Ohhhhh….. look what else I received in my package from amazon.com: the PERFECT book for the unit I teach called New Literacies!!
Ohhhhh….. look what else I received in my package from amazon.com: the PERFECT book for the unit I teach called New Literacies!!
I tend to have times where I work manically and am very productive, but other times I am filled with self-doubt, depression, and self-criticism. This causes writer’s block, because I tell myself that nothing I write is of any consequence!
Anyway today I have had nothing but good news about my writing:
- A book I ordered from amazon.com called Internet Playground arrived, and as I flipped through it, I noticed that the introductory quote for chapter 3 (Gender and Computer Affinity) was something I wrote!!!!! (I fell off my chair and raced to show Len! Being cited by strangers is v. exciting)
- I received an email from the journal editor of Critical Discourse Studies to tell me an article I sumbitted has been accepted!
- I received an email from one of the editors of the Handbook that I wrote my “Cyberculture / Cybercitizenship” chapter for and she told me she loved the revisions I made and will be accepting it even though it is 17,000 words instead of 10,000!
- and my Uses of Blogs book chapter about Fictional Blogging has pretty much all been finalised!
Time to celebrate I think! Let’s hope the good karma stays for a while *smile*
There were so many fabulous exhibitions, as well as a gallery of local and Australian artists work for sale.
One gallery had all the original paintings from this children’s picture book on display and for sale (if you were very very rich). Here is the book:
and here are some of the original paintings:
The book is about the painter, Durer, and his famous painting of the Hare. It’s gorgeous and I will be running off to buy my own copy now that I have seen the artwork. My photos obviously don’t do any of the artwork justice, but…
Here is an Arthur Boyd:
Here are some Adrian Lockhart nudes:
Here is a Brett Whitely:
and my absolute favourite, something that I guarantee will make you laugh out loud if you click to the larger image, a Leon Pericles:
I also spent hours admiring gorgeous seascapes, like these:
Finally, I puzzled over the incongruency of this, tucked away in one corner:
I felt all Baudrillard-ish taking digital images of the images I enjoyed and want to continue to enjoy again after - simulacra and all that - but until there comes a day when I can afford to buy some, these photos will suffice :>
Richard Brunton has written the soundtrack to his life. It’s a fun idea, to tell your autobiography through music, films, and/or literature. I’ve been thinking about doing it myself but maybe that’s a fun project for the holidays and not when I am supposed to be working on a research project :>
Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality. Here’s just one verse, stolen from here:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
I love this poem because it speaks of pre-existence, a concept I find fascinating. But more than that, it reminds me of a time when a friend and I went travelling together through the Lakes District in England, and we would sit in the gorgeous English countryside reading poetry to each other, deconstructing the meaning of life and debating about the difference between spirituality and organised religion and so on. I was very young and innocent during the Wordsworth period of my life!
I also love this poem by Baudelaire: Hymn to Beauty:
Do you come from on high or out of the abyss,
O Beauty? Godless yet divine, your gaze
indifferently showers favor and shame,
and yet some have likened you to wine.
Your eyes reflect the sunset and the dawn;
your scatter perfumes like a windy night;
your kisses are a drug, your mouth the urn
dispensing fear to heroes, fervor to boys.
Whether spawned by hell or sprung from the stars,
Fate like a spaniel follows at your heel;
you sow haphazard fortune and despair,
ruling all things, responsible for none.
You walk on corpses, Beauty, undismayed,
and Horror coruscates among your gems;
Murder, one of your dearest trinkets, throbs
on your shameless belly: make it dance!
Dazzled, the dayfly flutters round your wick,
crackles, flares, and cries: I bless this torch!
The pining lover for his lady swoons
like a dying man adoring his own tomb.
Who cares if you come from paradise or hell,
appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge,
if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal
the Infinite I love and have never known?
Come from Satan, come from God - who cares,
Angel or siren, rhythm, fragrance, light,
provided you transform - O my one queen!
This hideous universe, this heavy hour?
