Microliterature exploitation2 en


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This paper was presented in a conference in Nitra (Slovakia) in 2012. It deals with microfiction and cybermicrofiction both from a theoretical point of view and its didactic exploitation in L2 (and also L1) lessons.

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Microliterature exploitation2 en

  1. 1. Cyberliterature, microstories and their exploitation XAVIER FRÍAS CONDE, UNED (SPAIN) ALFONSO LÓPEZ, CES DON BOSCO (SPAIN)AbstractThis paper argues that micro literature, in its different versions, can be very fertile ground forteaching both literature and language. As very short literature, micro pieces allow for veryversatile teaching, ranging from intensive reading and writing during class-time to blendedlearning supported by web applications, especially weblogs and social networks. In whatfollows, will we will first look at different forms of micro literature, as well as the concept ofcyber literature. We will then give suggestions of how (cyber) micro literature can beexploited in class, and report a real classroom experience with Spanish teacher trainingstudents.1. The concepts of microliterature, cyberliterature and others1.1. The vehicle: the internet In order to discuss contemporary literature, it is necessary to establish the different waysin which literature can be delivered to readers; indeed, it is necessary to refer to the differentsupports it can take nowadays, since paper books are not the sole vehicle for literature,especially since the quick widespread of the internet era. It is then necessary to make a clear difference between three very important concepts: 1. Conventional Literature is traditional literature whose vehicle is paper. 2. Digital Literature doesn’t have paper as its vehicle, but electronic devices, such as e-readers, tablets, notebooks, etc. 3. Cyberliterature, published just on the net, so that texts are to be find just online, where its main -but not only- vehicle is blogs. All these formats can be exchangeable. That means that a literary text created underone of them can be exported to another one, but not in a proportional, balanced way in bothdirections, since trends and fluency are different, such as it is represented in the following
  2. 2. graphic, which shows the different relationships between the three literary supports: The graphic reflects then the larger or shorter possibilities of format exchange, as wellas the costs, the diffusion and some other items.1.2. Cyberliterature Lets then concentrate on cyberliterature, given that all the experiences we are going torefer to have the internet as their main support, though not the only one. Since it is quite amodern phenomenon, it will require some explanations about its main features and typology,even if we will only discuss its shortest forms. The vast majority of cyberliterature texts are short, yet it is possible to find novels, butcertainly the internet is not the best place to house a novel. Therefore these short forms ofcyberliterature can be split into three main branches: 1. Microfiction: with extremely short narrations (we will deal with it later on) 2. Micropoetry, with aphorisms and haikus, among other forms. 3. Microdrama, with very short dramatic texts, kind of role-plays, often even monologues. The preferred format to publish these and other genres is blogs, to which we will alsodevote a part of our paper. Therefore a question immediately arises: What makes cyberliterature be so successful?Due to its own nature, it is possible to set a few features that may help to explain why CyLhas spread so much during the last decade. Lets mention the ten main items that characteriseCyL:
  3. 3. 1. Worldwide access. Texts can be accessed from anywhere around the world. 2. Immediate update. Authors can include any changes or modifications. 3. Immediate re-edition of contents. 4. Its briefness. Short texts are easily read on the screen. Long texts are not. 5. Frequent lack of a quality filter. That promotes self-edition. 6. Writers become publishers. That supposes a fully home-made literature. 7. Sites become a kind of magazine (blog), with an irregular periodicity. 8. A Creative Commons Licence is often added. Authors who try to provide their edition task with a little bit of formality include this kind of licence. 9. Writers and readers may interact 10. It’s virtually free for both authors and readers. As previously mentioned, blogs are the main vehicle to support cyberliterature andmicrofiction. The fact of being friendly-user means has facilitated its rapid expansion andfavoured its choice as the favourite means to publish microstories. This is not the place whereto define what a blog is, but it is necessary to make a clear difference between literary andnot-literary blogs. The first ones have, obviously, a literary purpose to either promote literarycreation or deal with literary matters (critics, advertisement, etc.). We have just worked withthe first type of the aforementioned blogs. Blogs work out as a kind of e-magazines furnished with posts. The success of a blog canbe measured by the number of visits, which involves an active commitment of the author. We will now move on to look at genre.1.3. Microfiction and Cyberliterature The kind of literature we are working with could really be defined as cybermicrofiction,so that the double reference to the internet and the length of the texts is clearly reflected inthis way. This genre is also known under other names, among them flash fiction in the Englishspeaking countries, but we do not find it too accurate. Not cybermicrofiction, but just microfiction has existed since the very beginnings ofwritten literature. Aesops fables are an early sample of microfiction. The genre continued,under other forms, in the medieval exempla and reached the 20th century, where it was
  4. 4. usually deemed as a minor form of literature. Major authors such as Kafka, Hemingway orBorges cultivated it. These are a few samples of microstories by the aforementioned authors: "Alas," said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into." "You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up. Franz Kafka For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn. Ernest Hemingway Cuando despertó, el dinosauro todavía estaba allí. Augusto Monterroso However, the birth of the internet enabled a renewed version of this kind of literaturewhich adapted itself to the needs of most citizens sunk in the frenzy of present days life style,where time is scarce and everybody is always in a hurry. In fact, microfiction is evolving,currently as cybermicrofiction. Thus any attempt to enclose it under academic criteria is stilluseless, since it is still too early to try to tag and dissect its multiple manifestations. It was born some ten years ago, so it is impossible to foresee how it will evolve, even ifit will survive under its present forms; the only certainty is that it is spreading quicklythroughout the internet and it is even jumping into paper books, where it is only microfiction. Regarding the length of the texts, there are different proposals of classification, sincenot all the writings have the same extension, and the matter of how many words a story hasdoes matter here 1. Mini-story: up to one-page long 2. Micro-story: up to 150 words
  5. 5. 3. Nano-story: up to 140 characters (based on Twitter system) Only the nano-story standard is clearly established; as for the rest, their total length isunder discussion.2. Working with (cyber)microfiction2.1. Why to use (cyber)microfiction Once we have introduced the literary raw material, the next step consists of exploiting itin our language lessons. For the last six years, we have been using (cyber)microfiction as an excellentcomplement in our L2 lessons. Even some colleagues, encouraged by our positive experience,have proved it in other academic levels, being the results more than satisfactory. Both microfiction and cybermicrofiction have allowed us to make our students read inspite of the well known lack of interest and motivation for reading existing especially amonghigh-school students. Therefore, (cyber)microfiction has been a good tool to elicit both reading and writing,because students get finally motivated to create their own microstories. The use of(cyber)microfiction is not only positive for L2, but also for L1, but here we will just focus onits exploitation in L2 lessons. Our reasons to choose (cyber)microfiction instead of other types of texts can besummarised as follows: 1. These kind of texts tend to be rather motivating 2. They are easily reachable 3. They are suitable for both childrens and adults literature 4. They offer a great deal of possibilities for exploitation 5. Basically the length of the texts makes them much more suitable to be exploited in L2 lessons, especially with beginners, but not only. Regarding the target students, it favours the autonomy of beginners, especially amongyounger students. If the texts are rightly adapted, they can be worked by students of all ages,from primary school until adults. As it was previously mentioned, microfiction has been usedby primary-school colleagues, though our own experience is rather related to higher-educationstudents. Students feel much more motivated to read, since they can understand the textsmuch more easily.
  6. 6. 2.2. Formats and sources of microfiction for class exploitation Microfiction does not require an internet connection, which in certain cases could beimpossible. Even so, surfing the net is one of the motivations to work with microfiction,mainly if our students are teenagers. Therefore, it is possible to access texts from different sources, in which case the formatsmay vary: 1 Online texts: usually taken from blogs. They just need to be printed. 2 Projected texts (with a beamer): presented as slides presentations. In this case it is the teacher who must prepare the stuff. Slides also offer the chance to include sound, i.e., it can be even become an audio-book. Presentations can also be uploaded. 3 Booklets: texts are handed out in a home-made edition. In fact, slides can also be printed in order to obtain a booklet. With younger students this allows us to make up a kind of home-made booklets including illustrations – which can just be photographs taken from the internet.2.3. Suggestions to exploit (cyber)microfiction didactically It is obvious there are dozens of different approaches and likelihoods to exploit anytext didactically. What we are going to show in a brief way is the process scheduled by usalong the last years, which follows an input-output pattern involving the four skills (reading,writing, speaking and listening) The input phase involves principally reading, listening and speaking, while the outputphase involves mainly writing. This division cannot be taken too strictly and is just an optionamong many others. Writing can certainly be also used in the first phase, as well as the other three optionscan be used in the second phase, but we have decided to distribute the skills according to theprevious schedule, though we are aware that this procedure is not the only option, not eventhe best one. That means that writing can be certainly used in the input phase, as well asspeaking, reading and listening can be used in the output phase Our proposal of input activities is focused on two different phases: Skills Exploitationand Linguistic Exploitation.
  7. 7. For the skills exploitation, the steps to follow are these:1 Presentation and hand-out of the texts • Online texts should be read out of the classroom, unless the teacher considers it is better to read them in class (especially if working with primary-school students) • Slides can be read aloud in class but students should have a printed copy available. • Booklets can also be read at home.2 Group work • After-reading speaking activities. • After-reading written activities (questionnaires). For the linguistic exploitation activities, there are many options to work with the texts inclass, all of them perfectly known: 1. Activities focusing vocabulary 2. Drills 3. Fill-in the gaps 4. Activities focusing grammar 5. Drills 6. Rewriting 7. Dramatization (role-play) if possible, since not all texts are suitable to be performed. Our proposal for output activities aims to be an attempt to elicit a relatively literarycreation process, but we do not intend our students to become real writers, yet we do presentthe writing process as a moment for fun, so students are proposed to create their own texts,that is why writing takes up a crucial role in this last phase. The creative process requires the writing of a set of texts, not just one. The length is tobe decided by the teacher depending on their students background (knowledge, level,motivation, abilities, age, etc.). The formats to be used are the same ones we have been dealing with above: blogs,slides and booklets. Students over 16 can be invited to open their own blog.
  8. 8. With competent students it is also possible to make Flash-format books by signing in onthe website of Issuu.com. Illustrations with pictures or photos are also welcome, since theartistic side of the activity is much more important than it seems. Moreover, microstories willbe periodically written, several times along the school year, not just once or twice during thecourse.2.4. Before creating, warm-up Writing requires training. It is not possible to write without having previouslypractised how to write stories, which is much more than putting words together respecting thegrammar rules of a given language. Paradoxically younger students usually need less training than adults in order to breakup writing. What writers call inspiration can come up at any moment; for that reason ourstudents ought to be ready to pick up their pen or their computer to set to write. That is why, when dealing with grown-ups, it is convenient to propose a kind of warm-up activities that will eventually allow them to create more easily. We have selected just three. 1. Write a story from a picture Students are offered wordless pictures in order to create their story. The process can go through a dialogue with the teacher and/or among the students about what they see on the picture and how they interpret it. The goal is to elicit a story. These two pictures were used with university students to provoke them to create a story based on what they saw (see the pictures in the appendix at the end) 2. Interpret the vignettes In this case, the story has already been told, it does have a plot, but the words are missing. That is precisely what the students have to do, transform a pictorial story into a written one (see the comic strip that was used for that purpose also included in the appendix) 3. Rewriting Students are now offered a real piece of news taken from a newspaper or magazine (even from the internet). It is recommendable to choose hilarious events. The following scrap is real and was used to motivate to transform a journalistic writing into
  9. 9. a literary microstory1. Taiwanese woman to marry herself A Taiwanese woman has decided to marry herself in an elaborate ceremony due to a lack of potential suitors. Chen Wei-yih said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan Photo: GETTY 4:41PM BST 22 Oct 201094 Comments Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends. Uninspired by the men shes met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30- year-old office worker from Taipei will hold the reception next month. "Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I havent found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said. "Its not that Im anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition." Her £3,600 wedding comes after online publicity campaign. Once the teacher deems it is time to start writing, so that the required training period hasbeen successfully carried out, the inspiration matter must be faced up again. It is really toughto motivate students to write when they decide they dont want to, but humour is always ourally.2.5. Some techniques to help students to create microstories It is certainly quite difficult to motivate to create stories, even though they are so short.Besides, techniques vary according to the students age. For younger students Rodaristechniques (Rodari 1973) can turn out quite suitable, yet these may also work with adults justintroducing the necessary modifications, so that they dont look like too childish.1 Taken from Daily Telegraph:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/taiwan/8080685/Taiwanese-woman-to-marry-herself.html [02-Oct.-2012]
  10. 10. It is really complicated to cause the human brain to trigger to invent stories, but thegenius of Rodari has collected very basic techniques that have been used by hundreds ofwriters and teachers to let ideas out. We have just selected a few of them, in this case mainlyyoung student-centered techniques (for primary-school). 1. The fantastic binomial The fantastic binomial is the confrontation of two ideas, concepts, object, features or people with no apparent relationship. Optionally two opposites can be joined to provoke inspiration (for example what about a vegetarian lion? Or a giant gnome? Or a two-eyed Cyclops? Try by using some of this: • Frying-pan <> modem • Shark <> tickle • Pen <> liar 2. “What would happen if...?” This technique brings up an impossible hypotheses to which students should give an imaginative answer by means of a story. These are some ideas: • What would happen if Santa Claus were fined for exceeding the speed limit and his sleigh were confiscated? • What would happen if you could paint smiles on peoples faces? • What would happen if suddenly the moon had hiccup? 3. The arbitrary prefix The starting point is the existence of real forms such as washing-machine, vending- machine, so that the proposal might turn around a new concept such as a yawning- machine. Similarly with real prefixes: underword (as underworld), e- plant (as e-mail or e-book). 4. The funny mistake This a good way to exploit linguistic mistakes. Grammar mistakes allow to wake up imagination.
  11. 11. • 3-star hotel > 3-hotel star • Work clothes > working clothes (understood as clothes that work for themselves) Or even pronunciation mistakes: • I think > I sink As we have previously remarked, these techniques can also be used with teenagers andadults, but with all the appropriate changes regarding vocabulary, circumstances and so on.3. A specific proposal to use (cyber)microfiction with University students3.1. Micro fiction in the classroom As outlined above, both length and compatibility with online applications make microfiction an ideal genre for use in the classroom, whether in Primary, Secondary or HigherEducation settings. In terms of the latter, reading and writing micro pieces may be used in agamut of courses, including language (both mother-tongue and foreign) and Literature (Collie1987). In what follows we will describe a teaching experience that relied heavily on microfiction as part of a course on reading and creative writing taught to Spanish teacher trainingundergraduates. By sharing this experience, we hope to show how micro fiction reading andwriting exercises can help to develop foreign language skills and, perhaps no less important,contribute to students’ cognitive development and critical thinking.3.2. Background This teaching experience took place at CES Don Bosco, an independent teachertraining college affiliated to Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The course, entitledReading and Creative Writing, is an elective course offered in year two of a Bachelors Degreein Teacher Training, Primary Education. It is taught in English to students who are following abilingual stream, meaning that around 50% of their credit load is taught in English. Like inother courses in the program, it is expected that students will improve their level of Englishwhile (and through) studying course content, so the teaching relies on many principles andstrategies inspired from FL teaching methodology and Content and Language IntegratedLearning (CLIL) (Coyle 2010). Given this background, the course had three types of aims:
  12. 12. a) Content aims, related mainly to literary criticism and creative writing skills, e.g. To re- flect on the strategies and literary devices that build up successful pieces of fiction. b) FL language aims, e.g. To help develop intensive reading skills. c) Aims related to the development of teaching skills, e.g. To raise awareness on strate- gies of teacher feedback to written tasks: responding, correction codes, focusing, etc.3.3. Integrating micro literature in class-work When planning the course, we took into account the lessons of a pilot experience thathad been run with English literature students the year before, a description of which has beenpublished elsewhere2 . Even if only three weeks of class-work were devoted to micro literature, some of thelessons obtained suggested that it would be a good idea to turn that pilot experience into thecore component of another course. One of those important lessons had been that, while students need to acquire a criticallexicon in order to discuss and critique works of fiction meaningfully, such conceptualframework should not be imposed or “taught” but, rather, arrived at inductively by students.The reason is that most students tend to see literary discussion (not to mention creativewriting) as something alien to them, and hence it is of crucial importance that they see thepoint in the judgments they are asked to make.3.3.1. A debut in literary criticism The first step of the process, then, was to set a number of readings from the differenton-line sources, mainly online literary journals and author weblogs3. After making sure theyunderstood the texts, the task students had to tackle was apparently simple: deciding whetherthey liked the story or not, and, whatever the case, trying to decide what made each storywork. Individual answers to this question, supplemented by subsequent class discussion, ledthe class to cooperatively create a simple but comprehensive critical checklist of literaryvirtues that a micro text could display. This list would serve as an aid for literary criticism ofsubsequent readings, from other reputed writers to pieces written by peers in a later stage of2 In a previous paper (López, 2011), one of the authors of this text presented an experience that high-lighted the benefits of reading and writing micro fiction as a first step for developing students’ literarycriticism skills.3 Some of these sources include online journals staccatofiction.com, nanofiction.org, or Xavier Frías’sweblog slonek.blogspot.com. [02-Oct. 2012]
  13. 13. the course4. Moreover, the checklist was reassessed and edited to include additional categoriesbased on further experiences reading micro pieces, as well as after an intensive readingactivity on Camille Renshaw’s classic essay The Essentials of Microfiction.3.3.2. Creative writing and publicationThe second stage of the process involved having students create, edit and publish micropieces. It is here that the original pilot project turned into a fuller task-based unit, wherestudents learning would take place through and around an authentic project, namely, thecreation and use of literary journals using weblog applications. The main aim of this project was to encourage team-work, editing processes and havestudents publish a meaningful and authentic record of the different activities that took place inclass.We will now take a quick look at some of these processes and activities, emphasizing howthey served as occasions for FL skills development. a) Brainstorming and Drafting.Most of the pieces produced were individual, although there was a team-writing activity. Thecreative writing was structured around different “calls for stories”, which in turn specifieddifferent themes and, most important, word count. For instance, the first set of stories wereproduced following topics and word-count suggested by a writing prompt published in e-journal nanofiction.org, in this case, “people in witness relocation program. Later stories werewritten on topics proposed by the teacher or agreed on by the class. b) Peer conference workshopsOn specific dates, sessions would be devoted to oral interviews were students would be askedto respond to their peers’ work. This was done in quite a structured way, by having studentsfill in a conference record form, both as authors and as respondents 5.This was one of the students’ preferred class activities, as it allowed them to get to read a4 One of the earlier versions of the checklist can be seen here,http://microfictionces.blogspot.com.es/2011/09/micro-fiction-assessment-checklist.html [02-Oct.-2012]5 The idea of the conference record is borrowed from Hollie Park’s Teaching Flash Fictionhttp://lilt.ilstu.edu/rlbroad/teaching/studentpubs/writegooder/park.pdf [02-Oct.-2012].
  14. 14. good number of pieces written by their peers and receive suggestions on how to improvetheir own work. From the instructor’s perspective, these workshops were one of the momentsin the course where the benefits of working on micro instead of longer fiction became clearer,as 1.5 hours of class-work proved more than sufficient time for three or four interviews andwhole-class feedback at the end. And such variety helped – not only did students not getdistracted or bored, but they had more opportunities of sharing their stories and applying theirreading and critical skills on others’.From a linguistic perspective, peer conference workshops provided an excellent occasion forfluency development, as interview had to take place in English and students would constantlyutilize a number of language functions such as criticising politely, making suggestions, askingfor clarification, or encouraging. c) Publication Once students had several written and edited pieces, they were asked to publish themon their group weblog. This stage of the project took place mainly outside the classroom,although some guidance was given in class as to how to utilize weblog applications, mainlyblogger.com. As has been suggested above, the rationale behind this task was to make it as authenticas possible. Students were not simply creating an online record of their work for theirinstructor to grade them, they were creating an online literary journal to share their storieswith their classmates and external readers. As such, they were encouraged to devote time andthinking to issues of i) Style: title,sub-title, background design and visuals. ii) Readability: color, font size, etc. iii) Functionality: labels to classify stories according to their author or subgenre. Again, from a teacher’s perspective, this stage of the project was very rewarding, asmost student groups tried hard at personalizing their blogs’ appearance and making them asreadable and visually attractive as they could. (See appendix 2)Furthermore, blog design and publication also helped to address the specific needs of studentswho think in visual ways or are especially prone to creative. d) Comments
  15. 15. As a follow up task, students were asked to read and comment on stories published inother online journals. This was done by using the comments functionality of Blogger. This task helped to reinforce understanding of the critical categories discussed, as wellas increasing students’ exposure to more texts –this time published by their peers. e) Portfolio interview In the field of ESOL, some language level exams apply a portfolio approach toassessing writing skills and using students’ written work as a springboard for discussion in theoral assessment. Our idea when planning this part of the course was to mirror such approach,and hence provide students with practice in defending a published portfolio and answeringquestions in a semi-formal setting. Due to the high number of students in class, the originalplan had to be simplified and, as a result, students were interviewed in groups, although theystill had to make mini (2 min) presentations on the theme, “what I have learnt in the creativewriting stage of this course”.3.4. Other activities Even if most of the learning activities were structured around the project that has beendescribed in the above section, other activities and resources were used, either as “drills” tohelp students in their writing processes, or as activities designed to help students reflect on thepossible uses of creative writing in the Primary classroom. a) Group brainstorms as warming-up activities. Often as a way of waking students up (quite literally, as sessions always took placeearly in the morning) and allowing for late-comers, the class would begin with short groupbrainstorms on very specific tasks. On several occasions, students were asked to proposemetaphors or similes to illustrate daily scenarios. Other times, they would be shown images oreven short videos as “text starts” and were asked to speculate on what they saw, or what thestory behind (or after) could be. Here, some language support was given to help studentsutilize appropriate expressions for speculating, such as modal verbs and expressions ofprobability (e.g. “That could be… / I guess that’s…./ He must have….) b) Interaction with a wider community
  16. 16. One of the most quoted principles of CLIL is the focus on “Community”. In thiscourse, students were encouraged to see their work in the course as part of a wider, real-lifecommunity in several ways. One day, Xavier Frías, writer and blogger and co-author of thispaper, was invited to join the class to briefly lecture on micro literature and discuss some ofhis fiction with students. Students were generally excited to meet a “real” writer whose fictionthey had enjoyed and discussed in class. Moreover, even after the course had finished, some of the students helped the college’sLanguage Department organize a micro story competition. Among other tasks, they wereentrusted with the responsibility of shortlisting the best 10 submissions.In both cases, students were able to see that reading and creative writing need not be a high-brow quasi mystical activity, but that it can contribute to strengthen communal links, forinstance, in a school. c) Essay-writing. Finally, students received training in essay-writing skills in English, and had to writean essay entitled “my process of writing”, in which they had to describe on their individualwriting processes, from brainstorming and focusing to editing and publishing.3.5. Suggestions of improvement In previous sections we have highlighted the many benefits of engaging students inreading and creative writing using micro literature, especially in the framework of meaningfulproject-work. However, as in other cases of task-based instruction, care must be taken toadequately plan language aims, especially those involving grammar structures or functionallanguage. In our specific experience, there was a general lack of grammatical control andaccuracy in many publications and, especially in written comments to peer work. This isclearly an area of improvement, which could also be pursued collaboratively, for instance, byhaving students self and peer correct their language use more carefully via correction codes.3.6. Benefits of using micro fiction We will now summarize the main benefits of using micro fiction in teaching,especially in literature, creative writing and EFL courses. 1. Micro fiction makes it easier to expose students to significant variety. And variety is important when studying literature, as authors get things right in very different ways.
