In the depths of New York City, on top of the Empire State Building, a creature rested. That creature was me….
I’m moved to plug Many Voices, a Twitter creative writing global collaboration (ages 5-13?) created by George Mayo in Washington, D.C.
The more I think about it, the more brilliant it is. [Update: I elaborated on the brilliance in a comment, and decided to post that comment here. See the bottom of this post for the list of things I like about this project.] But I’ve already said that in an email I sent to some K-8 teachers in my school in Seoul, so ctrl + c and ctrl + v:
This is an amazingly low-labor, globally collaborative creative writing activity that I hope we can find someone in Seoul with a K-8 classroom to add to. Each student gets to add only one, 140-character segment to this story. It’s such an engaging idea for doing as much as you can for a story with one idea and a tight restriction on wordiness. So cool! If no can do, please pass to other K-8 teachers!
Here’s how George explains it – and the ease of this project is brilliant – on the Many Voices wiki:
@manyvoices is an ongoing collaborative story being written by 140 different elementary and middle school students across the globe using Twitter.com. Each student will use the same @manyvoices Twitter Account. to contribute their 140 (or less) characters. The story concludes at the 140th entry. At that point, we collectively edit and revise our little Twitter story before publishing it as a small book through Lulu.com.
If you join, you’re in some great company. Here’s the line-up for the coming weeks:
week of January 21st thru Jan. 25th:
@mrjarbenne Ontario (24th & 25th)
@deacs84 Atlanta, GA.
@mscofino Always LearningThailand
Want to participate? Looks like George wants about four more global classrooms to join. Here’s his contact info: mrmayo.org [at] gmail.com. Or, twitter him @mrmayo
Check out the story unfolding here for how it works: http://twitter.com/manyvoices
Note: latest entries are on top, so read from the bottom up. Each is written by a different student.
Chris Craft wanted more input on: Why I Find This Project “Brilliant.” Graham Wegner, Langwitches blog, Susan Sedro, and others have been writing lately about all the reasons that globally collaborative projects can fail. As a veteran of the 1001 Flat World Tales, I’ve always meant to add my dime to that topic. Here’s a few cents’ worth.
1. Many Voices is low-maintenance. Quick-in, quick-out, guarantees success. KISS. The more labor, the more chances of crashing. I learned this with the 1001 Flat World Tales. My own workshop for that project succeeded, but it took sweating buckets of blood. Other teachers often won’t have the time to invest the labor Chris Watson and I had to invest to keep it afloat.
2. The English teacher in me loves it for how it forces participants to consider the elements of fiction when they craft their single tweet contribution: how do I move the plot at this particular point in the story? How do I choose the best words, characterize best, detail the setting, etc?
3. Engagement: participants have to read the entire story tweet by tweet – close reading at its best, in a weird way – and the knowledge that each tweet is by a different author brings in some evaluative higher-order critical thinking about the quality of each tweet. “Why was tweet #122 so good, but #123 so lame?” “How could #125 miss the opportunity set up in the earlier tweets?” “What a brilliant plot twist tweet # 88 added!” That sort of thing.
4. Exposure to Twitter. How to follow that up with encouraging conscious networking is a question worth pursuing.
5. Sheer fun and creativity.
6. The wiki and the Lulu book publishing.
7. The around-the-world telling of an unbroken narrative, with each chapter representing one location for local flavor within the global mix.
8, 9, 10: fun, fun, fun.
That being said, I am a complete bum for not having made the time to look at the project Chris did earlier with digital storytelling – was it “Life Round Here?” I clued in momentarily, but life got in the way. I’ve asked Chris to reply with a link