I looooove this poem because it too reminds me of a time when a friend and I went travelling in Europe and we would read French poetry and deconstruct it from all different persepctives (we were both into literary theory in a big way). This is a fun poem to deconstruct from a psychoanalytical point of view :> The Baudelaire period of my life was marked by passion.
As Richard remarked, he found it interesting that he had selected music that reflected social relationships throughout his life - I have done the same here. Do literary works speak to you more meaningfully if they are somehow woven into your relationships with others?
Craig Lindley’s recent article in Game Studies is excellent! Here’s the abstract:
The concept of a ludic systems encompasses a family of media forms and experiences involving elements of simulation, game play and narrative or story construction. These three elements can be regarded as different classes of semiotic systems, or systems of meaning, having their own structuring principles and methods of informing experience. For any particular ludic system, such as a computer game, time structure can be considered in terms of a number of distinct layers of meaning analogous to the levels of encoding identified in structuralist narrative theory: a generation level, a simulation level, a performance level and a discourse level. The simulation, performance and discourse levels correspond to the semiotic domains of simulations, games and narratives. For any specific ludic system, the overall design approach relating to how the designer intends the players’ experience to be structured, as the core of interactive engagement and immersion, can be based upon emphasizing one of these three primary forms, or integrating more than one form by various strategies. Adopting a structural semiotic approach to modeling these layers of meaning provides a foundation for more clearly integrating design choices within a coherent overall concept, as well as laying the foundations for a more systematic study of possible correlations between design features and player affects.
This image models the layers of meaning embedded in games:
I also really like this diagram because I think it will be incredibly helpful for discussing the complexities of game/narrative/simulation with students:
I really like how role-playing games are right in the middle - it reminds me why I love researching this area because they are so multilayered and complex, yet young kids of 8 and 9 are managing to negotiate them!
Lindley, C. (2005). The Semiotics of Time Structure in Ludic Space. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research. Volume 5, Issue 1, October 2005
Well, although I am in my office working on the grant application it *is* Saturday after all, and I couldn’t resist this meme, found at Lois’s blog. What you have to do is type “yourname needs” into google and see what comes up. So, here is what Anya needs:
1. Anya needs help
(this should be no surprise!)
2. Anya needs to be at the beginning of the Maggid liturgy.
(ummm… OK. I think the Maggid liturgy is jewish scripture, and I think the beginning of it is something to do with being charitable. so I need to be more charitable? OK… I guess this is as good as any tarot reading to give me spiritual guidance - maybe memes are the new tarot cards?)
3. Anya needs to learn to modulate her shrill voice.
(Pfffffft! Wait til I start podcasting, you will see this is completely untrue! *grin*)
4. Anya needs a different perspective on romantic relationships than she’s gotten from one thousand years as a vengeance demon
(*laughing* OK… my perspective right now is to NOT have a romantic relationship, so that needs to change!)
5. Anya needs to be dealt with.
6. Anya needs help opening a milk carton.
7. Anya needs a big squishy happy hug.
(True, I need lots of these…errr, but not too squishy please)
8. Anya needs time to rest and heal from the chronic illness that plagues her.
(Ummm… I’m going to Tasmania for Christmas, that should do it!)
9. Anya needs no exaggeration. In fact we could write forever and not scratch the surface of the good person that she was.
(This one is my favourite *beams happily*)
10. Anya needs to update more!
(well, if you’re talking about my blog, I update as often as I can!)
From the weekend Australian comes this: Students Compare Keats to SMS:
In their final English exam yesterday Year 12 students were asked to compare an SMS message, “how r u pls 4giv me I luv u xoxoxo O:-)”, with a famous Keats love letter, “You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish”.
And the 46,000 Victorian students who sat the three-hour VCE exam were also asked to analyse a Dilbert cartoon on the modern dilemma of email and write a letter to the editor of Woolworths magazine Australian Good Taste.
The test of English skills also included analysing more traditional texts from Shakespeare and Henry Lawson to Graham Greene.
But it also quizzed students on popular films such as sci-fi flick Gattaca, Australian drama Lantana and classic Breaker Morant.
