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Children’s Virtual Play Worlds

Culture, Learning, and Participation


Edited By Anne Burke and Jackie Marsh

As children’s digital lives become more relevant to schools and educators, the question of play and learning is being revisited in new and interesting ways. Children’s Virtual Play Worlds: Culture, Learning, and Participation provides a more reasoned account of children’s play engagements in virtual worlds through a number of scholarly perspectives, exploring key concerns and issues which have come to the forefront. The global nature of the research in this edited volume embraces many different areas of study from school based research, sociology, cultural studies, psychology, to contract law showing how children’s play and learning in virtual spaces has great potential and possibilities.
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4. Stardolls and the virtual playground: How identity construction works in the new digital frontier


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Stardolls and the Virtual Playground

How Identity Construction Works in the New Digital Frontier


Jules and I sit side by side at a computer during lunch hour in the computer room. As I watch, she clicks, drags, and changes the dress on a virtual dress-up doll, exploring the latest fashions from the real runways of Paris and New York. She chatters about her new celebrity doll modeled after Avril Lavigne—a Canadian rock star. She mentions the latest celebrity gossip while clicking the mouse and dragging clothes from the fashion doll’s celebrity closet. She admits that her love of gossip magazines and the Canadian celebrity television show Entertainment Tonight keeps her attuned to the young singer’s famous life. Her ability to navigate the menus on the virtual doll site is quite impressive. What is more, is her narrative on the rules of friendship explaining why she has chosen a particular dress for her ‘avaDoll’ and fashion outfits for her classmates’ avaDolls. Her attentiveness to every detail shows how play and identity in the digital realm for young girls has moved into a new frontier—one that is about identity and the multiple constructions of self.


Over the past few years, more and more schools are becoming receptive to finding space within school curricula to include children’s outside digital literacies. As a ← 38 | 39 → result, questions...

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