Saturday, 28 June 2008

Urban Literacy

I am in Hong Kong for one night on my way to Adelaide and as it is my first visit, I am struck by the densely textual nature of the urban environment. This photograph is not untypical and, walking along the streets, one is met at eye level with a plethora of texts in a number of languages. There is also plenty of evidence of new literacy practices in operation - txting etc. - and so altogether I feel immersed in a literacy bubble, albeit one I cannot analyse in much depth in terms of juxtaposition of languages and scripts. Dong and Blommaert (2007), in paper 44 that can be downloaded from this page, suggest in their analysis of migrant identities and language in Beijing that:

'Spaces exist in relation to one another and are organised in a layered and stratified social system through scaling processes. The notion of scale emphasises the indexical nature of spaces that are ordered and organised in a vertical continuum, from local to translocal, to global.'

Things aren't just vertical, of course, there is plenty of horizontal glocalisation stuff going on in Hong Kong - it wasn't too long on my wanderings before I came across the phrase 'I'm lovin' it' surrounded by Chinese characters for example - but it would be great to examine in more detail how local texts relate to each other, how they are inflected by new technologies and then how they lock into/ transform globalised discourses. A project for a longer visit, I think!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Leonard re-lived!

Guy has posted an interesting blog entry about technology and music. I agree with his point that technology has ‘transformed the role that music plays in our lives’. For example, I was fortunate enough to see Leonard Cohen live on Friday, having been a lifelong admirer of his songs. Thanks to YouTube, I can now re-live the highlights as often as I like. For those of you who also like Leonard, here is a snippet of his fabulous concert!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Web 2.0 sites

Clever Dr Joolz has produced a short presentation about her fabulous course, the MA New Literacies. The program she has used to create this, Jing, seems pretty snazzy. I can't keep up with all these free Web 2.0 programs, there are so many. It is difficult to make choices sometimes about where to focus attention and energy, given the range of sites available , but for teachers of English , I would recommend this site as a great space for networking.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Don't panic!

I am speaking at the Media Education Association's conference tomorrow, details of which can be found here. It looks as if it will be a very interesting conference and I am looking forward to it. Don't you just love the poster with the ipod toddler?! I am posting my slides for a few days so those attendees who are interested in downloading them can do so here.

Books vs technology...again

Scholastic undertook a survey of 501 children aged 5-17 and their parents in order to explore reading in the digital age. You can find the report here and it suggests that children, sensibly, 'believe that technology will complement — not replace — book reading'. The report also indicates that 'Many children are extending the book reading experience online — from looking for more books in a series or by the same author, to visiting websites that immerse a child in content related to a book, to connecting with authors and other readers. ' So, will this mean the end of endless surveys that seek to explore whether or not technology is driving children away from reading? I fear not...

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Second Department

Here is my avatar in Second Life, Jackie Darkstone, pictured outside our new Departmental building, which has been kindly given to us by our University of Sheffield colleague Sheila Yoshikawa. She runs the Infolit iSchool in Second Life and this building is on the Infolit Island. I am a relative newbie to SL and am, along with my colleague Jason Sparks, exploring ways to embed it in our teaching programmes. I haven't had much time to spend on this before now but then realised I couldn't delay any longer and am amazed by what people are achieving in SL. Sheila, for example, manages to run Infolit Island and has her own virtual shop. A group called 'Global Kids' Digital Media Initiative' is doing some great stuff with teenagers and of course Angela Thomas has been showing us for some years what educationalists can do in SL. My own explorations will be rather more modest in nature but I am keen nonetheless - and if you are not yet convinced by the idea, then visit the SLED blog for more inspiration.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Comic Life

Those of us who have enjoyed using Comic Life on macs have been grateful for a wonderful piece of software that was made initially for macs – it is usual for us to have to wait a long time for versions of some software to be made available for Apple machines. Well, those of you who have not been able to use Comic Life on Windows will be pleased to know that a version has now been developed that you can use, and this can be downloaded here. Hope you have as much fun as Apple users have had with it! And for those mac fans that have not used Skitch yet, from the same producers, I recommend downloading that here. The image embedded in this blog was made using it. And if the url link is too small for you to read, then the amazing news story I am highlighting in the image can be found here.