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Developing 21st-Century Writing Practices in Gaming-Related Affinity Spaces

Alecia Magnifico Neopets

Why does literacy in games & affinity spaces matter? Can schools learn something from online, in-game writing critique?

literacy practices are communicative, performative

Common Core writing standards:*Produce clear and coherent writing

  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences
  • Use tech to produce, publish, and update

[I missed all of these... Alecia is talking fast!]

Including authentic, collaborative writing helps students see it link to the broader context. Writing for a real audience helps motivate writing.

In order to successfully play Neopets, you have to do a lot of reading *and* writing. There’s trophies, competitions, achievements, etc.

Study of 5 Neopets players, aged 15-23, for 6 months and their writing practice. Neopian Times: writing for an edited publication

“Collab-ing” writing collaboratively [this reminds me a lot of fanfiction.net]

<Alecia covers four cases that are embematic of common core standards: genre, publication, theme, narrative>

Beth King MMO Role Playing as a Catalyst for Collaborative Writing

focused on young adult males (“guys”) increasingly disaffiliated with school large deficit in reading and writing skills 99% of guys game

MMO play is a constellation of literacy practices (Steinkuehlher, 2007)

What game related practices of teen males in MMO play as a friendship group? Longitudinal case study, n=12, 13-19 yrs, working class, minority, low income, after school program (pop.cosmo) World of Warcraft Role play server!

Guys developed interest in lore and backstory of game, books, online spaces, etc. Writing storylines, character sketches, integrating lore, using sets, props, etc. enacting, revising Writings were shared in Google Docs. SNA of writing activity Situational, spontaneous leadership across all the guys Has migrated to other fan fiction and writing projects. Aware of different audiences and able to tailor writing to these different contexts. Collaborative: multiple authors, multiple routes for participation

Contributing factors: blended virtual (in-game) and face to face (show and tell, deadlines, etc.) in role-play context, they could operationalize revisions, etc.

Assessment needs to consider multiple routes of participation.

Sean Duncan Uncovering Narrative Structure In Collaborative Fan Theorizing

Games as interactive, multimodal, complex, rule-based, and narrative systems. This is important when considering the writing practice *around* the games.

Zelda series has lasted 25 years so far. How do the narratives of the 16 Zelda games relate? The story doesn’t make sense if it follows chronologically. So fans have rearranged the games, arguing for particular chronologies that might have branching timelines. 16k posts over 3 years on Legend of Zelda web forums.

Using same analysis method as Labov “narrative structures analysis,” looks at forums posts. Case of one post that spells out a coda, making persuasive arguments. These arguments are personal narratives in a way.

Don’t think of games for their content but for their engrossing narratives. Not games for learning but games for games’ sake.

Jayne Lammers Developing Design Thinking through Sims Fan Fiction

very complex, in-depth narrative looked at The Sims Writers’ Hangout

theory: new literacies, sociocultural learning, etc. Gee’s affinity spaces (2004) Designs of meaning (New London Group, 1996)

Online ethnography (c. Androutsopoulos, 2008)

Angela: 15 yr old freshman. Discovered that the Hangout participation came with responsibilities and expectations about quality of written work. [also very similar to fanfiction.net] Sharing with community, getting feedback, etc. Writing these narratives required collaboration both in and out of the Hangout.

Constance Steinkuehler, discussant

Literacy has moved on since we ossified it.

boundaries are hard to set dataset is a moving target - need to just take a shot and call it a day groups is a moving target - follow idea, follow specific players, etc. longitudinal work is hard in literacy sometimes due to funding issues

Bruner. Law & Literature. narrative and argument are actually the same. [very Latour like]

marshaling of [sociomaterial] resources

[distribution and assemblage]

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