Thursday, June 15, 2006

Better for Beta #3

We've just arrived back in Mexico for a couple of weeks ahead of the summer teaching stint up in Newfoundland. The past month is pretty much a blur. We've blogged part of that blur on Joypix.

Meanwhile, here is the file for the draft of Chapter 4 of the new edition of New Literacies. The book is now formally into the production phase, with copy editing under way.

On another tack altogether, it is great to be back in Mexico. The World Cup is going out free to air on TV, so during certain times of the day the streets are strangely quiet.

This time round I am taking quite an interest in proceedings. This has to do with my favourite beer having won the auction to be the official beer of this great event. It was a sight for sore eyes walking into the super yesterday and seeing special edition Bud stacked floor to ceiling, while the 50 inch TV was pumping out the action between Germany and Poland.

There weren't many people in the super at the time either.

Probably a bit late to comment, but I only just came across this .... thanks very much for posting Chapter 4. I found it a very interesting read.

I wondered (being in my early 50s) about the focus on young people - are older writers of fan fiction and anime lovers (like myself) deliberately left out? (implicitly or explicitly) Is this just because more young people appear to be engaged, or is older people's experience of new literacies seen as less valid? Of course, this might have been explained in earlier parts of your book which I haven't read.

In terms of actally writing (rather than reading) fan fic I engage in what might seem a terribly quaint and British sort of form i.e. about the Archers (a very long running UK radio soap). From remarks on the discussion boards, there are some younger participants, but the age profile is distinctly older than for e.g. the Wheel of Time or Harry Potter fan fiction. However, you can see that people are just as obsessed with the Archers (see the Archers message boards, shewing over every daily episode, speculating wildly about what will happen and also forming communities branching out of their shared interests.

Hello Sheila--many thanks for your thoughtful comment. We'd certainly like to hear what others have to say about the two points Sheila raises. Speaking for myself right now, as Colin flies somewhere over mainland USA, I am inclined to argue that people who haven't grown up with these new techs and literacies as an everyday part of their lives won't ever be as fluent "practitioners" (in a large sense) of the kinds of new lits we discuss in this book, although outsiders/newcomers are much more likely to be able to talk more effectively at a meta-level about these practices than insiders (Jim Gee's distinction between acquisition and learning is checking in here). This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, and neither is it a blanket rule. But watching my 10 year old nephew pick up an iPod for the first time ever in his life and within 10 seconds seeing him sort out how the scroll wheel works, the menus work and realising that he's already loaded and is well into playing a game I didn't even know existed on my iPod (which I'd owned for 2 years) underscores for me just how "at home" so many kids and youth in developed countries are with new techs and literacies.
More for Sheila--your fanfic writing sounds so interesting! And online archives like suggest an enormous array of diverse writers participate in the practice. Our focus on a relatively young demographic grows out of our general interest in children, adolescents and young adults and literacy education. So, fanfic away!
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