Interpreting and Authoring Digital Multimedia Narratives
Edited By Len Unsworth and Angela Thomas
Chapter 12: Virtual Macbeth: Using Virtual Worlds to Explore Literary Texts
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Using Virtual Worlds to Explore Literary Texts
Over the past decade, there seems to have been a widespread shift from children in the role of mere consumers and receivers of digital texts into a new type of child, one who has become an innovative producer of multimedia digital texts. In addition to children consuming and participating within the cultural communities associated with digital texts, the most recent research has demonstrated how children are playing, experimenting, and manipulating the affordances of digital texts for their own pleasures and purposes. Children are creating and managing their own online communities (Thomas, 2004; Unsworth, Thomas, Simpson, & Asha, 2005); participating in online fan fiction communities (Black, 2004; Lankshear & Knobel, 2004; Thomas, 2005); creating role-playing Web forums (Thomas, 2005, 2007); creating, writing for, and editing their own zines (Web magazines) (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005); and publishing their own multimedia weblogs, including photoblogs and podcasts (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006). Furthermore, many children spend hours helping each other to learn the discursive and social practices around virtual communities, willingly volunteering their time and efforts to help their friends become insiders of the communities. Through this, they are developing values, citizenship, and ethics through their participation in the communities in which such texts are produced (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006; Thomas, 2007).
Notwithstanding these emergent phenomena, it is quite clear that children are simply not receiving the schooled apprenticeships into the “digisphere” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005) that are...