Fabulous! Of course the article continues by saying this is DUMBING DOWN the English Curriculum. *groan* When will politicians stop privileging a) printed media only and b) the high culture literary canon? Students are analysing, critiquing, comparing and discussing the diverse range of texts which are significant to our time!!! Oh why do I bother moaning, is there any point?
The bottlebrush (Callistemon) is an Australian flower/shrub/plant that botanists are still trying to decide how best to classify. Lots of these about the campus grounds. More info here.
(Click images for large view)
Generation Txt? is an article by Crispin Thurlow I came across last week but didn’t have time to blog. It’s a linguistic analysis of sms text messaging and has some useful conclusions to make:
what is evident from the current study is just how blurred the boundary between computer-mediated communication and face-to-face communication really is; for participants, there certainly seems to be little sense in which their text-messaging necessarily replaces face-to-face communication but rather their text-messaging has come to be ‘folded into the warp and woof of life’ (Katz & Aakhus, 2002:12). What is more, just as new linguistic practices are often adaptive and additive rather than necessarily substractive, young text-messagers manipulate conventional discursive practices with linguistic creativity and communicative competence in their pursuit of intimacy and social intercourse.
I like these conclusions, I think they are spot on, and the comments throughout the rest of the paper are insightful too I think. One thing I find difficult these days though is linguistic analyses which aren’t grounded in sufficent contextual analysis. I’ve talked about this quite a bit with my systemic linguistics colleagues - papers are presented in seminars with wonderful linguistic analyses but no theorisation or discussion related to context. I end up thinking: so what? Where’s the big picture thinking here? How does knowing about the grammar help us understand the motivations and positioning of the people who’ve been involved with the text production/interpretation?
Last night I presented a seminar and follow-up workshop for ALEA (the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association) in this professional development seminar series. I presented an updated version of my paper called “The Affordances of Digital Fiction”, and the workshop notes are here. The first version of the paper is embedded in a rather big pdf file of some conference proceedings here.
I put the workshop notes on my blog because it was just so much easier to access, edit and work on than anywhere else! And since I wanted the participants to access different forms of digital fiction it was much easier to have the link there ready to click rather than having them type in individual addresses. Anyway, because it was on my blog I side-tracked a little and talked about academic blogging. Lo and behold, Len pointed out to me that yesterday’s Higher Education supplement from the Australian had a section on academic blogging (see the top left corner):
I was so excited that somebody in Australian Higher Education would be writing about academic blogging and raced to read the article, only to discover that they had pilfered Henry Farrell’s article from here, which I mentioned both here and here!! I said to Len, not only have I already read that article, but I have already cited it in my book chapter! It’s quite fascinating that as a blogger I am a week ahead of some of the print based news - the immediacy of blogging is very exciting!
Anyway all those reflections aside, I was thrilled with the generous response by the workshop participants - their engagement was highly positive and enthusiastic. I have to say that at many workshops I encounter an element of resistance - some teachers feel threatened by the implications of new literacies - i.e. the changes they might need to make in their teaching if they were to embrace technology more. But none of that last night - lots of laughing and pleasure expressed about the new forms if fiction I discussed and they explored. Perhaps the red wine in between my lecture presentation and the workshop had something to do with it :> I think I’ll make it a habit to include drinks into future workshop presentations!!!
The instant changeability (virtuality) of CMC challenges the literate mindset by being dynamic (the source immediately displays new, usually disparate, material), emergent (the structure develops as the pages are accessed), and idiosyncratic (the user determines some of the organization). These elements mimic the reading process to a point, but the process of hypertext violates the expected outcome. The hypertext seems like a print text but does not “act” like one. These challenges create the epistemological state of cyberdiscursivity
Although I’ve mentioned these sorts of things before I’ve never done it so eloquently :>
Well, here is an article that will send you spinning - its about a new device that sends electricity to your ear and can remote control YOU! Speaking about the device, Yuri Kageyama says:
The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation — essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.
