Hi! I'm an academic in Australia. I teach English Education and my research interests include new literacies, digital fiction, fan fiction, blogging, identity, pop culture, computer games, systemic linguistics, feminism and young people online. Recently I have been teaching and researching in the virtual world of Second Life, where I am known as Anya Ixchel.
Well, we finished the mixed media art course this evening (next comes a module on creative drawing). Our art teacher, Gina, talked to us about our work and suggested the piece she’d like us to enter into the student gallery. This is the piece of mine that she suggested - my collage and acrylics piece depicting a scene from Tasmania - the Tarkine wilderness:
I am really interested in how this course has sharpened the way I view the world around me. I actually see what is there now rather than filtering it out or seeing what I think is there. I look at shadows differently, and I look at negative spaces - something I only ever usually did when looking at optical illusions. When I look at something I notice the colours, the textures, and I think about what sort of paper, what sort of techniques, and what media etc that I could use to interpret what I see. I’m also constantly surprised at how just knowing a few techniques widens the interpretative possibilities, and makes us produce really interesting pieces. Only one person in our class was actually doing art on a regular basis before we started, yet by the end we all managed to find something we thought would be worth displaying to others.
After the working day was done today I dropped in to Second Life to continue exploring. I visited some of the featured islands and places of interest that were advertised on the website, and started reading through some of the building tutorials before meeting up with a friendly face and relaxing awhile. In my explorations I found this HUGE resource for teaching with Second Life:
My second year undergrads are working very hard to understand how to teach primary school children writing, genre and grammar. This week we had an entire lecture on adverbials and their role in various genres. Here’s a little sample of the lecture slides:
I really had to contain my laughter in one of the tutorials I had today though because I overheard one student saying “this is making my head hurt!”. Fortunately there are other students who come up and tell me (voluntarily!) that they enjoy my lectures so I guess it all balances out in the end *grin* Oh and I have a fail-safe reward system: chocolate frogs for correct answers!
This is the abstract for a workshop on tomorrow afternoon (4-5:30) at the University of Sydney. Anybody interested is welcome to come along.
Theory of Color: From Science to Semiotics
Department of Linguistics, University of Sydney
The purpose of this truly ‘Colorful’ workshop is to investigate the ways in which color has been and can be studied as a semiotic resource and how such study may promote our understanding of language and other modalities. We will start with a short introduction of the physical nature (”the phonetics”) of color, looking at color through the eyes of scientists and artists: what color actually is and what the basic aspects of color include. We will then move on to the grammar (or phonology?) of color as proposed by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996, 2002). Using examples from children’s picture books and women’s magazines, we will discuss in turn the meaning of seven color affordances: saturation/value/modulation/differentiation/hue/purity/luminosity.
After a few analysis exercises, we will end the workshop with the discussion of the concept of “Color Scheme”, what a color scheme is, and how it can be studied from the view of two clines in SFL: Instantiation (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999) and Individuation (Matthiessen, 2003; Martin in press).
Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T (1996) Reading Images: the grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.
Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T (2002) Color as a semiotic mode: notes for a grammar of color. Visual Communication 1.3. 343-368.
van Leeuwen, T (2005) Introducing Social Semiotics. London: Rouledge.
Halliday, M. A. K., and Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1999) Construing Experience through Meaning : A Language-Based Approach to Cognition. London: Cassell.
Martin, J. R. (In press) Genre, ideology and intertextuality: a systemic functional perspective Human Communication (Special Issue on Genre edited by J Bateman).
It also would not be allowed in family Easter specials.
Maybe I have a warped sense of humour but I haven’t been able to stop laughing - my apologies to my wonderful Canadian research participants!!
I’m so excited to be able to use this whole campaign in my teaching about the interpersonal metafunction of language. My students laughed at me yesterday for getting excited about all the modal verbs that are used in the Star Wars Phantom Menace trailer. And for getting excited about the looting vs. finding controversy (which showed how verbs ideologically position a text). But I’d rather have them laughing that getting upset because they don’t understand grammar / genre.
The ASFLA conference I’m speaking at in September (Multimodal Texts & Multiliteracies: Semiotic Theory and Practical Pedagogy) now has a more detailed site ready for viewing. And the deadline for proposed papers is in two weeks, so get them in fast if you want to go
Today I received this email from David Buckingham. I have no illusions that I was especially chosen (the email was generic) but its an honour to be on somebody’s list somewhere *smile* Anyway the details of this exciting opportunity (a $10,000 honorarium for a book chapter!) are below. Happy abstract writing
I have been commissioned by The New Media Consortium and the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, working in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to edit a volume of essays on Identity, Learning and Digital Media. This is part of a broader project, full details of which are attached.
