User:Rmyers/Magnetic Poetry


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Magnetic Poetry explores the concept of creating poetry from a limited vocabulary.


Physical Magnetic Poetry

Magnetic Poetry started as a novelty. As a physical device it has utility as a way of exploring word order and as a way out of writers block.

Personally, I have a great deal of difficulty writing poetry. The almost limitless choices makes me freeze. I find having limits, in the form of the vocabulary tiles, a way to break past this.

Magnetic Poetry, the activity

Target user

This activity is envisioned for children age 8 and up. It assumes a good ability to read words, know how they are pronounced and their meanings.

Additionally, it assumes that the child can perform typical more advanced computer manipulation skills like drag and drop, past basic point and click skills.

Educational goals

  • Verbal creativity
  • Recognition of rhyme and rhythm
  • Recognition of poetic forms

What can the computer add?

I'm not a big fan of computer programs that simply mechanize a task that can easily be done in other ways. So a virtual refrigerator door is not what we should be shooting for here.

Something that the computer could add would be a knowledge of poetic forms. The computer could put up a skeleton of a particular poetic form that the word tiles could be dragged to.

There is an excellent book on poetic forms aimed at the target age group: 'A Kick in the Head'

What particularly can the XO add?

XO speech and collaboration capabilities could add a lot to the activity.

  • The XO could sound out the rhythmic pattern of the form:'Ta-da-da ta-da ta-da...'.
  • The XO could sound out the rhythmic pattern of what the child has built.
  • The XO could read what the child has written
  • The XO could record the child reading her poem.
  • The poem could be shared to be viewed and listened to.
  • The activity could be shared to collaboratively create poems.

Localization Issues

L10n for this activity would be a greater than typical effort. I don't figure that word lists could simply be translated. Grammatical issues may need to be addressed. For example the physical magnetic poetry novelty has 's' tiles to create plural words, or to change verb forms ([give]/[gives][s]). This likely will not work in other languages.

Also poetic forms differ across languages and cultures. Haiku may make sense in many languages, but limericks or masnavi may not.

Preferred rhythms will also vary by language and culture. English speakers may have an affinity for the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare, Italian speakers the terza rima of Dante.

It would be expected that this activity would need 'language champions' to handle the task of making language and culture appropriate versions.

This would also likely require different versions of the activity to be distributed for different languages and cultures.

What sparked the idea

ILXO had a Teacher Jam the evening of 7/29/2008. Magnetic Poetry was an idea discussed at this time. This page is starting as a document of this discussion, and my own further thought on the matter.

It is hoped that this activity will be worked on as part of the upcoming ILXO Game Jam.

Previous effort within the XO community

Magnetic Poetry has been discussed at Flatland and PoetryJam. Neither of these pages seem to reflect current activity on the project. I've put notes mentioning this page on the talk page of both. I have also place a note on the talk page of User:Ttuttle who is mentioned on the PoetryJam page.

Computer Magnetic poetry

I found a web based 'Poetry Magnets' activity here. Frankly, this meets my definition of a bad educational game. It is simply a mechanization of physical poetry magnets, with no attempt at additional educational content. There only seems to be a single word set.

There are additional computer versions mentioned in the Wikipedia article referenced above. I haven't explored these yet.

Technical thoughts

Screen layout and controls

Word Class

Poetic Form Class

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