Saturday, May 01, 2010

Finding a space

Why Cecilia Henriquez and Jessica Robles' work on expert identities in table-top games was placed with our work on SNSs under a title of Digital Identities is a mystery only AERA organisers could solve, but interestingly the juxtaposition was useful not least because it set us thinking of how apparently dissimilar topics shared some commonality. Both constitute social spaces in which relational and identity work is done, and in which learning is not directly related to curricular content areas. And in this sense they also share some similarities with virtual worlds. So are there spaces in school in which these kind of activities can find a comfortable home? There seem to be two kinds of responses to this. One is trying to open some spaces in educational contexts which are not so driven by curricular constraints, and in sensitive ways, so that when the cool enters school it doesn't cease to be cool. The other is to do pioneering work like Sasha Barab in which transformative play gets linked to curricular goals. Both seem worth exploring.

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