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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Friday March 29, 2002
06:08 PM

Weblogging and Schools

[ #3862 ]
It suddenly occured to me that one magnificent place for weblogging to happen is in schools. With easy-to-use software like Radio they could build their own websites. There's a TV program in New Zealand that follows a bunch of 15-16 year old kids around, documenting their lives in and out of school, and it's really interesting and often funny. I bet there'd be some gems discovered if you let every kid who wanted to run a weblog.

I think I'll bend the computer teacher's ear about this at my highschool reunion today ...


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  • I don't know about NZ schools, but in my experience, US schools don't care a whit about having kids writing anything but responses to essay-question prompts about bad novels. ("What does The Scarlet Letter mean to you? Be sure to use examples from the text, and do not use the word 'I'.")
    • "... and do not use the word 'I'."

      Or the passive voice, under any circumstances. Or sentence fragments. And don't start any sentences with "and".

      • The active voice is to be used at all times.


        • Yeah, I didn't originally intend a list of self-violating rules. I just started with the passive-voice prohibition, which always annoyed me, and then ended up with some. I guess I should have been consistent.
          • I didn't have that good a grasp of grammar when I left school, so I didn't have a firm grip on passive vs active voice. Now I do, and passive drives me batshit. A lot of the editing I do is structural (explain this before that, need a better introduction here, etc.) but some books also take a lot of wordsmithing. Some authors seem to think in passive voice, which makes me question their sanity.

            I had one book that took a lot of working over--as written, it read like a Sun white paper. Buzzwords everywh

            • I understand the problem. I was a technical editor in a previous life. Some authors definitely overuse passive voice, and probably most uses of it in unedited writing should be removed. But passive has its place. Removing it from the writer's toolbox isn't the solution.

              I was objecting to people who take rules of thumb that are useful if applied reasonably and turn them into simple-minded absolute prohibitions. Editing (or grading papers) is about exercising judgment.