knowledge creation — literary writing

if knowledge creation (aka knowledge building) is about ideas improvement and being a deliberate act of creating something new, would entries to “What is the best horror story you can come up with in two sentences” on reddit count?

some samples:

  1. I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.” by justAnotherMuffledVo
  2. I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I though it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again. by therealhatman
  3. They celebrated the first successful cryogenic freezing. He had no way of letting them know he was still conscious. by KnowsGooderThanYou
  4. The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams. I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open. by jmperson
  5. The doctors told the amputee he might experience a phantom limb from time to time. Nobody prepared him for the moments though, when he felt cold fingers brush across his phantom hand. by Gagege

and an extended story built on Gagege‘s idea, by Nosfermarki:

It had been 6 months since the accident. I remember because Elizabeth was helping me sign my name in our daughter Jenny’s birthday card. Slowly she guided by hand, helping me create some legible signature rather than the scribbles of a child in kindergarten, the best that I was able to manage with such little practice. It seems that when one loses a limb, it’s quite likely to be the dominant one. For me it was the right.

I was concentrating on my writing, trying not to make her do too much of the work, when I felt it. I hadn’t noticed the phantom feeling of my elbow resting on the table beside me, by this point I had almost gotten used to it, although the pain would sometimes still wake me. It was brief, but enough to startle me and cause my hand, still holding the pen, to jump and effectively turn my name into scribbles despite my wife’s best efforts. It was gentle but cold. Too cold. Less like ice and more like the feeling of a deep cut, when the insides of a body part are suddenly exposed to the outside elements that they were never supposed to meet. When Elizabeth asked, I shrugged it off, telling her it was an unexpected pain in the hand that was convinced it was clenched, even though it didn’t exist. At the moment, I almost believed that that was what happening myself.

The next time it woke me…. (skipped)

For months it happened, with no warning or reason. The doctors said it was just the phantom limb, that it was to be expected. No one understood that something was wrong. Sometimes it would last days at a time, and those were the days when I would stay in bed, watching TV, trying not to focus on the hand around my wrist, trying not to think of the thing that was holding me. Sometimes it’s grip would loosen only to tighten again, as if the hand that didn’t exist was sore from holding my hand that didn’t exist for so long. The one day, it stopped. For a month or so, nothing happened at all. I had gone from living with an unknown entity at my side every day to finally being free. We lived it up during that time. We went everywhere, from the Grand Canyon to Disney World. It had been forever since we had the opportunity to spend time as a family again, and we enjoyed every moment we had, grateful to have suffered only a small loss to our family.

We had opened the cafe again, and my wife was doing what she loved. My daughter and I were at the cafe. It was closing time. She and I sat at a table outside while Elizabeth closed the register, chatting about the upcoming middle school dance. My wife joined us and locked the doors. “Wanna come with me?” she asked, patting the bag of money in her hand awaiting deposit at the bank across the street. Jenny jumped up, eager, no doubt, to get one of the suckers from the candy dish that the bank kept at it’s counter. “I’ll warm up the truck,” I said, fishing my keys from my pocket. My wife nodded in approval and walked me to the truck, kissing me on the cheek through the window after I entered, and again on glass after I rolled it up. They headed down the length of the truck and I turned to check the mirror when I saw it. A truck barreling down the road heading straight for my wife and daughter. I screamed her name and threw the door open when the hand that wasn’t there was suddenly jerked to the opposing side of the truck, holding me in place as I kicked and screamed. The kiss on the glass of the window was the last I ever got, and the hand never let go again.

and finally, trust someone among the community to be innovative (aka break the rules), marino1310‘s SIX words creation:

I just saw my reflection blink.

samples credit: various authors on *THUMBS UP* to all the authors!

the language task, in brief

copy-n-pasted this from the recent call-for-papers email sent by Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology.

The language task is a key concept in language teaching and learning grounded in the communicative approach (Ellis, 2003; Nunan, 1989). This task can be defined as “a coherent and coordinated activity […], interactive or not, comprising a management of meaning, a link to the real world and a defined outcome, and in which the pragmatic result takes precedence over language performance” (Narcy-Combes, 2006). The language task is especially relevant in the context of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), in which information and communication technologies (ICT) facilitate its use and, in particular, allow access to authentic language, interaction and language production. In this context, the aim is to design learning scenarios (Guichon, 2006; Mangenot & Louveau, 2006) made up of macro and micro e-tasks (Mangenot & Soubrié, 2010) that, ideally, provide learners with opportunities to actively practice skills, to engage with others in one’s own language learning and to develop language autonomy.