I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right…
The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands. But it’s more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.
NTT says the feature may be used in video games and amusement park rides, although there are no plans so far for a commercial product.
Now I wonder how to define the materiality of the computer game when it will control your movements? This really is more like the ‘consensual hallucination’ of science fiction :> And how will we describe interactivity if it is something that has been inscribed external to the player? Doesn’t interaction imply some degree of agency by the player? Or perhaps the agency is there but the remote control responds by giving the user a material consequence of that agency? And how will the traces of the game then affect identity, when embodiment has become an actual affordance of the game rather than a side effect (like those buzzing PSX2 controllers that always shock me into dropping them :>) ?
Ooohh, some very interesting questions I think!
Further to the posts about commenting on blogs and flame wars, I have just come across this fabulous photo on flickr which has 90 comments. This alerted me to the fact that there is an actual group on flickr who call themselves the “deleteme” group!
On flickr we are all nice and sweet… always with a tender word for a flickrbuddy…
time to be nasty, mean, selfish and arrogant, time to dare to say what we think… and nobody will complain because that’s the rules members accept.
So here is the GAME, here we only accept incredible pictures, amazing, astonishing, perfect…
excellent is not enough, so just dare to put some of your photos to see how we appreciate it and how quick we will remove it out of the group (for new flickrist don’t worry, we have no right nor option to remove one of your picture from your site, just and only from this group)
Some pictures will stay and those ones can expect respect and popularity but watch out that people get bored of it…
So it’s a game, and you have to actually submit your photo before it is subject to flaming or otherwise. Kind of like the process we go through when we submit publications to journals… But the blog space on the other hand is more private and when I submit a post, it isn’t for inviting critique or flaming, its done just because I want to share with the people who care to read, and I want to engage with people who care to comment either via the comments facility or via email. I know others speak of this private/public tension and its a fascinating dialectic. Right now, my blog borders more on the private and intimate, and I like it that way.
Oh, and I am also arachnophobic so I will get back to blogging flowers soon :>
Homer Simpson has been named man of the decade by a British magazine, according to this report. His claim to fame: Philosopher.
Editor Morgan Rees said: “These are people of real substance and solid achievement rather than temporary fame.
“The people on our list have used their talents to change the world around them, rather than just to draw attention to themselves”.
Personally, I think Matt Groening has a lot to answer for *grin*. It’s fascinating to see the extent to which the Simpsons have infiltrated the culture and not-so-subtly influenced the (our?) language. Once upon a time I would have been completely disgusted by this but actually I have come to appreciate some of the very clever writing, especially when I read ‘deconstructing the Simpsons’ pages like this one.
I have been invited to give a keynote address for the 2006 ASFLA conference, which has the theme:
We had to send off details and an abstract already, and here is mine:
Title: Role-playing in Rivendell: Young people’s multimodal digital storying
Presenter: Angela Thomas
In this paper I explore the multimodal virtual world of the palace. In particular I focus on the role-playing and storytelling practices in which a range of young people are involved. Textual data consists of screen videos of the role-playing, which utilises text, image and sound. I also draw from ethnographic-based interviews conducted with young people (aged 13-18) to contextualise the textual data. Textual data is analysed using a functional grammar of language (Halliday 1995; Martin 2004; Humphrey and Droga, 2004) and other semiotic modes such as image and sound (Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996; van Leeuwen, 1999), and considered in light of new digital literacy studies (Lankshear and Knobel, 2005; Barton and Hamilton, 2000). Additionally, the data is linked to the new web-based literacy practices symbolised by “Web 2.0” (Cuene, 2005), and related to the principles of participation, communication, world-building, and global citizenship (Davis, 2005). Implications these practices have for education will also be addressed.
It looks like a fabulous conference with plenary speakers such as Theo van Leeuwen, Jim Martin, Mary Macken-Horarik, John Stephens and others. I am going to tell my friends to come along and have a little holiday in Armidale while they’re here because it is so pretty here!!
