Sunday, 29 March 2009

Higher emotional bandwith

Attended the Virtual World Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference in Second Life last weekend and went to some excellent sessions. I have decided that I really like virtual conferences as you can participate from the comfort of your sofa/ laptop and the backchat facilities are great. This is especially the case as a presenter - I really liked seeing what other people had to say about what I was talking about, as other audience members had a great deal of expertise in the topic, which added richly to what was discussed. Not that I was particularly adept at dealing with all the threads at once in the backchannel at my talk...I was a bit distracted as my notecard box disappeared and it took me 20 minutes to find it in my inventory as I continued with the talk! I am still a relative newbie when it comes to presenting in SL so thank goodness that the cool and collected (and impeccably dressed) Sheila Yoshikawa was the chair for my session. In the meantime, back to the online MA New Literacies - more virtual learning, but with a lower 'emotional bandwith' than you get with the use of avatars (something I learned at VWBPE!).

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Belgium's popular culture

Just back from the ECIS conference in Brussels where I met some very inspiring teachers and visited the fabulous Early Childhood Centre at the International School of Brussels. I talked about my research on the relationship between literacy and popular culture, amongst other things. It was therefore somewhat ironic that I didn't have time to visit the centre of Brussels in the glorious spring weather we had and so missed an exhibition titled '20 years of Manga in Europe' at the Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art. This is such a good excuse to go back before the exhibition ends in June! Belgium has a long history of comic production and this is about to become even more widely celebrated now that Steven Spielburg is making a film about the 80-year-old character. Another reminder about the longevity of popular cultural icons...

Friday, 6 March 2009

Tatooed Barbie

I was interested to find that Mattel have launched the 'Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie'. They tried to launch a doll that had tattoos in 1999, the 'Butterfly Art Barbie', but had to discontinue that doll because of the number of complaints from parents. It will be interesting to see if, ten years later, the same concerns emerge. Meanwhile, the photographer Diane Amato had already got some insider shots of Barbie's Tattoo Parlour.