Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I was very pleased to be asked to contribute to the University of Exeter Graduate School of Education seminar series, yesterday. This gave me an opportunity to develop my thinking about virtual world literacies in classrooms, good because I’m currently putting the final touches to a journal article on this topic. I’m also making final changes to the Web 2.0 and participation paper, which should see the light of day, soon. That leaves a book chapter on social networking and primary schools and that’ll be me done for this year. Early next year I have a chapter-length entry for The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. After that it will be time to knuckle down and do a more thorough analysis of the teen social networking data. Then I suppose we must turn our attention to publishing the outcomes of the ESRC Seminar Series!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Victor Keegan writes in today’s Guardian about the 3-D web and the rush to create virtual cities. It’s techno-utopian stuff but he draws attention to the narrowing gap between social networking and virtual worlds. Interesting stuff, but when most people you meet turn their nose up at the idea of virtual worlds, you begin to wonder who signs up to all those accounts. But I’m also interested in the whole notion of what’s virtual and how it’s immediately associated with heavily technologically mediated experience and a Snowcrash-like alternate reality. So reading Nicholas Burbules (here) is food for thought.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's easy to make a quick animated show with animoto. I'm hoping to be working with some enthusiastic young primary school teachers who will be using this in the classroom. For my part, I've only just started experimenting - maybe more later!
....not quite so good with video, though. Perhaps that's something to do with the size of the file, or maybe it's just the functionality. I like it as a quick way of presenting images.
....but, all things being equal, I think I'll stick to pics.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I seem to remember having to wait about four months for my Dr nameplate to arrive. It took about the same length of time to get the Prof one - not, you must understand that I'm particularly bothered about such titles, but when they're all you get for your labour I suppose they have some sort of significance. Anyway I moved office so now it looks like another four month wait until I get a name, let alone a title. As you can see above there's a particular kind of literacy practice involved - sticking plastic letters on to an aluminium strip. In the picture I'm reversing the process. Erasing some of the letters.
This subversive literacy practice has now left me with this sign. Now I'm guessing that corporate signage actually becomes so invisible that it will be hardly noticed - except that is by colleagues who are covert readers of my blog. All the same I'm not anticipating a queue of mixed reality tourists outside the office tomorrow or any other day!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Day One of the ESRC Seminar Series was excellent, or as Sheila Yoshikawa might say, v good (and certainly not puke-worthy). I thought it might be useful to post up my summary of what emerged as the key themes of the day, leaving aside Michele's new kitchen in New Jersey (too many news, there?). So first of all, and I suppose quite predictably, the themes of identity and identity performance came to the fore. Initially in the notions of self-presentation in virtual spaces, and also the whole fascinating area of relational identity. For instance: how do you decide which penguins to talk to in Club Penguin? Who do you think is like you ,and who do you think will like you? But also through several examples, other aspects of performance were highlighted. Jackie talked a lot about socio-dramatic play, and others, including Michele refered to various kinds of enactment of texts (Andrew reminded us of the way in which John Carrol applies drama theory to gaming). This theme of identity also touches on the whole area of immersion and the move from a third person to a first person connection with one's avatar. I wrote about the phenomenon of 'flow' or being in the zone a while back, and I guess this is one of the fears that fuel moral panics; the idea that we might get 'lost' in a virtual world, provoked by the technology into some sort of personality disorder. Julia alerted us to the various media discourses around virtuality, and Sheila underlined the particularly strong reactions that Second Life provokes. Questions of how we research and theorise children and young people's engagement with virtual worlds were never far away throughout the day. I was struck by the ways in which different virtual worlds have different affordances and of course the role of written language (digital literacy) is always a pre-occupation. Towards the end of the day we were debating those very definitions of literacies, multimodality and meaning-making that are central to the field.