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PublicThinkingExamples

Page history last edited by Chris Werry 2 years, 5 months ago

Examples of Public Thinking

Thompson talks about the importance of “public thinking” and the “networked” reading and writing of texts. At the end of his chapter he asks, “What tools will 
create new forms of public thinking in the years to come?” His answer is that “as more forms of media become digital, they'll become sites for public 
thinking… Marginalia may become a new type of public thinking, with the smartest remarks from other readers becoming part of how we make sense of a book.” 
Thompson also discusses how reading and writing are becoming “blended,” and quotes literacy theorist Debbie Brandt: “People read in order to generate writing; 
we read from the posture of the writer.”

 

  • Hypothesis is one of many new new tools that experiment with "social reading and writing." Hypothesis enables people to publicly comment on and annotate 
    online texts, and also lets you form groups, and follow people whose annotations you like. Example: if you look at Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” you’ll see 
    a scholar has recorded his response in the margins. (You will need to have added the extension to see this). Political speeches are starting to be publicly 
    annotated by academics. For example, the sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom annotated Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic national Convention using Hypothesis.
  • The annotation tools “News Genius” and “Rap Genius” let users comment on, explicate, analyze and annotate news stories and music lyrics. Rap genius is used a lot 
    and may be of interest to students.  Consider the following: T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock has been nicely annotated. The line “Do I dare disturb the 
    universe” is discussed, along with the fact that the line was remixed and used by rapper Chuck D. http://genius.com/Ts-eliot-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock-annotated 
    If you click on the line the link to Chuck D will appear.   The Genius annotation system is used for fan fiction, creative writers, and many genres of "high" and 
    pop culture.  The literature page is here: http://lit.genius.com/ Consider this annotation of Shelley's "Ozymandias". Note also that users vote on which 
    annotations should be listed at the top, and there is a scoreboard of most popular writers and annotators.  Note also that while fans annotate pop songs, 
    some artists annotate their own songs. Consider the recent hit "Broccoli," by D.R.A.M., which is annotated by the songwriters. Other 
    writers and artists who have annotated texts are here  (you can follow them).  
  • The Washington Post has posted annotated versions of major speeches by politicians using the annotation tool “News Genius.” They 
    published an annotated version of Donald Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention and Hilary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.
  • The magazine platform Medium enables readers to comment on and annotate articles, follow writers and annotators, and reply to comments/annotations. 
    Dana Boyd, one of the authors we will read, has a page on Medium. You can see all the articles she has written and also the notes she has made, and you can follow both. 
    See also this piece, at 1.25:  https://noteworthy.medium.com/sarah-cooper-f8a23893e6a0
  • There are many scholarly tools for annotating texts. Some have been developed by writing faculty. For example there is MIT's Annotation Studio, and 
    CMU's Classroom Salon. There is also CommentPress, an open-source plug-in for WordPress developed by folks at the Future of the Book initiative. This tool "aims 
    to turn a document into a conversation (view examples here). Readers can comment on, say, an academic paper before it has gone to press and add insights and 
    questions in the margins of the text." 

 

 

In-class exercise exploring Thompson’s ideas about comments and annotation

 

On page 68 Thompson argues that our ability to annotate and post comments on online texts is (potentially) enormously valuable. By embedding texts in online conversations and by connecting texts to commentary and annotation, texts are greatly enriched. He claims this moves texts from being merely “products” and allows us to see many processes of public thinking.

Thompson (68) describes his own experience of reading a story in the New York Times about a Rutgers University student who commit suicide, and how reading the comments of readers was far more illuminating than reading the original text. 

 

 

  • Test Thompson’s argument by inviting students to share several texts they read that allow comments. Ask students to describe that nature of these comments, and how well readers’ comments conform with (or don’t) Thompson’s position.
  • Watch this "We either Buy Insulin or We Die," a 4 minute New York Times video op-ed that makes an argument about inequities in access to insulin. Then ask students to look at the comments section for the video. There are “NYTimes picks,” “Readers picks,” and “All.”

  • Divide students into groups and assign each group a page or two from the comments. Ask students to explain whether/to what extent the comments deepen and expand their understanding of the issues. What patterns can they see in the comments?

 

  • Show students the “Rap Genius” site. Rap Genius lets users comment on and analyze the lyrics of their favorite artists. In groups, ask students to select some favorite songs and look  at how they have been annotated by fans (in some cases artists annotate their own songs.) What do your students think of these annotations? Do they provide useful or interesting insights? Invite students to annotate a song they like, then describe the experience. 

 

  • Note – you could share that while fans annotate pop songs, some artists annotate their own songs. My 12 year old son was singing the song "Broccoli," by D.R.A.M. I asked him what it was about, and he was evasive. It seemed unlikely it was really about vegetables. Luckily, it has been annotated by the songwriters. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

On page 68 Thompson argues that our ability to annotate and post comments on online texts is (potentially) enormously valuable. By embedding texts in online conversations and by connecting texts to commentary and annotation, texts are greatly enriched. He claims this moves texts from being merely “products” and allows us to see many processes of public thinking.

Thompson (68) describes his own experience of reading a story in the New York Times about a Rutgers University student who commit suicide, and how reading the comments of readers was far more illuminating than reading the original text. 

 

·         Test Thompson’s argument by inviting students to share several texts they read that allow comments. Ask students to describe that nature of these comments, and how well readers’ comments conform with (or don’t) Thompson’s position.

·         Watch this "We either Buy Insulin or We Die," a 4 minute New York Times video op-ed that makes an argument about inequities in access to insulin. Then ask students to look at the comments section for the video. There are “NYTimes picks,” “Readers picks,” and “All.”

Divide students into groups and assign each group a page or two from the comments. Ask students to explain whether/to what extent the comments deepen and expand their understanding of the issues. What patterns can they see in the comments?

Show students the “Rap Genius” site. Rap Genius lets users comment on and analyze the lyrics of their favorite artists. In groups, ask students to select some favorite songs and look  at how they have been annotated by fans (in some cases artists annotate their own songs.) What do your students think of these annotations? Do they provide useful 

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