September 30, 2005
On one of my mailing lists Edith: a love story has been announced as a new blog novel.
It is associated with North West Passages, based in Manchester, UK. It looks like the blog is more a publishing device and posts are only made once a week - like a bulk chapter/stretch of text per week, rather than more regular shorter posts that are more typical of blogging. There are no hypertext links, no images other than the user icon, and nothing to invite interaction. It will be interesting to follow its progress.
September 29, 2005
September 27, 2005
Since I am having a Multiliteracies day, turn up your sound and click here *grin*.
I am a Jay Lemke fan. In fact, it was a paper of his that I read in its draft form about 8 years ago that inspired my entire PhD thesis! A paper in which he wrote:
What is a literacy when the distinction between reading and living itself is nominal? When a reality becomes our multimedia text…? (Lemke, 1998, p. 299)
Today I was re-reading his Travels in Hypermodality paper and I really liked what he says here:
So why the denigration of visual representations? My strong suspicion is that because text and image mutually contextualize one another, influencing our interpretations of each and both together, that it is the power of the image (and other semiotics) to subvert and undermine the authority of linguistic categories and categorical imperatives which is being politically suppressed by logocentrism and mono-modal purism. Language affords a low-dimensional representation of experience and the complexity of social-natural realities. It reduces matters of degree to matters of kind, frequently to dichotomizing categories (masculine/feminine, gay/straight, capitalist/communist, heroes/terrorists) through which sentiments and allegiances can be more easily manipulated. Of course visual images can also be used in this way, but they inherently afford a much greater display of complexity and “shades of grey”, whether in unedited documentary footage from a war zone or in the daily gyrations of a stock price over months or years, or those of the earth’s average temperature in a debate on global warming. When we put images and text together, their very incommensurability, the fact that they cannot both present exactly the same message, casts doubt on the monological pretensions of either, but particularly those of language.
I love teaching visual literacy precisely because of the complexity and shades of grey that are afforded by images. It’s much more fun to discuss, debate and interpret images (music/fashion etc…) than to explain to students how clauses work *grin* (I don’t think I am supposed to confess that!). But some of the stuff I see being done in classrooms IS so totally reductive and I think it’s really important to explore multimodality and multiliteracies much much more! I love having the time to read papers / books etc more carefully these days!!
Lemke, J. L. (1998). Metamedia Literacy: Transforming Meanings and Media. Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World. D. Reinking, McKenna, M. C., Labbo, L. D. & Kieffer, R. D. London, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers: 283-301.
Lemke, J. L. (2002). Travels in Hypermodality. Visual Communication (3) 1: 299-325.
Have you seen the new Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire trailer yet?
Just as interesting is that on the official website, you can download icons for your blog/journal/webpage to support your favourite wizard in the triwizard tournament! I think it’s great that the online fans are being so well recognised and catered for!
There are also some new “Coming Soon” posters which feature the other characters well:
Fleur looks a bit like a computer game avatar here don’t you think? How come her hair is billowing out behind her when she is standing still? It can’t be windy or Ron’s hair would be doing interesting things too. I like the fact that she is foregrounded here though!
Ooohh here is Viktor Krum!
In the background here is Cho Chang. I read that she had received a lot of hate male from female Daniel Radcliffe fans who were jealous that she got to kiss him!
And I really like this one because it is staged so perfectly that it will make it great to talk about elements of visual literacy and constructedness of images from this with my students!
I am looking forward to this movie - the book was my favourite of all so far.
(images, interviews and information from Veritaserum)
Are you interested in aspects of online identity? I am organising a special edition of E-Learning which focuses on this, and would welcome articles from any field about any aspects of online identity. Although the journal is called E-Learning, the focus is just as much about what educators can learn about online identity in general as it is about specific experiences giving insight to learning. Here is the CFP:
Special Edition of E-Learning Journal
University of Sydney
Theme of the Issue: Digital Inter-Faces
The focus of this special edition of E-Learning is ‘Digital Inter-Faces’. The articles in the edition will examine the issue of identity in and around digital contexts. As our lives become increasingly more technologically inclusive, we face new opportunities to e-xplore, e-xamine, e-xtend, e-xperiment, and e-volve. Technology is changing the ways we think about the world and the ways we position ourselves in the world. Our involvement in and around digital contexts has opened up a place for living within a multiplicity of identities and through this, we can act out our fantasies, become the Other of our desire, and just as importantly, in the words of Eowyn, a 15 year old girl, “It’s not becoming your own hero that’s the point– it’s allowing what’s inside of you to show through”.
