I showed my students Dakota and Genius and Ashcroft Online, asked them to brainstorm ideas for their term papers, and fifteen minutes later almost all of them told me “I want to make something!” I’m amazed. I think I’m so stuck in the idea of a university education as a series of 15 page double spaced term papers that I hadn’t quite believed that students given the choice of making or writing might actually choose making.
If I’d asked them to brainstorm ideas for term papers after showing them a pile of 15 page double spaced essays, would they all have told me they want to write essays, I wonder? See, I never thought of that. The mechanisms of control are subtle, even to me, the teacher, who’s supposedly in control.
They won’t just be making, of course. They’ll write and contextualise and theorise too. I hope some will just write, too. Writing’s good. Imagine having to argue for writing.