Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Tweet Tweet

Well I said I wasn't interested in using Twitter but then I saw Martin Waller's Year 2 class tweets and changed my mind. Of course Martin is ahead of the proposed curriculum changes in England and will therefore be a beacon of good practice when other primary schools start to tweet. My tweets are here, but as you can see I am only just getting the hang of it and the children in Martin's class are much more accomplished tweeters!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Princess Tiana

Princess Tiana is Disney's first ever black princess and inevitably, given Disney's track record for racial insensitivity, her launch is surrounded by controversy. And from the desk of YoBlogger, a media journal developed by young people in the US, comes a commentary on Disney's actions from Jazmyne Young and Erricka X:

Monday, 20 April 2009

Goffman and social networking

Whilst at AERA, I heard that the proposal for the BERA symposium on 'Literacy in Virtual Worlds' we submitted back in January has been accepted, which is great. My paper is titled 'Countering chaos in Club Penguin: Young children’s use of literacy practices in the establishment of a virtual ‘interaction order’' which, as the title suggests, draws on Goffman's work. I first became interested in Goffman when a PhD student I supervised, Rosemary Anderson, drew on his theories to explore how children with reading difficulties managed their identities in the classroom and so I began to read his work in more depth. The more I read of it, the more I felt it helped me to understand young children's enagagement in digital literacies a little more. Of course I am not alone here - a growing number of people are interested in Goffman's ideas in relation to social networking - see here, for example. I know that some feel his ideas are perhaps not fluid enough to manage poststructuralist conceptions of identity - Guy, for example, has said he prefers the work of Holstein and Gubrium in this respect - but I feel that it is possible to read Goffman through a postructuralist lens. In the meantime, I recommend Rosemary's UKLA minibook based on her work - no Goffman in there, but plenty of good strategies for teachers!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

AERA update

Haven't had time to blog as have been attending the AERA conference in San Diego. Was very excited at the conference exhibition to be able to buy Julia and Guy's book, pictured here, which has just been released. I have been to a range of excellent presentations, including one given by Karen Wohlwend in which she talked about how young children, when situated in classrooms without access to new technologies, invent their own devices by drawing them on paper. So she talked about how one boy drew and then cut out a representation of a flip-top mobile phone on paper, which he carried about in his pocket when not using it to make pretend phonecalls. Fabulous work which serves to reinforce just how significant technology is in the lives of young learners. And early years classrooms without computers are just light years away from what is going on in the rest of the world - look, for instance, at the developments in fluid interfaces. I look forward to hearing about the educational applications of that technology at future AERA conferences!