November 28, 2005
It’s kind of fun being immersed in American culture during the festive season. First was Thanksgiving (I have been eating turkey for three days in a row now!!) and then the day after thanksgiving was trimming the Christmas tree and transforming the house into everything Christmas-y. We had 8 gigantic tubs full of christmas decorations - nativity scenes, wreaths, tinsel, and all manner of holiday baubles - and part of me is going “oh, how lovely” and the other part of me is well… surprised at how over the top it seems. It’s fascinating to look at all of the social practices surrounding the festivities - on Monday night we’re going to go out looking at Christmas lights - something that happens on a small scale in Australia, but nothing like the phenomenon or the scale that it is here. I think its fun but have decided I would never make a good American citizen!
November 27, 2005
Today was sightseeing around Tampa and St Petersburg! I took photos but can’t upload to show. We went to the pier, strolled about the harbour area, window shopped in all sorts of fun artsy specialty shops (and I bought somebody’s Christmas present here but I am not saying what!) and enjoyed the warm weather and see breezes.
November 26, 2005
Well, now I have discovered one of the popular tweenie hang-outs, a wonderful anime role-playing site online called Gaia.
Jessica (Sally’s daughter who is in the 6th grade) and her friends are deeply ensconced into the world of anime and manga. The gaia site is fabulous, it has forums (discussion based and role-playing), avatars, journals with commenting enabled, instant messaging and an amazing virtual economy where the girls are earning “gold” by trading things - avatars, images, objects, sig files they make and so on. They can also earn gold with every post they make (which is a good motivation for writing and role-playing!) and for time spent on the site, friends they invite in etc. Some of them also convert their role-playing ideas into fan fiction and upload it to fanfiction.com.
These are predominantly 10 - 14 year olds, and when I asked both Jessica and her friend about school, they both screwed up their noses. Her friend told me that her teachers just get them to do exercises out of a text book and barely talks to them!!! Isn’t it criminal, to see what they’re doing here and to see the excitement and investment they have in their online communities, and to compare that to how disengaged and disenfranchised they are in their school worlds! Jessica sooo excitedly showed me her anime sketches and her role-playing and talked at length about the plots, the world of guilds and quests and the manga novels she reads. And yet, Sally told me she is worried about her lack of interest in school. But it must be a difficult balancing act for parents to try and encourage kids to do homework which consists of boring, tedious exercises from a text book, and letting them engage in their online worlds that are so rich and intellectually stimulating. What a dilemma!
November 25, 2005
I am sooooo jet-lagged.. I have only had 4 hours sleep since the last post I made and this!!!
Here I am safely in Florida enjoying Thanksgiving weekend and holiday craziness…
and everything in America tastes like cinnamon. Why is that?
November 22, 2005
Given that I will be celebrating in America on the weekend, let me wish everybody…
I am heading off for the US in a few hours so until later, byeeeeeeeeeeee!
November 21, 2005
Baby presents for most people usually mean booties or rattles or baby blankets. Not me. I give books! And this is the book I am taking to give 3 week old Samuel, a fabulous book about families camping in the Australian bush. Samuel is part Australian and part American, the son of my lovely childhood friend Sally-Ann, who went and married an American guy and now lives in Florida.
When Sally-Ann and I were in our teens we used to go camping at some river flats in Deloraine, Tasmania. We also went caving, bushwalking, kayaking, horse-riding, had sing-alongs around campfires, cooked hungis in holes in the ground, and all sorts of other amazing activites. Funnily enough, ALL of those activities and more are shown in this book, so when I saw it I simply HAD to get a copy - for Sally-Ann to read to Samuel and tell him stories about when we were younger, and what life was like growing up in Tasmania. This book made me so sentimental I had to buy two copies so I could keep one for myself!
Roland Harvey is a great children’s book illustrator/author and has won many Australian book awards. I suspect this one will be shortlisted for the next round of awards because it’s fabulous!!
Important moment in Australian pop culture tonight - the third Australian Idol was announced: Kate DeAraugo. (Story here).
Do you remember show and tell time at school? Or “news time” when you were older? Well, spare a thought for the poor teacher who had a 9 yr old child bring along a LIVE HAND GRENADE to school!!!
Boy brought grenade to show and tell
A primary school in Poland had to be evacuated after a nine-year-old boy brought a live hand grenade to a ’show and tell’ session.
The pupils had been asked to bring something interesting into the classroom to show their classmates.
Nine-year-old Piotr Ernst, from Trzebnik, decided that a hand grenade from his dad’s collection of WWII memorabilia was the perfect thing.
When later questioned by police, the youngster’s father, Fryderyk, said he had dug up the grenade along with other WWII artifacts that he had found using a metal detector in woods near his home.
Michele just sent me this invitation, and I am passing it along - IF you are reading this AND you will be at NRC in Miami, THEN obviously you are a new literacies person and must come along (like my programming logic there?). I think that 8am meeting on the Saturday might prove a little difficult but the bashing sounds like a must do, right!?
If you will be at NRC in Miami, Chuck Kinzer, Dana Cammack, Doug Hartman, Jill Castek, Julie Coiro, Laurie Henry, Michele Knobel, Colin Lankshear, and I would like to invite you our 7th annual bash at NRC. If you are a new literacies person (whatever this means to you), a multiliteracies person (of whatever type), or if you prefer your paradigms more separate and you are more of a literacy and technology person, we have much to learn from one another. And, of course, if you do work in other areas, your email has taken over your life, and you want nothing more to do with technology, you are also welcome!!!!
