tutoring for kids who need help with their English homework: "There's something about the kids finishing their homework in a given day, working one on one, getting all this attention. They finish their homework, they go home -- they're finished. They don't stall. They don't do their homework in front of the TV. They're allowed to go home 5:30, enjoy their family, enjoy other hobbies, get outside, play and that makes a happy family. A bunch of happy families in a neighborhood is a happy community. A bunch of happy communities tied together is a happy city and a happy world, right? So, the key to it all is homework." Love him or hate him (mefi consensus) it's a great example of
nervous energy microphilanthropy, social entrepreneurship and, if I may make the connection, machines of loving grace. [previously]
10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online.
The end of cursive? When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters. "Cursive -- that is so low on the priority list, we really could care less. We are much more concerned that these kids pass their SOLs [standardized tests]."
Gene Wolfe declared "unfair" by snotty brats. Wolfe, a man who has given us some of the finest fantasy novels of the past three decades, was slated to teach writing at the Odyssey workshop. He graded the manuscripts with tough comments. But the students took this personally and complained to director Jeanne Cavelos. Wolfe, being the gentleman that he is, left the workshop. Here's a sample of one student's arrogance. Now if I had the opportunity of learning from a master and he told me that my shit stank, then I'd listen. Why have workshops and educational opportunities prioritized feeding this "I'm okay, you're okay" narcissism over developing talent?
Damon Knight, teacher [1922-2002]. You made us all write to the very best we could and then you made us try for better. Damon, thank you, and we'll do our best to pass it on.
Tests show U.S. children lag behind A careful reading of this page reveals that for many of America's schools, children lag behind some 16 other countries in math and in science. However: not all states contributred data. But the important thing is that a few schools and areas were right up there with the best in the world. Perhaps then we ought to study those that work instead of bashing our educational system in general.