Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Computer problems interrupted my sequence of posts on the ESRC seminar series final conference, but fortunately in the meantime the wonderful Sheila Webber has gathered together a range of resources. There's a set of pics on Flickr (I stole the one above), a chatlog, and a couple of YouTube videos. They're all linked from Sheila Webber's blog, please have a look. It's an excellent record of the event.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I notice that yesterday's Prezi doesn't always show up. It seems to in Firefox and Safari, but not in Explorer. Strange. So today I'm showcasing a student video that should work...I think it's really good! Does it link well to the second seminar series theme? Well it might, and that all depends on your conception of literacy. Recently Gillen and Barton (2010) seem to have been quoted a lot, defining digital literacy as 'the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies.' Throughout the series we have been examining these practices, noting their multimodal nature and the ways in which the boundaries between reading and writing, between production and consumption are repeatedly blurred. It's also become apparent that within many digital environments the text is not only multiple but contains individual points of view. Each inhabitant sees and experiences Second Life from a unique perspective; no two Twitter streams will look the same, an so on. Point of view becomes an ever more important dimension as readers and writers construct their own journeys through the textual landscape. Along with this we've noted the development of new narrative vehicles and encountered complex questions of authorship, and repeatedly asked how these new kinds of texts map on to curriculum areas like media studies, English, drama or literacy. So in some ways, Helen Nixon summed it up when she asked how far can we stretch the term literacy before it ceases to be useful?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
In virtual worlds on Prezi - these are the four themes that seem to me to have dominated the virtual worlds seminar series (link). I'm just taking the first today, which is the problematic nature of notions of virtuality. I considered applying Lefebvre, because in a sense some virtual worlds seem to work in opposition to other spaces (heterotopias) and others seem to mirror them (isotopias) - but this sort of analysis hinges on the distinctiveness or even the separation of the virtual from the everyday and the series has made me question this. So that drives me back to interrogating the concept of the virtual. So we think of the virtual as 'almost', an approximation or a movement towards something more real; we regard it as an 'as if' world, a simulation of the more familiar, it is 'quite similar' to the everyday, but always, as Deleuze and Guattari suggest it is defined in relation to 'the real'. In our uses of the term virtual, the word reality is bracketed or elided. On Saturday I suggested that one of the most common uses of the word was in describing a virtual learning environment - a place where virtually no learning at all takes place! But our discussions on the virtual took us further on as we saw that many non-digital experiences shared the same charcteristics that have begun to associate with the virtual. Viewing film, immersive book reading, drama, role play and fantasy games are good examples of when an imaginative parallell world is conjured into being...and these sorts of experiences are interwoven with mundane reality just as virtual world gameplay is. Players and inhabitants of the metaverse engage in multiple textual worlds in which the distinction between online and offline becomes arbitrary. Constance Steinkuehler's 'constellation of literacy practices' is a very helpful description of this. There is a continual to-and-fro movement between RL and VL which suggests that any distinction between the two should be more precisely defined than we have tended to do so far.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today was the end of NMC 2010. The final keynote by John Seely Brown was a thought-provoking look at non-formal learning, with the suggestion that this involves the same dispositions (habits of mind) that are at the heart of 21st Century learning with new media - debatable but interesting. The conference has been dominated by video presentations and projects, like the one above, which has some interesting contradictions. I'm sure the kids enjoyed the choreography and the opportunity to dance, wave books and work to the BEP song. But the project enlisted the so-called new media to promote an old medium (nothing wrong in that), yet no-one is actually reading or really demonstrating any of its benefits!