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LRDG: 'Points of View: reflections on a virtual world in a classroom (or was it a classroom in a virtual world)'?

Date: 19 February 2013 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Cathy Burnett & Guy Merchant will be speaking on:

In this presentation we will explore theoretical and methodological issues emerging from a study of children's interaction and meaning-making in a virtual world. As researchers we sought to generate data from different perspectives - both in-world and in the classroom - in order to better understand how children made sense of each 'place' in relation to the other. Juxtaposing these different perspectives enables us to explore the complexity of the relationship between the material and virtual. We will describe how children moved seamlessly between the 'real' and the 'virtual' appearing to make meanings through inter-connecting pathways between the two, producing hybrid spaces that were constantly under construction. Drawing on Deleuze's ideas of the baroque (1993), we suggest a more nuanced interpretation of the online/offline dichotomy - one that acknowledges fluidity and instability. We will suggest that the implications of this work go beyond the study of digital literacy and virtual worlds and contribute to debates about how we conceptualise the situatedness of literacy. Our analysis highlights how the qualities and boundaries of space, and associated relationships and meanings, seem to change from moment to moment and differ for individuals or groups as they interact with and around texts. It argues for a view of new literacies that acknowledges this complexity.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Uta Papen

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Classroom interaction, Literacies, Virtual worlds


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