Come join us for a few libations and snacks and wonderful conversation about your most recent thinking in your important area of literacy research.
WHAT: NEW LITERACIES BASH
WHEN: FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 9:15-11:30 pm
WHERE: Presidential Suite, Intercontinental Hotel
And, please feel free to pass this message along to friends and colleagues whom you believe will add to our collective conversation. Everyone is welcome at this get together since that is the point, after all!
My apologies to anyone I could not find on the NRC address list.
Meanwhile I am so impressed at my organisational skills - my suitcase is already almost all packed, TWO entire days before I leave!!! It is full of Australiana necessities for my old school friend Sally-Ann that I will be visiting before the conference commences: vegemite, tim tams, milo, Cadbury’s chocolate, caramello koalas, and a baby present for her new baby boy, Samuel (some Australiana children’s books of course - got to think of the literary diet as well as the delectable delicacies!). I’ve packed extra tim tams for the conference too. Maybe I’ll put them on a plate and share them at the New Literacies Bash!!!
November 20, 2005
Today I went shopping and bought:
Some new shoes!!! Yay!!! I walked straight past the Pradas and the Manolos to the bargain end of the store. OK that’s not quite true, I did stop at the Manolos to check out the prices - the cheapest pair was $1200!!!!! Do normal people really buy these? I think I am being extravagant when I buy anything over $100 :/ Anyway, here are my lovely new pumps and sandals:
I also bought some miniature plastic bottles for filling up with shampoo and stuff to make it easier for travelling:
On my way home I stumbled across the Glebe fair day, complete with musicians:
people doing weird things for prizes:
and lots of trendy looking stalls:
I walked past this two storey mural which I really like:
and on my way to the bus stop I noticed this sign - which almost came true when I tried stepping out to take photos!
Oh, and tonight I also started packing my suitcase - just a few more days and I am off for the US!!!
November 19, 2005
The Uses of Blogs book has now gone to the publishers. I am chapter 18! Here’s the table of contents, via Snurblog.
Uses of Blogs - Table of Contents
Axel Bruns & Joanne Jacobs
Section One: Blogs in Industries
2. The Practice of News Blogging
3. Journalists and News Bloggers: Complements, Contradictions and Challenges
Jane B. Singer
4. Publishing and Blogs
5. Can Blogging Unspin PR?
6. Blogs in Business: Using Blogs behind the Firewall
7. Economic Blogs and Blog Economics
8. Blogging the Legal Commons
9. Blogging to Basics: How Blogs are Bringing Online Education Back from the Brink
10. Blogging to Learn, Learning to Blog
Section Two: Blogs in Society
11. Scholarly Blogging: Moving toward the Visible College
12. Blogging from Inside the Ivory Tower
13. The Political Uses of Blogs
14. Posting with Passion: Blogs and the Politics of Gender
15. Blogging Disability: The Interface between New Cultural Movements and Internet Technology
Gerard Goggin & Tim Noonan
16. Living in Cyworld: Contextualising Cy-Ties in South Korea
Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
17. Subcultural Blogging? Online Journals and Group Involvement among UK Goths
18. Fictional Blogs
Section Three: Outlook
19. A Vision for Genuine Rich Media Blogging
20. Bloggers and the Law
Brian Fitzgerald & Damien O’Brien
21. Blogs and the Communications Renaissance
Joanne Jacobs & Douglas Rushkoff
22. What’s Next for Blogging?
I’ve been playing around with a wiki now for a few weeks but have found the free ones to be somewhat clumsy and unsatisfactory. Thanks to Sue, I came across Writely, which is like a wiki only better (from my experiences with one anyway). So now my colleagues and I have transferred our book-in-progress over there and it really seems a lot easier as a place to collaboratively write together. So far its free - let’s hope it stays that way til we finish our book! :>
Watch my NRC talk as a slideshow on flickr!
(Why did I put it on flickr? Because my faculty NEVER has their server accessible!!! Thank goodness for blog spaces and flickr, or I’d never have a web presence! The old version of the paper is here, but the new version will be in my forthcoming e-selves book).
November 18, 2005
Thanks to the wonderful Karin, who pointed me to bluedaniel animation, I have enjoyed spending a couple of hours watching new video/animation digital fiction from the site. What a great find!
I have updated my digital fiction links page to add in bluedaniel - the main site, and one of my favourite pieces of video fiction from that site so far, Wolfert’s Roost.
It’s wonderful being on sabbatical, to be able to drop everything for a couple of hours and go exploring - what a luxury time is!
November 17, 2005
I finally had the chance to watch the pilot of the Strand, a web based video production by one of the co-producers of Blair Witch Project. It also has a couple of fictional blogs by the characters to supplement the story, like the bartender’s blog here. I really liked the free episode - it helps having broadband now because I’ve never been able to watch the streaming video before. It was surprisingly interesting - darkish, moody, promising characters. There’s even a discussion forum. I imagine it won’t be too long before we get an onslaught of online TV shows - the ABC in Australia already has a broadband network with short videos and excerpts from existing shows. Nothing web-only though. The Strand isn’t as interesting in form as something like Online Caroline, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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Guess where I spent my morning today?