FAKULTETSNÄMNDEN FÖR LÄRARUTBILDNING THE FACULTY BOARD FOR TEACHER EDUCATION - PDF

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Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning Nr 3/2005 Årgång 12 FAKULTETSNÄMNDEN FÖR LÄRARUTBILDNING THE FACULTY BOARD FOR TEACHER EDUCATION Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning nr årgång

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Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning Nr 3/2005 Årgång 12 FAKULTETSNÄMNDEN FÖR LÄRARUTBILDNING THE FACULTY BOARD FOR TEACHER EDUCATION Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning nr årgång 12 Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning (fd Lärarutbildning och forskning i Umeå) ges ut av Fakultetsnämnden för lärarutbildning vid Umeå universitet. Syftet med tidskriften är att skapa ett forum för lärarutbildare och andra didaktiskt intresserade, att ge information och bidra till debatt om frågor som gäller lärarutbildning och forskning. I detta avseende är tidskriften att betrakta som en direkt fortsättning på tidskriften Lärarutbildning och forskning i Umeå. Tidskriften välkomnar även manuskript från personer utanför Umeå universitet. Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning beräknas utkomma med fyra nummer per år. Ansvarig utgivare: Dekanus Björn Åstrand Redaktör: Fil.dr Gun-Marie Frånberg, 090/ , e-post: Bildredaktör: Doktorand Eva Skåreus e-post: Redaktionskommitté: Docent Håkan Andersson, Pedagogiska institutionen Professor Åsa Bergenheim, Pedagogiskt arbete Docent Per-Olof Erixon, Institutionen för estetiska ämnen Professor Johan Lithner, Matematiska institutionen Doktorand Eva Skåreus, Institutionen för estetiska ämnen Universitetsadjunkt Ingela Valfridsson, Institutionen för moderna språk Professor Gaby Weiner, Pedagogiskt arbete Redaktionens adress: Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning, Gun-Marie Frånberg, Värdegrundscentrum, Umeå universitet, UMEÅ. Grafisk formgivning: Eva Skåreus och Tomas Sigurdsson, Institutionen för estetiska ämnen Illustratör: Eva Skåreus Original: Print & Media, Umeå universitet Tryckeri: Danagårds grafiska, 2005: Tekniska upplysningar till författarna: Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning framställs och redigeras ur allmänt förekommande Mac- och PC-program. Sänd in manuskript på diskett eller som e-postbilaga. Distribution: Lösnummer kostar 50 kronor + porto (dubbelnummer 80 kronor + porto) och kan beställas från Lärarutbildningens kansli, Umeå universitet, UMEÅ. Helårsprenumeration kostar 140 kronor + porto. Pg , ange Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning i Umeå, konto , samt avsändare. Använd gärna det förtryckta inbetalningskortet. Tidskriften distribueras gratis till institutioner inom lärarutbildningen i Umeå. Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning är från och med nr 1/1999 utlagd som elektronisk tidskrift på den hemsida som Fakultetsnämnden för lärarutbildning i Umeå har: Förbehåll mot detta måste göras av författaren före publicering. författarna, illustratörer 4 Contents EDITORIAL...7 ARTICLES Christina Segerholm Productive Internationalization in Higher Education: One Example... 9 Charlotta Edström Is there more than just symbolic statements?...15 Alan J. Hackbarth An Examination of Methods for Analyzing Teacher Classroom Questioning Practicies Camilla Hällgren Nobody and everybody has the responsibility responses to the Swedish antiracist website SWEDKID...61 Brad W. Kose Professional Development for Social Justice: Rethinking the End in Mind...85 Mary J. Leonard Examining Tensions in a Design for Science Activity System J. Ola Lindberg and Anders D. Olofsson Phronesis on teachers knowing in practice Constance A. Steinkuehler The New Third Place: Biographies Notes on the submission of manuscripts Previous issues Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming in American Youth Culture Constance A. Steinkuehler Abstract In this paper, I argue that massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) function as one novel form of a new third place for informal sociability. Based on data collected as part of an ongoing two-year virtual cognitive ethnography of the game Lineage (first I, now II), I outline how the features of MMOG digital worlds satisfy Oldenburg s (1999) defining criteria for the very sorts of third places real world America sorely lacks. Then, building on this characterization, I discuss why such games matter for educators and researchers interested in cognition and learning not only in digital communities but also in contemporary everyday life in the broadest sense. All play means something. Huizinga, J. (1949). In his recent book The Great Good Place, sociologist Ray Oldenburg (1999) makes the argument that American culture has lost many of its third places spaces for neither work nor home but rather informal social life. The essential group experience is being replaced by the exaggerated self-consciousness of individuals, Oldenburg argues. American life-styles, for all the material acquisition and the seeking after comforts and