Wednesday, 27 May 2009


I have been enjoying using Twitter, but am anxious that it is taking time away from blogging. Just as I was thinking this, Joanne posted on her blog on this very topic! So I am not alone... I have decided to try and follow Guy's lead and link my blog to Twitter more directly now and again. Twitter can either then act as a lead-in to a longer blog post, or enable a quick reflection on a post. There are so many ways in which Twitter and blogging can interact, as this article on '10 ways Twitter will change blog design in 2009' suggests. These intertextual practices can only lead to more daft 'twittery' names, so how about 'Twogging', or 'Blittering'? (Sorry, it must be this playground rhymes project I am involved in...)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Literacy in virtual worlds

Yay! Am so excited as we (Julia Gillen, Julia Davies, Guy Merchant and myself) have just heard that our ESRC application for funding for a seminar series on children's and young people's digital literacy practices in online virtual spaces (virtual worlds and MMOGs) has been successful. Six whole seminars and a conference on what is my favourite research topic at the moment - simply delicious! I, of course, will be focused on my work on Club Penguin in the series. I met the Club Penguin European production team last week and what a lovely group they are - I was really impressed by how they respond to and build on children's ideas for the virtual world and they reply individually to every email they get (over 80,000 a week in the UK). And not only that, they now enable avatars to wear a wig AND a tiara at the same time - yippee, as that was a recurring complaint made by the children I interviewed about CP! So watch this space regarding the seminar series in the next academic year - we will be posting papers and presentations online for those who can't attend.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Earbuds study

I don't think I have mentioned before the excellent work of an American scholar, Tyler Bickford. He is an ethnomusicologist (I love that word) who researches childhood and youth cultures and has conducted a fascinating study of children sharing the earbuds of MP3 players in the playground - you can download some of his papers here. I know you will enjoy his work as much as I do, so I decided to devote a whole blog post to it! And talking of music, I am enjoying Antony and the Johnson's new CD at the moment and looking forward to seeing them live next who wants a listen in to my earbuds?!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Glogging games

It is obviously a week for finding really good Web 2.0 applications which shout 'use me with 5 year olds!' Thanks to Peter Winter at Monteney Primary School for telling me about 'Glogster', which looks excellent. We are about to start a project there, mentioned in my previous post, in which children will be researching their own playground rhymes and games and tracing media influences and so I can see that making posters on the subject using Glogster would be a really good extension of the work. I just introduced the project in a Key Stage 2 assembly along with the researcher on the project, Julia Bishop, and the children are so excited. So am I, and I have spent the last few weeks thinking about the playground rhymes and games I used to sing/ play. The video below was filmed around my era - I loved 'The big ship sails...' but I don't remember being as orderly about it as the children here!

Monday, 4 May 2009


There are new Web 2.0 applications out every week and normally I take a while to sign up as I have to think about the pros/ cons first (an example was my 2 year lead-in to Twitter...). However, I didn't need to think twice about using Wallwisher, it is fabulous for keeping research notes. I just started a new wall for the 'Playground Games and Rhymes in a New Media Age' project, which should give you an idea of its affordances. If we all shared our research project notes in this way, how rich that would be?

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Club Penguin UK - one year on

Well, I was disappointed that April came and went and there was no first birthday party to celebrate Club Penguin’s arrival in the UK in April 2008. Last October, Disney held a 3rd birthday party in Times Square, reported on (along with some great photos of the RL igloo they had) here. Those who couldn’t get tickets made do with a virtual Times Square in Club Penguin. So come on, Disney, how about a belated party in Trafalgar Square for UK CP fans and a virtual Trafalgar Square in CP (complete with pigeons)?