You all know by now that Neatorama is a fun blog and a breezy read, but apparently, there it also has a use that I haven't expected. Neatorama reader Barry emailed me that he has been using Neatorama as a teaching tool at his local community center.
Here's what he wrote:
I teach a class at my local community center that centers on technology use and recommend your site to the students. Many of them are underprivileged youth and I have found that sites like Neatorama can sometimes inspire them into other avenues aside from what's left for them on the street. Several students have gone on to pursue a job in IT and we even had one older gentleman pursue his GED at 60 years old because he wanted to become a successful blogger like those he saw on sites like yours. In fact I have it on personal account that at least fifteen people now know what "Large Hadron Collider" means. At any rate, thank you and well done.
When I asked for more info, Barry replied:
I use blogs in class because they're such a novel form of communication. One of the students drew the parallel that, after realizing he had spent five straight hours reading, "blogs are like books used to be in the old(en) days". What he meant was that when printed publications first started showing up all those years ago, literacy rates soared and that the very same effect had happened to him right in class. He went on to say that he couldn't remember the last time he spent five hours reading anything.
Aside from most blog reading being non intensive, I encourage the students to check out the sources of the posts they enjoyed because that was where they could find out more about the topics they enjoy.
I don't think that, even with the internet at their fingertips, new users know how interconnected things are online. This can lead to the intimidation a lot of them experience when all they have to consider is that it all really is right there in front of them. Neatorama especially bridges this gap with its combination of silly, serious, and intellectual content which is what makes it so effective as a tool.
Thanks Barry! I'm honored and humbled that this li'l blog has helped your students!