Less Is More

In a stack of papers called Technology.

  • May
  • 18
  • 2006

Oh, the things you’ll find when surfing!

If you haven’t enjoyed a good bout of Internet surfing anytime recently, a few hours spent clicking on interesting pictures or phrases or titles and enjoying the results, I highly recommend it.

During an evening surfing session, I came across Khoi Vinh’s site, Subtraction. A few weeks back, true to the site’s name, he posted a great idea of addition through subtraction. His Blockwriter post presents an interesting way to use word processing. With his ideas, writers could easily end up with a very different version of their piece. I would love to use it in my classroom and see several ways to let students make use of it.

  • Since it does not allow access to more advanced editing capabilities that would make other word processors inappropriate for such writing, Blockwriter could be used for students to type out in-class writing;
  • As a way to write a first draft of a paper, Blockwriter would be a nice tool to gather initial ideas on a subject, with its focus on getting ideas on the page rather than crafting better sentences;
  • Students who experience even mild ADD could see an improvement from the focus on writing Blockwriter demands;
  • Looking for a way to write another draft? Blockwriter can help capture impromptu rewordings of troubling sentences in the current draft, with sometimes surprising results due to the disabled “delete” key;
  • Further, rewriting a draft from scratch is an often-overlooked method of revision that Blockwriter can easily accomplish since it disables any heavy editing tools, allowing students the platform to jot down the thoughts swimming in their heads in the moment.

Sure, there are lots of other ways to make use of such a simplified word processor. What ideas do you have?


1. _m says:

[11/5/2006 - 9:06 pm]

You can now check out how it’d be, writing in an environment like Blockwriter by checking out Writer.app, which was heavily influenced by Khoi’s ideas.


2. Todd says:

[11/7/2006 - 11:16 pm]

Thank you so much for the link! That looks well worth downloading. I have about 6 Macs in my room, so I’ll give it a shot on those machines. I’m imagining this would not be the kind of thing easily ported to a PC application, eh? _m, why did you decide to go ahead and make this? What was involved in making this happen? What are you using it for?