Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

7. Virtual clay or virtual play: Identity shaping, consumer building and corporate affiliation versus literacies affordance inside


| 99 →


Virtual Play or Virtual Clay? as a Space of Constructive Play or Identity Shaping


Introduction: Problematising Virtual Worlds for the Young

This chapter draws on data gathered via a cyberethnographic1 journey into the virtual world of conducted by the author, an educational researcher. The work appropriates a social semiotic ‘app’ to discuss the formation of identity within one particular virtual world for the young— It will be suggested that whilst the young seemingly enjoy freedom to create themselves as avatars with adornments, to venture into new spaces, to enact new social practices of engagement, to utilise multiple affordances to learn basic literacy skills, social awareness, and practise creative problem solving; in reality virtual spaces are rarely free from commercial inducements and hard-sell advertising (Meyers, Nathan, & Unsworth, 2010). Foucault’s (1982) notion of the panopticon is co-opted in the examination of how virtual world designers employ hegemonic discourses that construct the subject, and facilitate the performance of social practices that create consumers and a particular type of social uniformity.

It is increasingly being acknowledged that digital affordances are the most powerful tools we have ever had to inspire children to learn in new ways through play. This kind of learning is radically different from the traditional accumulation of facts or acquisition of knowledge-type learning (Thomas & Brown, 2009). Cook and Brown (1999) name it ‘knowledge in action’...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.