Yesterday I blogged in a hurry because I had a busy day to attend to, so I was very lazy with my hyperlinks, and given the questions about what I was saying by Lalitha and David in my comments, I thought I should elaborate!
So, basically Mark Bernstein, whose blog is here, came to Australia and presented a paper at the Blogtalk DownUnder conference in May. The slides to his presentation (and lots of other fabulous presentations) are here, but if you search his blog you don’t have to go far to see his views> Essentially he says:
I’ve long argued that weblog comments are not worth the risk — that they inevitably devolve into damaging, acrimonious, and expensive flame wars. (Mark Bernstein)
and from here:
Comments don’t belong in weblogs.
The measured pace of weblog response, and the distance between rival weblogs, makes measured discourse possible. Comments let idiots deface your weblog, and that’s intolerable. Because you can’t tolerate it, you have to do something. And that means the idiots have to do something, too. (Mark Bernstein)
Now please don’t misunderstand me here, I respect Mark’s opinion and believe that in some cases this can be absolutely true. There are some occasions where I have deleted a rude comment here for example because I don’t want to engage in debate with somebody who is clearly being hostile. Also, I am not somebody famous like Mark, so the level of traffic and potential comments is very minimal in comparison.
Nevertheless, in general I love comments (the few comments that I get, that is), because most of the time they are with people who want to engage with me or my ideas. I have just finished writing a paper where I discuss blogging as part of the new wave of cyberculture and here’s an excerpt:
Weblogs, or blogs, have become a new web phenomenon over the past few years. Kelly (2005) writes that the incredible rise of participant media such as blogs has shocked media experts, and envisions that in the near future, ‘everyone alive will (on average) write a song, author a book, make a video, craft a weblog, and code a program’ (Kelly, 2005, online). The impact of blogging in particular has been profound across the world, with its power to showcase the everyday experiences of people from all circumstances and contexts. One of the most surprising consequence of writing my own blog, i-Anya (Thomas, 2004-current) has been the new International network of colleagues I have made, and the stimulating level of intellectual debate, scholarship, discussion and friendships that have developed. Many academics are now blogging, and are experiencing the same exciting stimulation. Farrell, a writer for the US Chronicle of Education, argues that:
…the majority [of academics who blog], see blogging as an extension of their academic personas. Their blogs allow them not only to express personal views but also to debate ideas, swap views about their disciplines, and connect to a wider public. For these academics, blogging isn’t a hobby; it’s an integral part of their scholarly identity. They may very well be the wave of the future… academic blogs also provide a carnival of ideas, a lively and exciting interchange of argument and debate that makes many scholarly conversations seem drab and desiccated in comparison. Over the next 10 years, blogs and bloglike forms of exchange are likely to transform how we think of ourselves as scholars. While blogging won’t replace academic publishing, it builds a space for serious conversation around and between the more considered articles and monographs that we write.
(Farrell, 2005, “The Blogosphere as a Carnival of Ideas”)
The willingness of others to share their intellectual ideas, to engage in healthy debate, and to link academic works in progress has given me access to a type of scholarship I don’t experience regularly in the frantic daily grind of academic life. Through my blog and engagement in my blogging affinity spaces, I have been afforded the opportunity to build, refine and sharpen my intellectual ideas. By simply having a web presence I have found other like-minded colleagues who enter into dialogue with me about my work on a regular basis. This new type of networking has been and continues to be, for me, an invaluable force in shaping my thinking and my career choices. For me, Web 2.0 is about far more than creating content together with others, it’s also about creating new spaces for all forms of social, emotional and intellectual engagement with others. If academic blogging is ‘the wave of the future’, as Farrell suggests, then research should be conducted to explore the conditions under which this works most effectively.
(from: Thomas, A. (forthcoming). Community, Culture and Citizenship in Cyberspace. In: Lankshear, C., Knobel, M., Leu, D. and Cairo, J. (Eds.), The Handbook of New Literacies Research. Erlbaum.)
and commenting plays a role in all that. I also get emails from people who don’t like to comment, and thatis part of the engagement I am speaking of too. So basically I think Mark Bernstein has an important point about academic reputation in the event of a full scale flame war erupting (which I know I wouldn’t cope with at all!) but I think since I can regulate the comments then the risk of that happening is minimal, particularly given my low status in the food chain *grin*.