Credit: CJLT editors

cnki 中国知网 searchable

was trying out NIE’s trial subscription to CNKI, and was plesantly surprised that my Fudan ma thesis 新加坡中学生的认识论信念华文学习信念探究 (An exploratory study of the epistemological beliefs and language learning beliefs of Singapore school Chinese Language students) is listed (: must thank my supervisor 张豫峰老师 for putting up the nomination.

direct URL:

angry bird and Chinese Language

have been playing angry birds since gotten my droid last oct, and am always impressed by the many physics within. chanced upon this post “Using Angry Birds to teach math, history and science“, and i thought why not let’s have a list for “Using Angry Birds to teach Chinese Language”, and here’s some powder and smoke:

– 学生必须玩过angry birds,否则教师可想方设法让学生在课上,或课后玩过angry birds

听说 Listening-Speaking
– 让学生听不同版本的angry birds 音乐、或音效,然后让他们回忆并复述该音乐、音效属于游戏的哪个部分并象征什么意义 (听、说)
– 让学生假扮销售员,当堂兜售angry birds游戏,说服观众为什么一定要玩angry birds (说)
– 可让其他学生复述上述活动中,同学所说的内容,同时锻炼听和说的能力 (听、说)
– 让学生辩论angry birds及其他受欢迎的游戏,例如Mega jump、Fruit Ninja等。
– 若要配合ICT,上述活动可配合audioblog, podcast, 任何录音平台,甚至是VoiceThread、Glogster等进行

读写 Reading-Writing
– 制定阅读有关angry birds的篇章,并配合阅读微技的训练,设计理解问答
– 让学生上网搜寻有关angry birds的文章,例如游戏指南,玩后感等,然后写一篇综合报告,整理并总结所见到的内容
– 让学生写一封电邮或一篇说明文,介绍angry birds游戏及其玩法,或是闯关秘笈walkthrough
– 让学生写一篇记叙文,述说一次和亲友一起玩angry birds相关的经历
– 让学生假设本校将主办一次玩angry birds游戏的比赛,写邀请函邀请参赛,或给赞助商赞助活动
– 若要配合ICT,上述活动可配合blog, wiki, discussion forum, linoit等进行
– 除了独自进行活动,也可让学生分组进行协作学习collaborative learning (CoL)

感觉好像还可以衍生很多其他的活动,改次再写吧 😛

use computers for assessment of CL

i applaud dr lee wei ling for her article today in ST “Chinese: Easy to read, hard to write”. the title actually does not reflect fully the rich content within the article. for example, she introduced several key features of Chinese characters:

“a very common misconception about Chinese characters should be dispelled: They are not pictograms. They evolved to become logograms many centuries ago. A logogram is like the McDonald’s sign: it does not look like a burger, but it represents that concept”

“Most characters are made up of radicals, usually two radicals. One, termed the xingpang, indicates the category to which the character belongs … The second radical is the yinpang, the phonological radical. It hints at how the character is to be pronounced … There is a set of rules to determine the location of each radical in the character. The … xingpang are always on the left; the vegetation radical is always at the top of the character. The location of the yinpang is less strictly determined.”

“Chinese has many homophones. In addition, Mandarin has four tones … The tones are not usually represented in hanyu pinyin. Hence for each input of hanyu pinyin we make on a word processor, we can be presented with many possible characters. For example ‘jing’ has 41 characters corresponding to it with widely varying meanings.”

on comprehending chinese (text):

“A knowledge of a fairly limited number of characters can help us accurately guess the meaning of the words formed by a number of characters … So if a student of Chinese learns 1,500 to 2,000 characters, he can easily read a Chinese newspaper … The current Chinese curriculum in Singapore requires a Primary 6 student to know 1,500 to 2,000 characters.”

“Sometimes, a reader may be able to understand what he reads even if he cannot pronounce some of the component characters. … When I encounter a simplified character I do not know, I can guess its meaning from the context of the entire sentence.”

and sharing some of her research findings:

“I have tested more than 1,000 Chinese/English bilingual students from our primary and secondary schools. The ability to read Chinese, I found, was heavily dependent on the command of spoken Chinese.”

“In my research, I found that memory for aurally presented stories is an important independent predictor of Chinese reading ability.”

“I hypothesise that reading Chinese is a bit like fuzzy logic. There are many factors contributing to the ability to read Chinese; and in different contexts, each factor would carry a different weight.”

and here’s the part that pointed out the disparity between learning and assessment:

The irony is that students cannot use word processors in examinations and are required to write the characters. Hanyu pinyin and word processors are allowed in lessons and projects, but to be denied their use in exams makes the exams even more difficult. The Ministry of Education says it will take five or more years to revamp the Chinese curriculum. How many days does it take to change an illogical exam requirement?

“It is obvious that the burden of learning how to write in Chinese is overwhelming for many.”

i can hear many voices out there rejecting dr lee’s idea outright, for e.g. learning to write helps to recognise the characters, knowing the characters can only truly mean one really knows the chinese language; if our students don’t learn to write, they’re going to lose the culture. and the list can go on and on …

but if we take a look at the REAL world out there, how many pple still communicate without using word processors, newspapers, email, sms, etc. personally i have not seen a major newspaper that is printed with all the articles handwritten, have you? or a magazine, a journal article, or a business contract for that matter?

word processing (aka typing) is the current thing to represent the language. i recalled seeing research that had shown that typing helped in the mastery of chinese characters, and consequently helped to up the level of chinese mastery.

writing of chinese character will become an art form, just like the existing chinese calligraphy. if we were to deny and not encourage our young to express the language through typing, it’s as good as denying ourselves, the (slightly) older generaton, the pen, and we should go back to using the brush (or feather?).

let’s see how long it takes for the change that dr lee highlighted to take place. this would mean propelling 1-1 computing forward. and if that’s the case, learning of all subjects, not just CL, can potentially benefit from it (: