Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Digital conclusion

Just finished the next draft of a paper on virtual worlds. It's strange how the writing process moves you to previously unarticulated positions. Does it make sense? I'm posting a bit of my final paragraph here, in the hope that I get some reaction. Here goes, warts and all... If the digital literacy practices of virtual worlds offer anything distinctive to formal education these attitudes and dispositions may hold the key. Enthusiasts claim that virtual worlds can promote learning that emerges from what Graham (2008)calls the ‘playfully social’ in which learners can benefit from network effects (Gauntlett & Jackson, 2008), developing interest-driven collective intelligence in which knowledge is distributed and collaboratively produced (Gee, 2004). If this is indeed the case then they pose a fundamental challenge to traditional schooling. The current emphasis on standards, derived from measures of individual performance on a rather narrow range of literacy practices coupled with pervasive and powerful discourses of what constitutes literacy instruction, limits our capacity for innovation. Changes in teacher preparation, continuing professional development as well as wider educational reform may be needed. The real transformation may rest on how we can re-imagine meaningful interactions in which pupils and teachers have the wider access to the ideational and relational resources that new technology can enable.


Aigburthvale said...

Hi Guy,

Aigburthvale said...

I am wondering...lower KS2 chidren, I often think they don't (physically)play iaginatively enough, and if this occurs when there is over stimulation by TV/computer, also if a child's reading ability has an impact on how they access virtual world can put a damper on how much a child would derive from engaging in a VE. and the chilren who do make headway would do so under any learning environment. Is your research with young people?

Guy Merchant said...


This is work with 9 and 10 year-olds. A number of reluctant readers were highly motivated by virtual world play, which was very limited in terms of curriculum time. I suppose I think of this as an exciting devlopment in imaginative play...but yes there could be all-too-familiar barriers for some children.