pleasures, are plagued by boredom, loneliness, alienation (p. 13). Recent national survey data corroborates this assertion, with television claiming more than half of American leisure time and only three-quarters of an hour per day on average spent socializing (Longley, 2004), either in the home or outside it. While editorialists such as Solomon (2004) bemoan the rise in electronic media such as videogames as torpid and urge American 135 Tidskrift för lärarutbildning och forskning, nr s Umeå: Fakultetsnämnden för lärarutbildning. Printed in Sweden public schools and society to encourage that great thrill of finding kinship in shared experiences of books, others scholars take a markedly different tack, arguing that online digital technologies such as the Internet (Hampton & Wellman, 2003) and MUDs (Bruckman & Resnick, 1995) are, in both form and function, new (albeit digitally mediated) informal social spaces themselves. The Web creates a Third Space, writes Stowe Boyd (2004), editor of the technology news column Get Real. People can meet and create those weak ties that make life a richer and more diverse place we can let off steam, argue about the local politics or sports, and make sense of the world. If this latter claim is true, then massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) may very well serve as the most compelling examples of digitally mediated third places to date. As Williams (forthcoming) insightfully points out, such games have kindled a deeply ambivalent attitude in American culture (for example, the media attention given the Internet based gaming habits of the perpetrators of the grizzly Columbine High School shootings), an attitude perhaps rooted in societal guilt over the mistreatment and neglect of American youth, one that again casts them as the source of problems (in this case, violence and crime) rather than the victims of those oft-ignored risk factors associated with them (e.g. abuse from relatives, neglect, poverty). Despite the ambivalence, however, the online gaming industry continues to boom with up to four million players worldwide regularly visiting make-believe lands to fight, hunt for treasure, or just sit their characters down for a chat (Meek, 2004). The MMOG Lineage (first I, then II), for example, boasts more than three million combined current subscribers (Woodcock, 2004) and, in the course of a year, Ultima Online devours more than one hundred and sixty million man-hours (Kolbert, 2001). With the average amount of weekly gameplay ranging from 12 to 21 hours and nearly 30 percent of MMOGamers spending their in-game time with beyond-game friends (Seay, Jerome, Lee, & Kraut, 2004), researchers and educators interested in the contemporary lives of adolescents not to mention adults, both young and old may find themselves in dire need of heeding Turkle s (1995) caveat: Some are tempted to think of life in cyberspace as insignificant, as escape or meaningless diversion. It is not. Our experiences there are serious play. We belittle them at our risk (pp ). In this paper, I argue that massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) do indeed function as one novel form of a new third place for infor- 136 mal sociability. Based on data collected as part of an ongoing two-year virtual cognitive ethnography of the game Lineage (first I, now II) (Steinkuehler, 2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c), I outline how the features of MMOG digital worlds satisfy Oldenburg s (1999) defining criteria for the very sorts of third places real world America sorely lacks. Then, building on this characterization, I discuss why such games matter for educators and researchers interested in cognition and learning not only in digital communities but also in contemporary everyday life in the broadest sense. Massively Multiplayer Online Games: The Case of Lineage Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are highly graphical 2- or 3-D videogames played online, allowing individuals, through their self-created digital characters or avatars, to interact not only with the gaming software the designed environment of the game and the computer-controlled characters within it but with other players avatars as well. Conceptually, they are part of the rich tradition of alternative worlds that science fiction and fantasy literature provide us (e.g. Tolkien s The Hobbit, 1938); technically, they are the evolutionary next-step in a long line of social games that runs from paper-and-pencil fantasy games (e.g., Gygax & Arneson s Dungeons & Dragons, 1973) to main-frame text-based multi-user dungeons (e.g. Trubshaw & Bartle s famous first MUD, 1978) through the first graphical massively multiplayer online environments (e.g., Andrew and Chris Kirmse s Meridian 59, 1996) to the now-common, high-end 3-D digital worlds of today (for a complete history, see Koster, 2002). The virtual worlds that today s MMOGamers routinely plug in and inhabit are persistent social and material worlds, loosely structured by open-ended (fantasy) narratives, where players are largely free to do as they please slay ogres, siege castles, craft