Children's and young people's digital literacies
in virtual online spaces

Seminar 4 : Literacies in Online Games

March 10th, 2010

InfoLab21 C60 b/c

Lancaster University


Lancaster University maps and travel directions


*9:54 arrival at Lancaster Station (from London Euston, Manchester, Sheffield etc)

10:00 Minibus to university (if prebooked)

10:10 Arrival and coffee

10:30 March of the Penguins

Anna Peachey, Open University

This presentation focuses on the Disney-owned virtual world Club Penguin. Club Penguin is an international exemplar for internet safety in massively multiplayer environments targeted at children (6-14), making it a popular choice for parents wanting to support their children's participation in online game play and early social networking. However ‘safety' in this instance is based on constructs of credentials, and critics suggest that parents should be more concerned about the subliminal learning that is mediated by and within this highly sophisticated environment.  The presentation will explore how playing in Club Penguin helps to develop digital literacy skills in young people, and consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a Penguin.

11.15 Learning practice in social worlds

Diane Carr, Andrew Burn

London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London

This paper is about how and what people learn in two different online worlds. Initially we report on learning practices in the massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft. WoW is a game. It has goals, rewards, missions and conditional progression. It might be said to offer a curriculum of sorts. It does not follow that expertise is attained or assessed in predictable ways by its players. Attention then turns to Second Life, an online social world. We focus on a particular community (machinima makers) in order to explore competence, expertise and literacy in this context.

12:00 The Classroom Connection: English and Computer Games

Catherine Beavis, Deakin University, Australia.

12:30 Lunch

1:15 small group discussions

2.05 “Being him rather than the puppet master”: boys, being, gaming and literacies

Alex Kendall, University of Wolverhampton

Drawing on evidence from a qualitative study, Just Gaming , of young men's ‘talk' about the categories of gaming, reading and viewing this paper explores the ways boundaries are constructed, insulated and transgressed by participants for different performance contexts and audiences. Attention is paid to the opportunities for the frivolous, in the serious Maclurian sense, kinds of playing at being that on-line and off-line gaming seems to offer young men particularly in contrast to their own accounts of a wider range of literacy practices, most especially those contextualised by institutionalised practices of school or college. Towards a conclusion Maclure's notion of the ‘baroque' is evoked to consider what new kinds of pedagogical narratives might be called for if education is to successfully enable young people to (re)read the “textualized stories of their lives” (Kehler and Grieg 2005:367).

2.50 small group discussions

3.30 Plenary

3.50 Close & minibus to station for departure to Preston train (for onward travel to Manchester, Sheffield, London Euston etc) *4.38pm


* Some useful train times:

depart London Euston 7.30am arrive Lancaster 9.54am

depart Lancaster 16.38pm arrive London Euston 19.13pm

depart Sheffield 7.35am arrive Lancaster 9.54am

depart Lancaster 16.38pm arrive Sheffield 7.10pm


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