UKLA 2015 Abstract

Just received confirmation that I will be presenting at UKLA 51st International Conference (at the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Triumph Road, Nottingham) on Friday 10th July at 3.00pm – 3.40pm.Week 10 screenshot (9)

‘Exploring textual landscapes: the lived experience of an after school Minecraft Club’

Abstract: Recent work around the use of Virtual Worlds in educational contexts has conceptualised literacies as communal processes, whilst considering complex notions of collaboration through participants’ multiplicity of presence. Screen-based virtual worlds can also be viewed as multimodal texts, constructed by multiple players. Shaped by these ideas, this presentation draws upon data collected during a year-long ethnographic study, investigating a group of ten and eleven year old children’s engagement with the video game ‘Minecraft’. It charts children’s experiences as they collaborate to build a ‘virtual community’, making individual and collective decisions about their use of the shared virtual space.    With a focus on the literacy events and artefacts generated in and around a virtual space, this presentation describes how this established, self-directed group of children used this environment to compose informal texts. It explores how the literacies constructed through their interactions were influenced by resources drawn from their wider culture, shaped by their experiments with in-game multimodal creation. The children’s interactions enabled them to form their own individual and collective textual landscapes through a set of emotionally charged manifestations of literacy, played out in the hybrid virtual/material worlds.


#LRA14 Conference

I was really fortunately to be able to attend the Literacy Research Association Conference in Florida earlier this month. I presented my work on children’s singing around Minecraft. Here is my presentation, and the audio files that go with it (I have removed the video to preserve anonymity of participants):

Minecraft Songs Medley:

‘The Sheep Song’:


It was a great pleasure to present alongside Christian Ehret and Ty Hollett on the first day, as part of a symposium. I presented again with colleagues from Hallam later in the week, this time with a focus on collaboration around Minecraft with Cathy Burnett, in a symposium with Roberta Taylor and Karen Daniels.

I attended a large number of presentations and made copious notes, which I won’t try and condense into a single blog entry – suffice to say I have plenty to think about.

Oh, and the beach was good too.




Back from presenting at the Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies conference with Cathy.

Reassuring to get some positive comments.

Also enjoyed:

Oystein Gilje: Exploring literacy, identity and learning lives in educational transitions
Clare Dowdall: Social Control and Textual Control: the mastery of text production in the everyday
Sheila Webber: ‘I was searching for this scarf I’ve got on’: the everyday of professional in Second Life
Language of Talisman: Richard Steadman-Jones, David Hyatt, Hugh Escott
Diane Mavers: Extraordinariness in ordinary, everyday text making

Lined up to read: ‘Misreading Masculinity‘ by Thomas Newkirk (as recommended by Bronwyn T Williams, in response to discussion with Diane Mavers about the storying elements and some boys’ subversion of the rules in Minecraft. Interesting to note that this was the bit that stuck in some people’s minds.)