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Children’s Virtual Play Worlds

Culture, Learning, and Participation

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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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13. Afterword

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c h a p t e r t h i r t e e n Afterword Jackie Marsh and Anne Burke This book has offered a glimpse into the online play worlds of young children and considered their relationship to offline texts and practices. In this journey, we have furthered our understanding of the way in which virtual worlds are structured, the kinds of public engagement and social interaction they foster, and the ways in which children and family members use the sites and their related texts and arte- facts. Contributors have considered both the opportunities these spaces offer and their constraints, such as how commercial interests shape the user’s experience and limit agency. Collectively, the chapters have provided a thorough overview of some of the key issues raised in young children’s use of virtual worlds and online play spaces. In the years ahead, there are a number of areas that deserve further explo- ration, which we outline briefly below. First, we believe that future developments in the industry will include a closer integration of virtual worlds with texts and artefacts across other platforms. Films and television programmes will be released, for example, that will be closely tied to a virtual world, in order that viewers can extend their experience of the narra- tive. Major toy brands, such as Mattel and Lego, have already entered the virtual world market and this pattern will be extended to smaller producers. Social-net- working sites such as Facebook are hosting a...

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