I’m writing to you because I know you have an interest in this area, and I’m hoping that you might be interested in offering a contribution. The project enjoys substantial support: authors who are selected to participate will each receive an honorarium of $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) for their chapters.
Papers will be selected for inclusion on the basis of abstracts submitted by the end of April; and first drafts will be due mid-August.
I really hope you’ll be able to propose a contribution. I’d also be grateful if you could circulate this announcement broadly: the project aims to reach both the leading thinkers and writers in the world on these topics as well as those whose ideas are significant but less well known.
Do contact me if you have any questions.
With best wishes
Professor David Buckingham
Director, Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media
London Knowledge Lab
Institute of Education, University of London
23-29 Emerald Street
London WC1N 3QS
This afternoon I went to the French Film Festival and watched the fabulous movie: Anthony Zimmer. Here’s a review that personally I don’t think does the film justice. Why? Because just like Sixth Sense, I was surprised by the ending - and I am always surprised when I am surprised because the majority of suspense/thriller/drama movies give too many clues away! Now maybe the French speakers managed to spot the clues better than me (busy reading subtitles) but I’d recommend this movie for anybody who enjoys psychological thrillers with a bit of romance and just the right amount of action.
Mine on the other hand is much more basic and lowly I’m afraid. I have an OLD OLD computer and before I can do anything exciting I desperately need an upgrade first!
1) powerpoint: because it manipulates images and makes charts and drawings so much easier than other programs
2) google images, flickr and photoimpact: I’ve combined these because I use them all for the same purpose: to find inventive ways of expressing my ideas visually / metaphorically, as well as catering for all different learning / reading styles or preferences
3) you tube (and any other site with downloadable video clips): because using a couple of apposite video clips in lectures keeps the students awake and also caters for different learning styles / preferences
4) blog: well, because my blog helps me to stay in touch with the discourses surrounding my field of research, it has given me…well, the usual
5) camtasia studio: because it is fabulous for making screencasts to use for both research and teaching purposes
I’ve just started using skype for electronic interviews, but my attempt at using audacity failed because of the old computer. I sometimes use other people’s bloglines and delicious tags but generally not. None of these things fit into the “cannot do without” category. Ummm, I also use birthday alarm to remember friends and family member’s birthdays because I am terrible at keeping track of things like that (does that one count Lois?). Sorry to be so dull *grin*
If other people have more exciting things than I have then by all means, please consider yourself “tagged” and do tell me :>
(and yes, I am giving a lecture this coming week on “verbs” and how to teach them to children!)
Instead of fossicking about in junk yards for free skins, clothes and jewellery, I decided to spend my Linden dollars the other night. i ventured out to the shopping malls, and my first purchase was *drum roll* new hair!! yay!! Interestingly, i had to buy a bald skin to cover up the default hair before donning the new do. I also can’t get my eyebrows to match because the default colouring scale doesn’t seem to get it just so.
My next purchase was a new skirt (something to wear for special occasions other than the faded jeans I found in the junk yard):
and then *swoon* I found the shoe shops!!
where I managed to buy some boots (and get the label “couture hottie” which made me scream with laughter for about 10 minutes before I removed it).
Then, newly decked out with a gorgeous outfit, I decided to go gallery hopping:
More and more I am seeing the potential for using this in various ways in the classroom. I am hoping by second semester I’ll be proficient enough with the mechanical stuff to be able to use it in my New Literacies class. We have a rather arcane computer lab and restrictions on what we are permitted to download on to them though, so I may just have to talk about it rather than get students to do it, which won’t be much fun at all.
Yesterday I had a visit from Gus (Gillian Andrews), who I met at the NRC conference in December and who is doing fascinating research both for her PhD and also with the wonderful Teacher’s College group. I’m afraid by Friday afternoon I was exhausted (its been a terribly hectic week, as evidenced by my inability to blog during most of it) so I was a bit brain dead and forgot the hundreds of questions I had to ask about her thoughts on “self as avatar” and so on. But we did manage a tour of the gorgeous campus I work at, looking at the old sandstone buildings, stained glass windows, and gargoyles at every corner:
We also popped in to the ancient history museum on campus and looked at sarcophagi, ancient egyptian writing and ancient Roman jewellery:
It was my first visit to the museum - terrible isn’t it, since I work just a few hundred metres away - and I was really surprised at how huge the collection was. I also don’t usually take the time to walk about the campus and really look at things, so it was lovely to have an excuse that gave me license to stop still and take lots of photos. Thanks Gus!