Ashley Edmonds

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is More Better?

Be honest, which do you find more effective, a brief description/ summary or a long drawn out article? Most would choose the brief description. Think about it, when you Google something most people would prefer to read briefly to get a general idea of the topic. So with this being said, why wouldn’t teachers teach students to be able to write briefly and effectively on a topic?

In the article, "Teaching to the Text Message"Andy Selsberg, a teacher at John Jay College, saw the interest in texting as an opportunity to teach his students using Twitter-based learning. “We need to set our sights not lower, but shorter.” Selsberg along side traditional writing lessons also set up projects that would test his students critical thinking. In some projects students were asked to define things in two sentences. One of my favorite projects was where Selsberg asked his students to describe a chalkboard in one to two sentences. One of his students wrote, “A chalkboard is a lot like memory: often jumbled, unorganized and sloppy. Even after it’s erased, there are traces of everything that’s been written on it.” This response is beautiful. I believe that these two sentences were probably more thought out than if assigned an essay on the chalkboard.

I agree with Selsberg’s logic of using less to explain more. I believe setting a required length or word count can take away from an assignment. When setting a length students are more prawn to plagiarize, ramble, or manipulate the true content of the final product. For example, say a teacher assigns a 400 word short essay. Most of the turned in assignments would contain one or even all three of these problems to make the essay seem legit. However, with challenging the students with shorter content students are required to think more about what to write, and could have a better understanding of the topic.


  1. Ashley, I couldn't agree with you more. When I'm assigned with a long assignment I tend to ramble a lot. Although, I would have to disagree on the plagiarizing part. When I'm using twitter it's more difficult with 140 characters then, going on facebook and writing as much as I want. The blogs somewhat allow us to get a brief point across but, if they were to be shorter I think they would work also.

  2. I love this post. Why use up a lot of space for something that can be completely summarized in a breif description? Unneccesary lengths sometimes cause me to ramble on and sometimes manipulate the truth. When I'm looking for information on particular subject or thing, I like it to be short and straight to the point.

  3. This is rather similar to what I posted earlier. It certainly is more fulfilling to be able to be precise AND brief. There are so many people who try to fill articles and essays with seemingly useless jargon.

  4. Ashley great blog post I agree with what you are saying. We all would choose brief descriptions over a long essay. Sometimes with those long essays you do not know what to say. So you just keep rambling on.