The growth of interest in virtual worlds and other online spaces for children and young people raises important issues for literacy educators and researchers. This book is a timely and much-needed collection of current research in the area. It provides a synthesis of knowledge and understanding and will be a key resource for scholars, students and teachers, particularly those interested in digital literacies. The work presents a coherent vision of current knowledge, and some of the most engaging, empirical research being undertaken on virtual worlds and online spaces in and beyond educational institutions. It contains international studies from the UK, North America and Australasia.
This is an important time for those researching virtual worlds, videogaming and Web 2.0 technologies, since there is growing professional interest in their significance in the education and development of children and young people. Whether these technologies are solely associated with informal learning or whether they should be incorporated into classroom contexts is hotly debated. This book provides a principled evaluation and appreciation of the learning, teaching and instruction that can occur in digital environments, showing children, young people and those who work with them as active agents with possibilities to navigate new paths.
Introduction Part I: Exploring Virtuality 1. From Virtual Histories to Virtual Literacies Julia Gillen and Guy Merchant 2. A Sociocultural Approach to Exploring Virtual Worlds Rebecca W. Black and Stephanie M. Reich 3. Barbies and Chimps: Text and Childhoods in Virtual Worlds Victoria Carrington Part II: Virtual Literacies in Everyday Life 4. Multiliteracies in the Wild: Learning from Computer Games Catherine Beavis 5. Countering Chaos in Club Penguin: Young Children’s Literacy Practices in a Virtual World Jackie Marsh 6. Telling Stories Out of School: Young Male Gamers Talk About Literacies Alex Kendall and Julian McDougall Part III: School Innovations 7. ‘What is the MFC?’ Making and Shaping Meaning in Alternate Reality Games Angela Colvert 8. More Than Tweets: Developing the 'New' and 'Old' Through Online Social Networking Martin Waller 9. Children as Game Designers: New Narrative Opportunities Cathrin Howells and Judy Robertson 10. "I Oversee What the Children Are Doing": Challenging Literacy Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds Guy Merchant Part IV: Aspects of Participation 11. Scientific Literacy in a Social Networking Application Christine Greenhow 12. Seeking Planning Permission to Build a Gothic Cathedral on a Virtual Island Julia Gillen, Rebecca Ferguson, Anna Peachey and Peter Twining 13. Learning from Adventure Rock Lizzie Jackson 14. Playing Together Separately: Mapping Out Literacy and Social Synchronicity Crystle Martin, Caroline C. Williams, Amanda Ochsner, Shannon Harris, Elizabeth King, Gabriella Anton, Jonathon Elmergreen and Constance Steinkuehler. Virtual Literacies and Beyond: Some Concluding Comments