for Learning and Writing Online
Chapter 16 of Writing Online
offers a list of fifteen activities to help you learn and write online. Many
of the Crosslinks on this site also offer activities. Here are even more.
If you have ideas for activities, or would like to contribute one you've
found successful, get
in touch and I'll try to use it.
Visit the Internet
Society's Collection of Internet Histories, and you'll see that the
Net has both a technological and a cultural history. Make it a personal history
by creating your own Internet and World Wide Web (IWWW) timeline, then
annotate that time line. When did you first hear of the Internet? When
did you first go online? When did you first use email? When did you use
your first computer? Think back, and tell the stories of your own awareness
and use of computers and the IWWW. How much is this
technological and social phenomenon a part of your life?
Remember all you've learned
in life by playing and pretending? You can do that online as well. There
are a number of ways you can do this:
Create a 'Zine
Did you ever dream of being a managing
editor? Probably not, but now's your chance. Create an online magazine
with some friends or as a class project. Got someone who's into drawing
and art? That person is your art director and can be in charge of getting
original graphics. Got someone with a sense of style? There's you fashion
editor. Have a bunch of sports nuts in the back row of class? There are your
sports writers. Got the kid who's running for a spot in the student senate?
There's your political pundit. Give everyone in the class a role to play,
a job to do. Then, while you're all thinking about what content to generate
and how you want your publication to look, each person can be responsible
for finding a role model, a sportswriter, editor, fashion maven, movie
critic, and so on who has work regularly appear online. Study them, write
a profile of them and their work. And then imitate their style in much
the way young athletes imitate the mannerisms and moves of their favorite
players. Pull all your work together and make a 'zine; make it cool.
Take Opposites: Be a Devil's
Join a Usenet group or email
discussion list and play devil's advocate. Make fair and logical arguments
against a position you favor. Or, you can listen for a while to what the
group consensus is, and politely challenge it. The idea is by turns to
doubt your own beliefs and to believe your own doubts.
Play a Character (real or
literary) in a MOO
With class members, join
a MOO and choose character names from a book you are reading or an issue
you are following. For example, enter a MOO and become Hamlet, only play
him not in Denmark, but at your school, as a teacher who must challenge
authority. Or become one of the candidates running for office in your state,
and in the MOO create a room where other players represent a group that's
opposed to your candidacy because of your stand on gun control or some
other sensitive issue. Defend your position as you believe that candidate
would based on what you know of his or her record and public statements.
See if you can discuss an issue without falling into name calling and the
kind of intolerance that often marks public debate.
Create a Home Page for an
Make a homepage for a character
you create for a story you want to write. If this character had a homepage,
what would be on it? What kinds of journal entries, photos, history, family,
links to favorite sites would your character have?