The English Department's Blog

Mar 12

A little while back, Jose Picardo blogged about jux, a newish site that offers a free blogging service based around pictures rather than text. It is pretty slick, quite easy to use and makes an admirable alternative to PowerPoint, especially if you want students to look at one another’s work. I used it recently with my Year 10 class to explore poems in their GCSE English Literature anthology, asking them to find pictures that they felt expressed lines or images from the poems.  This has led to a piece of written work in which they have to explain and justify their choices, and also critique the work of another student.

Jux does have its limitations: posts are added in strictly chronological order, so, unless you want to spend time at the end changing the date stamp on each one, you have to work backwards, and each user can only have one jux, so if I wanted to use the site again with that class, I might have to ask them to delete the work they’ve already done.  Lastly, its inbuilt flickr search is a bit clunky: you’re better off getting students to search flickr directly and find images which allow you to use the direct link code from the image.

Grabbing an image link on flickr

 

Lastly, this is a good way to teach students how to search well.  Often on an exercise such as this they will simply use the words from the poem, which may yield unsatisfactory results.  Teaching them how to phrase searches in such a way as to pull out interesting images is a good way, too, of getting them to engage with the poem: what are they really seeing when they imagine the ‘great broken rings’ of The Wild Swans at Coole?

Here is a selection of good examples:

Yeats’ The Wild Swans at Coole – https://raghavs.jux.com/

Simon Armitage’s The Vision – https://kamkhalil.jux.com/

Wordsworth’s The Prelude – https://obablobba.jux.com/

 

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