Monday, April 25, 2011

Technology in Schools

So last week my school district bought iPads for all of the special education teachers it employs. This was pretty exciting for me since my wife has a first generation iPad, and I have been watching her play with it in envy. We had a great training on all the features, as well as educational apps. Let's just say I was very impressed with the features that allow blind, or otherwise impaired individuals use it.

I began thinking of classroom applications for the iPad, and even used some of my special education funds to buy a pair of iPod touches to use with my students who have learning disabilities in reading. Audio books will be used next year with my eighth grade students who read on a 1st or 2nd grade level. With books like The Adventures of Tom Sayer, and The Diary of Anne Frank on their reading list those students would otherwise struggle to keep up. They would probably not learn much.

One of the other teachers in my school is responsible for the students with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. She has been using an iPad with her students all year with great success. They are able to dictate essays they would have otherwise been unable to write. They have been able to enjoy online educational content. They have even been able to address their sensory needs. Impressive.

Now I am not trying to say that audio books, or other technology will replace good old fashioned paper books anytime soon. What I will say is that I believe that this technology will make books more accessible to people who would have passed on reading in the past. For writers this is great news. News that I feel strongly enough to share on my writing blog. It is helpful to have a foot in the educational realm, especially when I spend a good portion of my time with my target audience for my YA stories. Hopefully you find this information helpful too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Recently I have read alot of blogs written by both writers, and future hopeful writers. The interesting thing I have found is that most writers have, at one time or another, thought their writing is absolute crap. I am hitting that point. Actually it is somewhat encouraging to see that I am going through stages that published writers have experienced.

Many budding writers at one time, or another read published works and think, "I can do that!" Then they sit down to write and find it is more difficult than we thought. Well laid plans fall flat, and we fall out of love with our own ideas. We become bored.

Following a period where we decide we should give up our writing habit and get a real job, (or part time job because we already have a job to support our writing dreams), parents, spouses, or friends encourage us and we start again.

We keep coming back to our urge to write, our desire to explore places and people who exist only in our imagination. Inside of us we have a story that must be told, a view of the world that we wish to share with others.

It is actually comforting to me to see that I am going through the cycle. It means I am doing the work. Many authors take years to break in only after putting in the time to learn their craft. Is it hard to realize your story won't keep your audience's interest? You bet. Frustrating. Is it difficult when you write something you feel is really good, share it with your critique group or alpha readers, only to find that you have made rookie mistakes in grammar and punctuation? Oh yeah. Embarrassing. We must understand that this is the price we must pay to earn our place as authors.

If you find yourself in this place as I have, pat yourself on the back. You are on the right track.