And yet online our selves can be conveniently edited, we can be kinder and funnier and more intelligent. In the same series of posts about her online life, Eowyn told me, “The person I show to others online is outgoing, different, and not afraid to be herself”, and Shadow, a 14 year old boy, revealed, “I am sort of a persona, me but minus the things I don’t like about myself”. Other children revealed to me that rather than edited selves, they become fused selves with their online role-playing characters. The faces shown to others online may be masks of other personae or characters, yet underneath are intimately fused with the self.
What are the consequences and implications of these new faces? The faces of our cyborg self, our edited self, our hybrid self, our fused and blended self into another character, and the Other of our desire. What can we actually learn in this masquerading of fragmentedness that has become a hallmark of post-modern identity? In this issue of E-Learning, our contributors discuss aspects of these issues, drawing from a range of theoretical, sociological and political perspectives. Thoughts about gender, race, youth, politics, power, trust, and authenticity are critically discussed with respect to the many faces and inter-faces of the digital world.
Submission Deadline: January 18th, 2006
Submit to: Angela Thomas, email@example.com
Information about the journal and papers: http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/?.
September 25, 2005
Visiting Sharon’s blog, I noticed that she has an entire category about visual journaling! There’s a fantastic quote she has taken from Michael Bell about visual journaling as a way to express one’s identity:
“Visual journaling is a creative way to express and record life’s experiences, feelings, emotional reactions, or our inner world.
Exploring the thought process through visual journaling is essential in a world that is in continuous change. Just as there are many ways to express oneself artistically, there are many ways of visual journaling. By committing to the visual journaling process, one can learn how to access his/her inner language of imagery and express it both verbally and visually, while exploring the connection between image and word. Through visual journaling students can also become capable of articulating connections between their own personal art-making experiences and the works of master and contemporary artists.”
Although these are physical works of art, I think we can draw a parallel with blogging in cases where people include images with their posts. Of course, Vitriolica’s blog is exactly like an artist’s visual journal, but many bloggers think very carefully about the visual elements of their blog - from the layout and design to the individual posts. By doing this, they are expressing themselves and aspects of their identity visually as much as textually. Even the absence of an image says something about the blogger at that certain point in time - their mood, the topic of the post, the privilegeing of the textual over the visual. Visual silences tend to imply seriousness for some people, don’t you think?
The visual design and images in a blog tend to relate very much to me as a viewer/reader/interpreter of the text at an interpersonal level. I think there’s a paper to be written on the interpersonal meanings constructed in blogging spaces! It would have to include: design components, categories/topics/anticipated audience, links/community, comments, placement of sidebar components, types of images included… and a whole lot more!
September 24, 2005
Almost 8 years ago now I started working on projects about the girl’s gaming market and issues related to the construction of females in games. It seems the same arguments raised so long ago (in technology terms 8 years is forever!) are still raging today, but that finally people are taking notice. Via GTA I noticed this report from Newsweek International claims that video game designers are searching for what women and girls want in their games!
What do you think about this quote (from Ankarino Lara, director of GameSpot.com):
“Female gaming is the last frontier; 2006 is going to be a milestone year.”
There are several reasons I object to that quote, not the least of which is the use of the “frontier” metaphor YET AGAIN to describe the great white male explorer into unknown territory (cyberspace) making it all very female-unfriendly (I thought that metaphor went out in the 90s!) but anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens in 2006 to supposedly tap into the women’s market. Interestingly, the SIMS is one of the key games identified in the report as being attractive to women and girls. I don’t doubt this, but I have a number of friends and colleagues who are playing online interactive MMORPGs and that seems to be the real place that women are congregating. I have been tempted to play WoW myself because that is where some friends are playing, but right now I promised myself nothing else til my book is all done! Anyway here’s an excerpt from the article:
The key to that change lies in both evolutionary and revolutionary technology. As broadband Internet access becomes commonplace and portable games link up wirelessly, players are interacting with each other and with their machines as never before. At the same time, experimental games using artificial intelligence raise the possibility that characters on the screen will take on a virtual life of their own. “We’re talking about relationships illuminated through conflict,” says Chris Crawford, whose career as a design guru goes back to Atari, in the Precambrian era of video recreations.
Indeed, “relationship” is the word that best defines the differing interests of men and women as they enter an on-screen adventure. “Women gamers are very social, very strategic—they like to work together to solve problems,” says Charlotte Stuyvenberg, director of global communications for Xbox. “Most designers stereotype a gamer as a guy who sits in a dorm room or office or basement and plays by himself, so a lot of games are designed with that player in mind. But as design and development mature, there are a lot more opportunities to make games more social.”
