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A New Literacies Reader

Educational Perspectives

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Edited By Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel

A New Literacies Reader is an introduction to social and cultural studies of new literacies from the perspectives of educators, education researchers and learners. It focuses on how participating in social practices of new literacies can be seen and understood in terms of people becoming insiders to ways of «doing» and «being» that are today considered desirable or worthwhile, and how this can usefully inform how we think about formal schooling and learning. The book’s 18 chapters cover a variety of topics, including:
ߦ studies of new literacies within classroom contexts
ߦ semi-formal learning spaces beyond the classroom
ߦ teacher learning and professional development
ߦ spaces of popular cultural affinities
ߦ practices viewed from different research perspectives
The diverse topics addressed range from multimodal pedagogies, remix, performance poetry, and digital storytelling to issues associated with wireless environments, assessment, identity, and teachers’ ways of taking up new technologies. Chapters explore how young people participate and collaborate within the spaces of popular cultural interests and the various approaches to researching gaming. The book speaks to teachers and teacher educators, education administrators, curriculum developers, education policy makers, professional development specialists, postgraduate research students, and other literacy and new media researchers. A New Literacies Reader is an essential volume for undergraduates, grad students, and faculty interested in refining their knowledge of the vast new horizons created by the world of new literacies.
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13. Communication, Coordination and Camaraderie: A Player Group in World of Warcraft

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Communication, Coordination and Camaraderie

A Player Group in World of Warcraft

MARK CHEN



Context

This chapter is taken from Mark Chen’s book-length analysis of one expert player group in World of Warcraft (WoW), the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). The group comprised roughly 60 people—most of whom have never met in their lives outside WoW. Players belonged to a range of different WoW guilds (e.g., Booty Bay Anglers, The 7/10 Split), but came together for the purposes of high-stakes “raiding” within the game (game mechanics forces this kind of collaboration; monsters and bosses are too strong for a single player to defeat successfully). Chen studied the origins, rise, and decline of this raiding group over a 10-month period as a participant-observer/ethnographer. He focused especially on shared activity, the role of communication in group trust and cohesiveness, the negotiation and renegotiation of roles within the group, and game-play practices. He also documented how “expert” players become like “noobs” (or newbies; newcomers to the game) as they learn new game-play strategies, or incorporate game add-ons (e.g., small programs that can help document game play, facilitate communication across chat channels, generate statistics about an in-game battle, etc.) to help facilitate group play. A central part of the study includes reporting how group values and relationships changed over time: starting with describing an informal group that saw itself as more of a “family” than anything else,...

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