a pair of gaiters, barter goods in town, or tame dragon hatchlings. They are notorious for their peculiar combination of designed escapist fantasy yet emergent social realism (Kolbert, 2001): in a setting of wizards and elves, dwarfs and knights, people save for homes, create basket indices of the trading market, build relationships of status and solidarity, and worry about crime. Lineage, the MMOG context of this research, is now in its second incarnation. Lineage I: The Blood Pledge was first released in Korea in After 3 years of domination in the Korean gaming sphere, it expanded to America to currently boast roughly 2.7 million global subscribers (Woodcock, 2004). Set in medieval times, 137 this 2-D game features not only the regular cast of fantasy characters (elves, knights, magicians) but also a royal cast of prince/esses, each claiming to be the legitimate heir to the throne and therefore forced to compete with one another to recruit other classes of characters into their clan or pledge as both protection and armed forces for castles siege. Its 3-D sequel, Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, released in Korea in November of 2003 and expanded to America in April of 2004, currently claims nearly 1.5 million concurrent subscriptions globally (Woodcock, 2004). Set 150 years earlier than Lineage I but situated in a similar virtual landscape, Lineage II captures the period of strife before any legitimate bloodline to the virtual throne has been established. Within the game, members of all races (human, orc, elf, dark elf, dwarf) and classes (fighter, crafter, mage, etc.) again join forces in the form of clans to compete for castle control in server-wide sieges and clan battles. In both incarnations, the Lineage clan system is tightly coupled to both the guiding narrative of the game and the virtual world s economic system, resulting in a complex social space of affiliations and disaffiliations, constructed largely out of shared (or disparate) social and material practices (Steinkuehler, 2004a). Methods Lineage constitutes a robust social and virtualmaterial world, one that warrants full investigation in its own right, much as a new country or culture in the tangible geographic world might. As an educational researcher, I am keenly interested in the intellectual substance of such virtual worlds: What do people learn through participation in such spaces? And how is it that this learning happens? Toward answering these questions, I am conducting a cognitive ethnography (Hutchins, 1995) of the game that incorporates both (a) traditional thick description (Geertz, 1973) ethnographic methods such as participatory observation, unstructured and semi-structured interviews with informants, and the collection and analysis of community documents (e.g. player-authored user manuals, fan sites, fan fiction, game-related discussion boards), and (b) strategic data collection and analysis methods borrowed from traditional distributed cognition studies (Steinkuehler, Black, & Clinton, in press) in order to better understand specific socially and materially distributed cognitive practices of interest. To date, this virtual cognitive ethnography has been conducted for a period of over 28 months. In what follows, I analyze Lineage as a third place for informal sociability, based on my participation in the daily life of the game and critical 138 reflection on my observations during this time in light of interviews and discussions with my informants. Lineage II as a Third Place In arguing for the value of third places, Oldenburg (1999) points to the particularly stifled circumstances of the American adolescent. Citing Sennett s (1973) dire conclusions on American homelife in the early seventies, Oldenburg makes the case that, if any population suffers most from America s automobile suburb life and leisure perverted into consumption (p.11), it is our middle class youth. Left behind in the suburbs while parents work, stifled in homes kept safely isolated from the novel, and regimented into frantic schedules to shroud the loneliness of suburban existence, the American adolescent, Oldenburg argues, is cut off from the necessary benefits of participation in third places. In so doing, Oldenburg succeeds in rebuking the problem (today s adolescents stifled daily circumstances) rather than the victim (the adolescents themselves); he fails, however, in unpacking the relationship between gadgetry and third places by conflating the Net-generation s use of technology with that of its parents: The home entertainment industry thrives in the dearth of the informal public life among the American middle class, Oldenburg (1999) argues. Demand for all manner of electronic gadgetry to substitute vicarious watching and listening for more direct involvement is high. (p. 12) This indictment of today s digital entertainment media as a substitution for informal public life and direct involvement fails to acknowledge the informal social spaces being constructed, inhabited, and maintained behind the home computer screen. Today s youth (and many adults) use online digital technologies