I would be interested in what others have to say about this.
Edited later to add in: this link to DrJoolz’s post about comments.
My flickr eyes seem to be focussing in on roses lately… yesterday I experimented with getting shots that would be worthy of the rose interiors flickr group. So here are two originals and then close-ups of their respective interiors. Enjoy!
Ooohhh, thank you to everybody who has commented here in the past two days - it’s lovely to actually engage through the blog! At the Blogtalk Downunder conference in May this year Mark Bernstein talked about how comments can be detrimental to an academic blog but I am loving them!
Yesterday was a glorious day in Armidale! The country mountain air is really agreeing with me! So, I went for a long walk around the park in the middle of town:
The walk through the park is beautiful but the pond is spectacular!
The ducks were swimming about around the waterlilies:
I tried to get clever and photograph this bee, but by the time I realised the light angle was wrong it had buzzed away.
Speaking of waterlilies, the ones in Len’s pond are opening right up and look gorgeous:
But on my walks about I discovered the most amazingly spectacularly beautiful flower - it must be related to an orchid but a whole bunch of them were all growing wild by the side of the road! Look:
Isn’t it divine!! The petals look like a sparkly lipstick I have. You really should click here to see it full sized.
And… yesterday afternoon I went to the local cinema and watched…
I’m afraid the brilliant BBC version has ruined me for enjoying any other version, and it took me until over half way through before I was able to stop making unfavourable comparisons and get into this version of it. By the end I was totally in love with Mr Darcy so it was worth seeing (and ticket prices are SO MUCH CHEAPER here!).
And in other news, last night we had the ARIAS (the Australian Music Awards), and the lovely Missy Higgins won lots. My friend Brian and I saw her performing at Darling Harbour earlier in the year and thought she was fabulous! Here she is celebrating with “the Hoff”
Here are the details and some of the entries so far. (Thanks Lucas!)
Well, I simply couldn’t bear not having internet access for 3.5 days so at great expense I taxi-ed into the office today to play / blog / flickr / finish my chapter. Thanks to everybody for the comment-fest, it was wonderful to see so many comments and to realise that people actually take an interest *grin*
Without further ado, let me flickr! Here are two more shots from my series of “raindrops on roses”. I got very wet taking these and several people were running in and out of the education faculty building (where the rose bushes are) giving me weird looks:
Here it is raining into Len’s backyard pond. I had to lean out over his balcony to take this shot, attracting the concern of Len’s next door neighbour, who spotted my doubled over body and came racing out of her house asking me if I was OK:
Here’s a waterlily in the pond. I almost fell in trying to get a close-up:
Here are the ducks that live on campus. One almost attacked me when I went running after them with my camera…
There are lots of Spring showers here in Armidale and I loved the clouds in this next shot. But I didn’t see the people nearby when I was taking it and was stunned when they called out: Are you taking photos of us?? I had to quickly assure them that no, I was just taking photos of the sky. More weird looks my way.
I never realised this but photography can be a frightening hobby you know!
(Via The Spin Starts Here)
So I am almost finished revising my “Handbook of New Literacies Research” chapter on Cyberculture. The editors gave me some fantastic feedback that has made a lot of difference - basically they gave me license to: “be as radical as you like” “put more of your own opinions into it” “speculate about the future directions” and so on. One of the reasons the chapter was difficult for me in the first draft stages was because I thought it had to be more formal literature review kind of writing, which I always hate to do because it sounds stiff and stilted. I seem to be much better at writing when I can insert my own voice into it.