Girl gamers were largely hidden from view until The Sims brought them out in the 1990s. Created by legendary designer Will Wright for Electronic Arts, The Sims had a success with this hitherto untapped female market segment that came as a surprise to game-company executives. “We actually did not realize that women would gravitate to Sims as they did,” says Virginia McArthur, a Sims producer. In focus groups, more than 50 percent of the Sims audience are teenage girls. The games have become a laboratory for studying gender roles in what might be called the relationship market.
The Sims games allow players to develop their own worlds from the ground up. “It’s a gigantic sandbox,” says McArthur. Instead of shooting enemies, you create characters and the environment in which they live from an array of options. The characters have needs—food, shelter, money, utilities—that must be met. “You order a pizza, you’re going to have to go to the bathroom,” McArthur says. Characters also want and need each other, especially in The Sims 2 and its variants like Nightlife. “They have ‘woohoo’,” she says. “That’s our term for playing in bed.”
I like the analogy of a sandbox. It’s so symbolic of play. I saw the title of a paper once that said “Foucault in the Sandbox” which was about the regulatory practices of children at play. I think there’s a paper to be written called “Foucault in the MMORPGs”!
September 22, 2005
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing special to write about, nothing exciting to share, nothing wonderful has happened. Just mundane stuff - some admin that can’t be avoided even though I am officially on leave, corrections to chapters and papers, giving feedback to PhD students on chapters, responding to emails, getting permissions to quote from various sources. I haven’t written anything new for a while so I feel dulled and bored with myself. I was in my office yesterday and three different people said - ohhh you look so relaxed and healthy and have you just had some good news - you look so happy and excited! Personally I think its because I started using this amazing product and it makes my face glow *grin* but I guess its also because I don’t have the usual stress and pressure. But the comments made me wonder if I normally walk around with a scowl on my face… So instead of feeling bored I am just going to enjoy having the time and space to think and get back to writing new things as soon as possible!
September 20, 2005
Oooohhhh look, google have honoured me with my own personal search engine!
It works, check it out!
Have you missed any of the fun logos google has used? You can find them all here! I was trying to decide on a favourite but they’re all fun!
September 17, 2005
On a couple of occasions recently I have blogged about web 2.0 - I am working on a chapter that includes reference to it and the editors asked me to spell it out in more detail. Today I came across a lengthy discussion by Danah Boyd here, which focusses on web 2.0 from a social persepective (rather than focussing on the applications).
Here’s part of her conclusion that I really like:
Web2.0 is about glocalization, it is about making global information available to local social contexts and giving people the flexibility to find, organize, share and create information in a locally meaningful fashion that is globally accessible. Technology and experience are both critical factors in this process, but they themselves are not Web2.0. Web2.0 is a structural shift in information flow. It is not simply about global->local or 1->many; it is about a constantly shifting, multi-directional complex flow of information with the information evolving as it flows. It is about new network structures that emerge out of global and local structures.
This is really useful and ties in with the other thoughts I had about web 2.0 here.
September 16, 2005
The Guardian reports how mobile phones have changed our lives. I really like the link to identity - here’s an excerpt:
Yet as Proust observed: “The advance of civilisation enables people to display unsuspected qualities or fresh defects which make them dearer or more insupportable to their friends.” These new technologies not only change our world, they also change ourselves. The complexity and variety of modern personal technology is such that it enters our lives in ways we cannot anticipate.
It is comforting to learn, then, that the most popular use of a mobile phone, after talking and texting, is its most humble: the alarm clock. Because new technology is always being used, in ways we don’t expect, as a wakeup call.
Isn’t that funny - I use my mobile as an alarm clock too! I also use it to store my favourite photographs of family and friends so that I can easily access them and share them.
September 15, 2005
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Michele, Colin, Kevin and I will be presenting in a symposium at the 2005 NRC Conference in November/December in Miami. here’s the news about exactly where and when:
Your presentation schedule for the 2005 NRC Conference
Your NRC presentation is scheduled for the following date and time. We thought this information would be helpful in planning travel arrangements and hotel reservations:
Your proposal 7-393, Out of bounds: Some social, psychological and pedagogical implications of new literacies for young people’s learning, lifeworlds and social futures, has been scheduled for the following date, time, and room:
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 from 03:00 PM to 04:30 PM in the Flagler room.
I think we were all pleased to see that it is an afternoon session - I for one can’t function before noon so this is perfect. Who is coming to hear us present? Any takers? I will feed you a nice gentle question to ask me if you are in the audience! *grin*