  17. 17. 2. Micro pieces are an extremely flexible teaching material. You can use them in class for intensive reading activities. You can set their reading for homework and even busy mature students will find the time and energy to read them. 3. Micro stories are ideal as a non-intimidating first adult experience in creative writing. 4. As has been discussed in the first section of this paper, micro literature feels very much at home on the Internet, computer screens and even mobile phones (especially nano fiction), which is where people do most of their reading nowadays. 5. This very short genre allows for realistic team writing and peer editing activities re- quiring little or no homework. 6. Having students publish in blogs (individually or group managed) fosters creativity caters to students with a visual learning style.4. Conclusion To conclude this paper, we would like to insist on the idea that (cyber)microfiction isinteresting for itself, as a brand-new literary movement, but also because of its multipledidactic possibilities. We have already been working with very short texts in our L2 classesfor several years, so we can utter that the use of these materials will facilitate students to learnforeign languages. Do not forget that our younger students belong to the so-called digitalgeneration and this kind of texts is not alien to them. As we hope to have shown, micro literature can be an exciting and highly versatileresource for teaching a foreign language (especially English) and developing cognitive skillsin students in a variety of subject-areas in the Humanities. Furthermore, the close relationshipof this literary genre with the new technologies and, especially, the Internet, make it ideal fortransmitting students a passion for reading and storytelling that is traditional in its spirit butnew in its language. And, whatever the scenarios, humanistic approaches to education cannotfail to speak to students in a language they can understand.References
  18. 18. Collie, J. and Slater, S. Literature in the Language Classroom. A Recource Book of Ideas and Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.Coyle,D., Hood,P. & Marsh, D. Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambrodge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.Duff, A. & Maley, A. (2007). Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Frías Conde, X. (2010). “A relación entre a literature e a internet nos inicios do século XXI nas literatures ibéricas: o caso da microficción.” Revista de lenguas y literaturas catalana, gallega y vasca, 2010, vol.15, p. 77-87. Available here: http://e- spacio.uned.es/fez/view.php?pid=bibliuned:Llcgv-2010-vol.15-05Lagmanovich, D. “La extrema brevedad: microrrelatos de una y dos líneas”, in Espéculo 32, 2006 [cit June 28, 2012] http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero32/exbreve.htmlLópez, A. “Learning to Read, Learning to Write: An Experience in Using Microfiction with Spanish EFL Teacher Trainees”, in ICERI Proceedings. IATED. 2011Marsh Renshaw, C. The Essentials of Microfiction, in Pif Magazine. Published 1 june 1998. http://www.pifmagazine.com/1998/06/the-essentials-of-microfiction/Rodari, G. Grammatica della fantasia, Einaudi:Torino, 1973.Sharma, P. & Barrett, B.. Blended Learning. Using technology in and beyond the language classroom. Oxford: Macmillan, 2007Reference blogsAlquisawww.alqisa.blogspot.comFracaso de microcuentoshttp://www.microcuentos.orgMicrostoriaswww.eonaviego.blogspot.comNANO Fictionhttp://nanofiction.org
  19. 19. Přiběhy na padesat slovhttp://pribehynapadesatslov.cz/Slonekhttp://slonek.blogspot.comStaccato Fictionhttp://staccatofiction.com140 Letrashttp://140.zip.net/Xavier Frías Conde, UNED (Spain)Doctor of Romance Philology, works at the Spanish UNED, where he teaches Romancelanguages and Linguistics. He is also a writer, deeply committed with cyberliterature. Hebegan to write microstories in 2008. Besides he collaborates with the Catalan Lectorate ofCharles University in Prague. As a writer, he has published more than two dozens of literaryworks in several languages.Alfonso López, CES Don Bosco (Spain)A.L. holds a Bacherlor of Arts from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), a PhD fromUniversidad Complutense de Madrid, and CELTA from Cambridge University. He works atCES Don Bosco Education College (Madrid) as a teacher trainer, and coordinates theBilingual (English-Spanish) degree programs. His main areas of interest are contemporaryEnglish literature and, more recently, teaching methodology in bilingual environments andprograms. He publishes micro literature in Spanish and English online, atwww.microcuentos.org.
  20. 20. Appendix 1. Pictures Wordless Vignette
  21. 21. 2. Blogs