Anyway I am now taking them up on the radical bit *grin* and am going to talk about the global skin we wear, the wired body (cyborg), and so on. Being away from internet access on evenings and weekends has just about killed me! And I was thinking on the weekend past how much being ‘wired’ is integral to so much of my work and play now that it has become just the same as having an extra sense. I mentioned this a bit on Monday. Over the weekend (and I have this to look forward (!) to over the next few weekends as well…ugh!) I couldn’t enjoy myself properly, I couldn’t write properly, I couldn’t LIVE properly because I wasn’t wired. It made me think about young people who are wired all the time like me, and how WRETCHED it must be to be in classrooms and schools all day that are depriving them of this ‘extra sense’ by not being wired. I came across an article by Kevin Kelly and he said this:
In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won’t feel like themselves - as if they’d had a labotomy
I feel like that now!! Isn’t that a fab quote! Anyway, I am going to weave it into my chapter - maybe it isn’t a radical idea for us, but it likely will be for teachers.
The reason I am working as a visiting scholar in Armidale for a few months is because Len and I are writing an ARC grant proposal together. ARC= Australian Research Council - its a government body that grants funding to various national research projects each year. It’s really competitive and the likelihood of actually being successful is something like 10% or less. But as part of ‘the role of an academic’ it is critical (here in Australia anyway) to at least try to get funding and to bring the dollars into your faculty through this scheme. So its a big dilemma for a beginner like me, with only a very small publication list and limited track record. Here are things that Len is helping me understand:
1. The track record in a focussed area of scholarship is crucial, so churning out lots of publications is step one in being successful.
2. Being successful at an ARC grant is pretty slim, so whatever work you do on it, make sure that you can use that work for other publications (so for example, the rationale for the project will be slightly modified into a paper and submitted to a journal).
3. Being successful required convincing a panel of experts in your area that your work is original, innovative and worthwhile. So this means we have to anticipate potential panel members in our field and compose an argument that would sway them. It also means that the theoretical location of the research has to be relatively familiar to the panellists, and this is causing a few problems because in my work I tend to draw from theoretical frameworks that aren’t “education”. So right now I am reading stuff on boring educational software so that I can say: look at this stuff, it does a, b and c… but what we want to research is this MUCH MORE EXCITING stuff that does everything from a to z and more. I have to go back 10 steps so that I can carefully lead the panellists along to where I am now, bridging the gap and showing them the contrast between what IS, and what could BE. In a way its frustrating because I want to be writing and theorising about stuff from much more interesting positions, but as a stage in the process to getting to that point I have to take it more slowly.
Anyway, the project is about kids multimedia hypertext authoring of narratives using 3D animation software, so its going to be exciting if we can actually get it off the ground!
My posts are becoming more diary-like and less concept-oriented!
Yesterday I spent the day with my fabulous colleague from Sydney (we teach functional grammar together), Sally Humphrey.
Sally was here giving a whole day seminar to staff on Appraisal theory as an analystical tool for textual data. It was faaaaabbbbuuuuullllousssss and she also presented some of her own data on adolescent girls and their political activism as evidenced through blogging practices. (that paper will be in the forthcoming special edition of E-Learning that I am editing).
I always learn so much when I listen to Sally, she’s totally into Bakhtin and the intersection between literary theory, critical social linguistics, discourse analysis and systemics. She also looked at the interplay between visual and verbal resources on blog posts, it was so exciting! Here is her abstract for the journal edition:
Getting the reader on side - Exploring adolescent online political discourse
In recent years there has been growing awareness of the need to support primary and secondary students in developing competencies for active and participatory citizenship. Among the essential competencies identified in a recent study of politically active teachers was the ability to expand ideas into arguments. This was articulated by one teacher as the ability to ‘get readers on side..how to go about making them comfortable, even if you’re saying what they don’t want to hear..’ (Gilbert, Carr & Singh 1995: 42).
This article reports on the early stages of a study which aims to describe key semiotic resources used by adolescents engaged in political or social activism. The study is first contextualised within current literacy, education and youth studies research. Resources used by one young social activist to argue a case and raise awareness on her weblog are then analysed and the implications for e-learning discussed.
Sally also looks at new social movement theory and points out that a lot of current activism is happening underground in “submerged networks” such as blogging communities. Love it!