Some teachers just can’t keep their classrooms under control!
Actually, this is my face-to-face Technical Writing class last Monday folding airplanes then seeing if they fly. That takes about two minutes, tops.
- Tricky step one:Now they write out the instructions for folding their planes. The more complicated their plane, the longer this takes.
- Tricky step two:Exchange instructions with a partner and use their instructions to fold their plane–without looking at the prototype!
- Tricky step three:Compare the airplane folded by following instructions to the prototype.
We all brainstorm on the white board, “What do we learn from flying airplanes in the classroom?”
Voice from the front of the room observes, “It took me one minute to fold my plane and fifteen minutes to write the instructions.”
“What do we learn from that?”
“Writing takes time!”
“Oh yeah. What else?”
“What about them?”
“They are better than words, and they have to be clear. I had a good drawing, but I didn’t say which way the paper should be oriented, so my user tester got stuck.”
“I just asked the person who wrote the instructions to clarify something in the instructions.”
“In technical writing your readers rarely have the opportunity to ask you to clarify, so it needs to be clear and correct before it reaches your readers.”
“How many of you used words like fold an isosceles or right triangle?”
[Discussion of word choice and assumptions about audience ensued.]
“How many of you began by telling your audience what they were building, or how many of you just started with a step instructing the reader to start folding?”
[Talk about organization and goals]
“How many of you designed the instructions so that the instructions themselves folded into the plane, using lines and labels to show readers where and how to fold?”
[Talk about material delivery of information]
So is this guy really thinking outside the box, or is he just another smart alecky kid being romanticized by the film maker? HINT: The Death Star was a sphere…