Re: High School Technical Writing

Subject: Re: High School Technical Writing
From: John David Hickey <jdavid -at- FARABI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 11:33:36 -0500


> the inner city. These classroom materials are intended to
> prepare students
> for a technical literacy contest. Any classroom material will be
> coordinated with the real life of the classroom and student
> projects. Right

I went to my old high school a few years ago on a career day to explain what
being a technical writer was all about. I had prepared a whole little speech
that resembles your Set 1 in your course load (I only had about 30 minutes
with these kids).

But before I got started on that, I walked into the class and without a
word, pulled out a dial telephone and plunked it down on the teacher's desk
for all to see. Admist curious looks and giggles, I pulled out a
tri-cornered hat with a feather in it and put it on my head. I then wrote
418-567-2490 on the board.

I then explained to the students I that I was a guy from the 18th century
that got yanked into the present day by some freaky space-time thingee. The
only way that I could get home was to talk to someone by phone and that I
had to dial the number on the board. So I asked them to give me instructions
on how to dial the number.

I picked a student to write the instructions on the board. I said I would
only follow the instructions written on the board.

Of course, the first suggestion was to "pick up the phone" and "dial the
number". So I said, "What's a phone? What's a dial?" When the students
pointed at the telephone, I said "Ah... I see" and picked up the entire
telephone and held it over my head. "Now what do I do?"

After about 15 minutes, they finally hammered out a set of instructions that
I could follow. This was a fun exercise that not only showed what technical
writers do, but also some of the challenges with explaining something that
can be totally foreign to a user.

Be seeing you,

John David Hickey (jdavid -at- farabi -dot- com)

Lone Writer at Farabi Technology Corp. (Montreal, Quebec)

They say the pen is mighter than the sword.
But if you miss a deadline, you'd better bring the sword.
Do not confuse my opinons with my employer's.
Each exists in blissful ignorance of the other.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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