Friday, 29 February 2008

Leap year iphone babies

Well, I know I only posted yesterday and don't really have any startling news (and I am not a daily blogger like Guy), but I couldn't resist having a post dated February 29th! Maybe it is also the day for another 1 year-old baby/ iphone post...

And just in case you didn't quite catch that, here is a baby younger than 1 with an iphone:

What will these kids be doing next Leap Year, I wonder?

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Threading voices

Well, I did buy a Nintendo Wii (see last post) but found that, unfortunately, it gave me motion sickness! How sad. Not surprising though, as I get travel sick on the shortest journeys. I even feel travel sick on the London Eye. This is good for the rest of the family, however, as there is now one less person competing for the 'nunchuck' (where did they think that name up?). So it was just as well that I have started another project with Peter Winter, a wonderful teacher at Monteney Primary School, as it will take my mind off my Wii troubles. We are working on a project with Year 2 children (aged six and seven) using Google Earth and a wonderful web tool, Voicethread. I love Voicethread and when I get a chance I am going to create Voicethreads of my own instead of just working with children as they create theirs - maybe I will call it 'Nintendo Wii Blues...'

Monday, 25 February 2008

A Wii rest

I have taught on two weekend study schools and examined three PhDs in the last 10 days, in addition to the usual round of writing, marking, admin, reviews, meetings (and more meetings), responding to students' emails and making research visits to schools etc., so am feeling in need of a bit of rest & relaxation. I am thinking of buying a Nintentendo Wii to play with this forthcoming weekend...along with half of Britain, it seems. Now I have to get in the queue behind physiotherapists, who are using them with recovering patients. I was already way behind care home residents in the Wii stakes. Anyone for tennis?

Monday, 18 February 2008

Future of the book

I met with Bob and Chris from the Institute for the Future of the Book last week, who showed me some fantastic software the organisation has developed, which will enable pupils and teachers to create multimodal, online texts. The software is called 'Sophie' and will be free to dowload from here from the end of February. I know I won't be able to create anything like as fabulous as 'Inanimate Alice', but I am a looking forward to digital authoring using the software. However, much as I love 'Inanimate Alice' for all sorts of reasons, I do not like having the pace of reading dictated to me, which would prevent me from engaging in widespread reading of similar texts. I am a fast reader and feel frustrated with the pace of that story. Maybe I'm just a bad example of the 'twitch generation'?!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Ambient produsage

I consider myself to be fairly technically competent - and quick - with a range of hardware and software, but I have been struggling to keep up with my 8 year-old-niece this weekend in our instant-messaging exchanges as she sent me pictures, powerpoint slides she has completed for school, websites to look at, voiceclips and a series of nudges and winks that punctuate our 'conversation'. I gave up when she sent me a desktop background that turned out to be a Care Bears background when I opened it, as then I had to cope with floating hearts, flowers and bears on a garish pink background in addition to trying to keep up with her flow of information. I told her I had to get back to doing some work (which was true, but perhaps a little cowardly). As Beer and Burrows suggest, attention needs to be paid by researchers to 'transformation in the nature of the relations between production and consumption as they become simultaneous and even ambient in the routine activities that generate the content of Web 2.0'. I can consume and produce at the same time, but obviously not at the same rate as my niece, who seems to have reached the ambient stage - in comparison, I appear to be an emergent 'produser', drawing from Bruns' concept. I promise to try harder, although I will always draw the line at the Care Bears.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Google generation?

The report from the CIBER research team, commissioned by the British Library and JISC, entitled 'Information behaviour of the researcher of the future' ' is an interesting and refreshing read in that it counters many myths that have developed with regard to the notion of 'digital natives', or the 'google generation'. It states, for example, that there is no evidence that young people today need instant digital gratification, and 'power browsing' appears to be a practice adopted by young and old alike. Given this welcome balance in the report, I was rather disappointed to read, on page 18, that the team were 'concerned about the current interest in using games technologies to enhance students' learning'. I looked again at the methodology employed in the study and, no, there had been no measure of learning and no examination of pedagogies. Not one school or classroom visited. A pity, then, that the authors felt that they could make a judgement about this issue, as there are enough ill-informed pronouncements made about the use of games in education as it is.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Webkinz films

I have written previously about the machinima children make inside the virtual worlds they inhabit, but the users of the Webkinz virtual world appear to prefer making 'live action' films in which they use Webkinz toys to act out a narrative (see the example below, 'Webkinz American Idol'). One might wonder what the attraction of these films are for the viewer, but they are very popular with other Webkinz fans - Webkinz Americal Idol has been viewed more than 300,000 times. I wonder if the different approaches to film-making within these games are linked to gender? A group of researchers, led by Bobbi Hammett, is planning a joint project on Webkinz, looking at practices in Canada, Australia and England - maybe we will explore this aspect of the play... (more on this project another time).