Saturday, 20 December 2008

Dear Santa...

I noted in the THES this week, amongst the endless RAE reports, a list of the 'most cited papers on Santa Claus research'. Maybe the paper Cathy Nutbrown and myself are writing will be on next year's list! Here's the abstract:

“To Santa with Love: An analysis of Children’s Letters to Father Christmas”. In this paper we outline findings from a study in which children in early years settings and primary schools in England wrote letters to Father Christmas in December 2007. The aim of the study was to identify how far the 260 letters reflected constructions of economic gendered subjectivities and aspirations towards the acquisition of new technologies in the digital age. A content analysis of the letters was undertaken, focusing on the requests children made. Findings suggest that contemporary childhoods are inflected by the technological landscape of the twenty-first century and that children demonstrate gendered consumerist patterns in terms of the items they wish to own.

Happy holiday season to all - will be back to the blog in the new year!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Virtual literacy ethnography

Students on the fabulous online MA in New Literacies course have completed their virtual ethnographies of literacy in Second Life and in their presentations detailed a range of interesting findings. The most interesting findings related to the way in which literacy practices in-world were informed by RL understandings of literacy; those who took a rather functional approach to literacy in RL appeared to do so in SL. Others wished to transport RL literacy practices into SL e.g. their poetry. Given the cross-over across domains that is inevitable, but the data regarding this were fascinating. In addition, many literacy practices in SL are related to a traditional model i.e. focusing on words and letters - multimodal practices are, apart from navigation and streaming audio and video, related to building in-world, or the creation of machinima, which not all residents feel confident about undertaking. I am encouraging the students to write a paper on their study and if they do, I will post it here. In the meantime, Steinkueler's work on literacy in the MMOG World of Warcraft is a fascinating read for those of you interested in this area.