Virtual Literacies: Interactive Spaces for Children and Young People, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Virtual Literacies

Interactive Spaces for Children and Young People, 1st Edition

Edited by Guy Merchant, Julia Gillen, Jackie Marsh, Julia Davies


288 pages | 61 B/W Illus.

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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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Editors

Guy Merchant is Professor of Literacy in Education at Sheffield Hallam University.

Julia Gillen is Senior Lecturer in Digital Literacies at the Literacy Research Centre, Lancaster University.

Jackie Marsh is Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Julia Davies is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. She is a director of the Centre for the Study of New Literacies at Sheffield, and directs the EdD in Literacy and Language and the MA in New Literacies.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Will Bateman: [email protected] – Editor, UK and Rest of World

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Experimental Methods
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects