Using Arts and Letters Daily

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SWBAT interact with and discover from the internet learned-catalog powerhouse Arts & Letters Daily

Big Idea

... students need exposure to excellent, learned, academic-leaning web content -- they do not come to this on their own!

Background and Context

6 minutes

Philosophy professor and internet pioneer Denis Dutton (1944 - 2010) started Arts & Letters Daily in 1998 as an erudite and insightful repository of the web’s best content -- public-intellectuals’ musings in a broad range of commentary from The New York Times to Reason to The Smithsonian.  Arts & Letters Daily has received numerous awards and accolades over the years (a 2003 Webby and one of PC Magazine’s “100 Classic Websites” in 2007), and it is still considered among the best aggregators of internet content available for a discerning audience.  Currently, the site is owned by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I’ve had good luck with A&L Daily, really since its inception, as a one-stop-shop for all things learned.

Exploring the Site

16 minutes

The site is simply columns of stacked, small teasers in three broad categories: “Articles of Note,” “New Books,” and “Essays and Opinion.”  Each teaser is accompanied by a link to the content described.  The site is, admittedly, very text heavy, so my students tend to skim the teasers only lightly.

I ask them to bookmark the site (if using Chrome and logged in the bookmarks will “stick”) on their workstation and return to it often during class.  Over time, I actually see the site popping up on the screens around the room, as students use “open” browsing time.

After a few minutes of practice navigating the site, I ask students to find five - eight great pieces they will want to read more thoroughly.  Once they find an article of note, I ask them to load this in a separate tab in the browser, so they should, eventually, have at least six tabs open total.  In the next section of the lesson, I explain (with a video) what students are to do with the open tabs …

Guided Practice for Collecting Articles of Note

26 minutes

The video resource for this unit provides instructions for using Arts & Letters Daily to locate content for a student's "Research Interest List" from his/her "Research Notebook" website (which is discussed and detailed in the unit for creating this notebook, included elsewhere in my curriculum).  So this video is best viewed with some foreknowledge of my unit "The Medium is the Message: Modern Technology Meets Classic Research Methods." 

I refer to in the video, which is also a fantastic site for finding good, non-fiction for students as they plan to research and/or editorial writing.

However, if you chose to use Arts & Letters Daily WITHOUT also utilizing the "Research Interests List" the procedures outlined in the attached vid are, at least conceptually, the same for employing any, generic e-notation method (like Evernote, MS One Note, or even a Google Doc table).  In simple, simple terms you are merely guiding students to develop a repository of their URLs for reading!