as a way to, among other things, socialize. Providing interstitial spaces for social interaction and relationships beyond the workplace (or school) and home, virtual environments such as MMOGs function, by definition, as new (albeit digitally-mediated) third places much like the pubs, coffee shops, and other hangouts of old. A review of Oldenburg s (1999) own eight defining characteristics of third places, in the context of MMOGs, demonstrates. I. Neutral Ground. First and foremost, third places are neutral grounds where individuals are free to come and go as they please. As Sennett (1977) argues, people can be sociable only when they have some protection from each other (p. 311). Because MMOGs are played online, interaction within them is mediated by the game 139 world avatars. Few places beyond the web afford such anonymity, providing a safe haven beyond the reach of work and home that allows individuals to engage with others socially without the entangling obligations and repercussions that often accompany, for example, socializing with workplace peers. After all, in MMOGs, the player can always simply log off for the time being, start a new character entirely, or, if worse comes to worse, move to a wholly new game. Thus, MMOGs are digitally mediated, autonomous neutral grounds that allow interaction and engagement without the sorts of entanglements Oldenburg argues are deleterious to informal sociability. II. Leveler. Second and equally as important, third places are ones in which an individual s rank and status in the workplace or society at large are of no import (Oldenburg, 1999). Acceptance and participation is not contingent on any prerequisites, requirements, roles, duties, or proof of membership. On this issue, MMOGs are an excellent case in point. The only entry requirements for participation are the costs of purchasing and then subscribing to the game, typically running the gamer, if we ignore the computer hardware requirements, somewhere around USD50 (one-time retail purchase) plus a monthly expense around USD15. Such spaces are inclusive, serving to expand possibilities, whereas formal associations tend to narrow and restrict them (Oldenburg, 1999, p. 24). Emerging research on MMOGs suggests their similar function. Even within the lackluster social environment of Asherons Call II, sociologist Dmitri Williams (2004) found that playing MMOGs, which tended to displace television viewing as a primary leisure activity, generated positive social bridging effects of improving players real-world community outlook. His research findings, however, were mixed: In the language of social capital, game use appears to negatively impact local bonding, but not faraway bridging. This pattern supports the general Internet results... in which the Internet was shown to be a good facilitator for meeting new people, but not a good means of securing vital personal support. This game magnifies that general effect. (p. 239). Such mixed findings may stem from the nature of third places themselves. As Oldenburg (1999) argues, the golden circle drawn around the third place relegates not only rank and status beyond the purview of the third place but also one s personal problems and moodiness. In MMOGs, troubles-telling is often met with a playful response, tacitly signaling that such material is not fodder for in-game activity per 140 se, although the ways in which clans and other in-game social groups serve as informal emotional support networks for individuals who purportedly encounter real-world tragedy has been fodder for much discussion (for example, see Koster s (1998) famous A Story About a Tree and Spaight s (2003) expose of the feigned death on Salon.com). Consider the excerpt below taken from LineageII in which one gamer responds to another s conversation starter with complaints about recent ill health. 1 Liadon how are things coming along for you soul? Soul i think im gonna die Adeleide no dont die. death is bad Liadon If I were so mortally wounded that I thought I was going to die, logging on lin would be on the Liadon top ten list, but after calling 911 for sure Soul i feel like shit Liadon are you sick? Clan member Zara has logged into the game. Duncan hihi Zara Soul my nose is stuffy my ear hurts and my throt is really sore Duncan sorry man, that stinks Soul my gf [girlfriend] cousin kissed me and she had streped Adeleide well there u go. off to the doc[tor] with u Soul on monday Adeleide er... why u kissing ur GFs cousin? Liadon... did you just say you are dating your cousin? Duncan Thats an interesting story already Soul idk [i dont know] Soul it was weird Duncan It sounds weird. Liadon I heard about a porno like that once Zara i was 16 once Duncan Liadon lets please not even go there. :P [grin] Soul i wasnt kissing my gf cousin she kisses me on the cheek Zara so, for clarification Zara is this like gf/cousin Liadon ah... the plot thins Soul thats just wrong guys Zara hey i m not kissing my cousin s gf Liadon I thought it was his gf s cousin Soul i didnt tho Duncan My gf once kissed my cousi
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