Learning2gether with David Winet on Real World Writing about Real Things for a Real Audience

Learning2gether Episode 252

Download mp3: https://learning2getherdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/learning2gether-with-david-winet-on-real-world-writing-about-real-things-for-a-real-audience-vo33wspnjn4.mp3?

On Sun Dec 28 at 1500 GMT Learning2gether were fortunate to meet with David Winet who hosted a discussion on Real World Writing about Real Things for a Real Audience

Dave’s point is that students can supplement the standard writing for teacher only by using Yelp, Rottentomatoes, DearAbby, Yahoo news, PeoplesCourt, Amazon review, and comment sections to communicate their thoughts and feelings about film, food, products, books, news stories, justice, etc. with the whole internet.  This is writing with a real purpose, not just writing as an academic exercise, and it gets students to write because they want to, not because they have to.


Google+ Hangout

Contents of the show notes:

Hi and thank you for coming.  Background:  Academic bound students A little thing that gets students reading &writing about real things for real readers, and finding motivation to do it correctly as well as exposure to how it’s done by native speakers. The students can pick their own favorites, or the teacher can assign a movie, book, product, restaurant to review, etc.  In the case of movies and restaurants students can go in groups if they wish and each write his/her own review. Obviously this is fun to go somewhere together and then compare reviews. After-class benefit and tie-in would be getting other students in the class to try a given restaurant or movie based on the review.  A chance to bond!

Caveat: some students are not ready for the real world.  A mix is best of standard essays and this stuff.  Students must have the option to get their work corrected and the structure right before they post.  A more serious or higher level class should have a short lecture and templates from the teacher to help structure a good review.

Places you can do this:

  1. Amazon -product reviews
  2. Rottentomatoes -movie reviews; TV series reviews
  3. Yahoo news  -current events
  4. Yelp -restaurant reviews        -service provider reviews
  5. Gamespot -Videogame reviews
  6. Youtube -Music, album reviews
  7. Ratemyprofessor -Teachers, Schools (for the brave only)
  8. Tripadvisor, Virtualtourist  -Tourist venues, places to visit, things to avoid or watch out for.
  9. Dear Abby (uexpress.com/dearabby) -Give advice to the lovelorn and such
  10. People’s Court (video) -Decide Cases1
  11. Yahoo Answers -How to’s, Food recipes
  12. Wikipedia
  13. Ted.com

What the students get:

A. Passive learning

  1. practice reading up to date English – often with colloquialisms
  2. exposure to American culture (often in all its ugliness)
  3. exposure to examples of intelligent and less intelligent discussions and expositions
  4. learning about movies, restaurants and services they can actually use in real life.

B. Active learning1

  1. Writing about things that matter to them (movies, restaurants, current events, products)
  2. Using other people’s submissions as (good and bad) examples, writing well structured mini-essays (movie, restaurant reviews)
  3. Presenting non-American viewpoints and contributing to the general knowledge in that way.


  1. Do you do anything like this in your classes?
  2. Do you think such writing might detract from learning more formal academic writing?
  3. Is there a risk in having students interact with people out in the wide world?4
  4. Have you ever written a review? Would you?  Why/why not?  If you did, what did you review?  What did you touch on?  Did anyone react?5
  5. Other forms of real-world writing?  Letter to the President?  E-pals


Maria Colussa connects with us from Argentina


Earlier this week

Mon Dec 15 and Thu Dec 18 – Juergen Wagner hosts two events with Webheads Rita Zeinstejer (Thinglink) and Nik Peachey (HelloTalk)


Thu Dec 18 ‘ELT through Rhythm and Rhyme

Click here to access the class

Fri Oct 24-Dec 21 – Build Your Teaching Business Online: free MOOC from Jason Levine and Sylvia Guinan


Schedule: https://docs.google.com/document/d/114_-pZjCooPIGuIQNC7KR7kc2N9s0pYNX80NpqEbwYg/edit

or: http://bit.ly/1zg3EtH

November 17-23: Learning to use the virtual classroom linked from

November 24-30: Learning to create a course

December 1-7: Course creation

  • Thu Dec 10 1300 GMT From Belief to Vision: Defining Why You Do What You Do

December 8-21 Course presentations

Oct 20 to Dec 15 George Siemens MOOC on Data, Analytics and Learning


One thought on “Learning2gether with David Winet on Real World Writing about Real Things for a Real Audience

  1. Pingback: Learning2gether with Teresa Almeida d’Eca – Google, a world within the World | Learning2gether

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