A Look At Coudal

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Jan
  • 07
  • 2006

A Teaching View Of The Design World

On your first visit to Coudal, you may not see an immediate connection to teaching. It doesn’t appear to have any relation to the educational community at all, in fact. I have no idea how they’d feel about me saying this, but I think they are doing some very educational, and very cool, things that high school students could easily get into.

Inspiration appears in the oddest places. Reading sites related to Web design and Web standards takes up a lot of my time when I’m not teaching or reading about education. While reading those other sites, connections to teaching jump out and say, “Hi!” all the time, so I decided to start trying to catalogue them all here. It’s as good a place as any and it might interest some of you, too.

Coudal is such a cool site for so many different reasons, even if their methods of organizing the site seem random at times. If the design of the site doesn’t grab you right away, the content should suck you in pretty quickly, even if you find it a bit difficult to navigate at first. There’s something for everyone there (my favorite is their “method to fight back against the obnoxious cell phone users” and I’m just waiting for the right moment to hand one out). Several short films have found their way onto the Coudal site and the ones I’ve seen are excellent.


Reading an article over at mezzoblue one day, I stumbled across something that made the connection to teaching so clearly that I literally laughed out loud:

Simply, you can’t assume the client will care unless the task they need to perform is personally relevant to them. (Source)

Sound familiar? Do teachers know any “clients” like that? So what I read in that entry over at mezzoblue got me thinking about how I teach. Coudal forced a similar reaction out of me with what they refer to on their home page as “Poetry After The Beep,” though they go on to call it “Verse By Voice.”

Pick A Poem, Any Poem

At first glance, Coudal looks like a site for designers. Look more closely and you’ll find a bit more than that. I don’t know the folks over there, but they appear to be an incredibly literate bunch who care about reading and writing almost as much as layout and typography. There are several things on their site that I simply must find a way to use in the classroom.

What prompted this posting is their “Verse By Voice” feature: call a phone number, recite a short poem, and they might use it on their site or send you something. While I can’t think of a way to track whether or not students actually make the phone call, how cool would it be for a student to have their reading of a poem on the Coudal site? How hard would it be to set something like this up for a classroom Web site?

A Sense Of Place

Coudal’s ideas about reading are interesting and provide all kinds of examples of book reviews. Students can look through this when they are going on trips to the listed places for book ideas or just read the reviews for writing examples.

Even the introduction to “Field-Tested Books” is a fine example of writing, a nice way to set the stage and give context to why these reviews were written and why we might like to read them. The fact that a site seemingly devoted to design celebrates the joys of reading might give some kids the nudge they need to pick something up and glance at it. To hear a voice outside their English class, a voice in the design and computer world, telling them that reading is a good idea could provide some a reason to read that an English teacher could never provide.

A Links List For English Teachers (sort of)

The list of writing and reading links (part of a feature Coudal calls “Fresh Signals”) contains some interesting finds. To have a group of people like those involved at Coudal scouring the net for such links could make things easy for me. That page is a resource for writing topics for my students. Link lists are the way so many of us find new things online and to have such a list dedicated to English pursuits could make for some good discussion in class.

1 comment

1. Debbie says:

[1/12/2006 - 12:47 pm]

The Verse by Voice idea reminds me of another teacher blog. I honestly can’t remember who (sorry!), but they give extra credit if students do a Post Secret card, and presumably, get it posted. Cool. Now I go to that site every Sunday, but I have yet to try sending one in myself.