ABC Gippsland Radio Interview

This morning I was interviewed on ABC Gippsland Radio about Digital Literacy and Digital Fiction. This was a result of the following Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper article about my conference talk at AATE last week:

Here is the interview:

And this was the flyer from my presentation:

New Literacies, Digital Media and Classroom Teaching Conference

I am convening a conference on September 3 and 4 which I am very excited about – click below for the conference flyer.


UPDATE: Here is a tv news spot about our conference:

and here is some assorted media coverage from the conference:

New Literacies conference media

Juliet’s Tweet Sorrow

The Royal Shakespeare Company just produced a new production of Romeo and Juliet… over twitter. It consisted of 4000 tweets over a period of several weeks. I have enjoyed going through the archives and piecing together this version, but wish I’d managed to see it all playing out in real time. I think it is a clever adaptation – fresh, cross-media (tweets, youtube videos, images) – yet it still retains a kind of beauty and poetic nature, with smatterings of the original thrown in, such as:

julietcap16 My wrists be the first to receive the deep red, yet pleasurably painless tattooed pattern from which the water of my veins be purged.

Juliet also had several videos on a youtube channel. In this adaptation Juliet was a wannabe song writer. Here is her song dedicated to romeo and his tweets:

Songwriting is another form of the poetic. I also really enjoyed viewing the images and captions, which were haunting and poignant in the way they captured a young girl’s thoughts and dreams:

One of my former honours students (in 2006 I think it was), did a study of text messaging and literacy and found that many English teachers were using text messages creatively in their classrooms, to explore literature, poetry, writing, and communication.

I really liked an article by David Crystal about the poetics of text messages (and I am making this connection because twitter is also about brevity and containment of a message within 140 characters):

The length constraint in text-poetry fosters economy of expression in much the same way as other tightly constrained forms of poetry do, such as the haiku or the Welsh englyn. To say a poem must be written within 160 characters at first seems just as pointless as to say that a poem must be written in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. But put such a discipline into the hands of a master, and the result can be poetic magic. Of course, SMS poetry has some way to go before it can match the haiku tradition; but then, haikus have had a head-start of several hundred years.

Crystal goes on further to claim the following:

An extraordinary number of doom-laden prophecies have been made about the supposed linguistic evils unleashed by texting. Sadly, its creative potential has been virtually ignored. But five years of research has at last begun to dispel the myths. The most important finding is that texting does not erode children’s ability to read and write. On the contrary, literacy improves. The latest studies (from a team at Coventry University) have found strong positive links between the use of text language and the skills underlying success in standard English in pre-teenage children. The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the most textisms. And the younger they received their first phone, the higher their scores.

So, I’m all for texting and tweeting in creative ways – and I’d like to see more use of it in classroom contexts.

For further information see:

  • Such Tweet Sorrow (Mudlark and the Royal Shakespeare Company website)
  • Romeo and Juliet get twitter makeover (The Telegraph)
  • Romeo Tweets Juliet (NspireD2)
  • Romeo and Juliet get Twitter Treatment (The Guardian)

Scrabble: the Beautiful Word

I missed this! Mattel created a really clever campaign to update Scrabble. From the art director on the campaign:

“Everybody knows Scrabble, it’s one of those iconic games, and over time it became maybe, in a way, a little bit old fashioned, so we wanted to get people, especially young people, to be more interested in the game. We wanted to do something very visual, and very self-explanatory, kind of bringing the words to life, and make them as fun as possible, so that’s where the ‘the Beautiful Word’ came from.”

Here are the ads that ran for “the Beautiful Word” campaign:

You can read all about the campaign on my new favourite website, Jawbone TV.

Sufferrosa: a non-linear interactive web based film

Have you watched Sufferrosa yet? From the site:

Sufferrosa is a non-linear, interactive web-based movie made by Dawid Marcinkowski (screenwriter, director, editor and designer) with help from an international group of filmmakers, musicians and artists. It is an experimental storytelling project combining cinema and the web. Sufferrosa is a homage to Jean Luc Godard’s movie ‘Alphaville’ (1965), W.J.Has’s cult-movie ’Manuscript found in Saragossa’, American film noir and the French writer Vernon Sullivan. The movie is a NON-COMMERCIAL artistic project. Sufferrosa is a satire of cult of beauty and youthin the present-day world. Do you remember the film ‘Logan’s Run’ (1976), where everybody who is older than 30 gets exterminated? Probably our generation is not endangered by such experiments. But there is a chance that, in 40 years time we will all have transformed into frustrated woopies (Well-Off Older People) who spend their life savings on plastic surgery. And when it happens that the scalpel is not enough, we will probably head directly to the clinic of Carlos von Braun. As Mae West once said ”You are never too old to become younger”.

I found this discussed at Jawbone TV – “The good, the bad, and the bad-ass of story in the digital age”.

Technology in Teaching: A Podcast with Chris Best and Angela Thomas


Hello there! Whilst in London, I spent an afternoon with Chris Best (a former student of mine who has been teaching there ever since he graduated, and who now produces a series of podcasts about technology in teaching). We did a podcast – quite informally – about what was happening in my world and why I was in London and the like. Here is a link to go to the podcast: I am “Episode 18″. Chris and I giggled a little as we were working out how to do the podcast, but we eventually settled down and discussed the state of our respective contexts and how our work needs to develop as teachers to account for new social and discursive practices of online communities.  Let me know if you have questions or comments!

“Chaos is a friend of mine” (Dylan)

Check out this workshop on social media! I like the interactive exercises embedded in it – like the “let’s make a virus” activity. I’ll be trying that some time, it’s very funny!

(I’ve been back from the UK and speaking and workshopping and podcasting and school visiting now for a few weeks but landed right back into another busy semester – hopefully regular blogging will resume soon)

The Remix as Transformative Storytelling

I’ve spoken a lot in my work before about fan fiction and the potential it has for transformative, subversive social and political commentary on narrative discourse and ‘D’iscourse. Above is a remix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight (with a little bit of Harry Potter thrown in for good measure) used to “hack” pop culture and make various tropes and discourses transparent. The creator explains:

In this remixed narrative, Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s an example of transformative storytelling serving as a visual critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy’s eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

I think this is very clever and I’m keen to use it with my students to illustrate aspects of digital culture and transformative works.

The Good, The Bad and the Wiki: Wikis in Classrooms

Here are two articles about the use of wikis in education:

I had been using blogs for several years until last year when i went a bit wiki crazy and everything was all about the wiki. I am quite liking nings too but haven’t ever used those yet with a group. I need to give the wiki more robust experimentation as I don’t think I am getting the most of them yet. So semester 2 students, you’d best learn all you can about wikis in advance because we’ll be using them!

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

I have more digital fiction and multimedia authoring classes coming up so I’ve been playing some more with xtranormal – it seems one of the simplest 3D storytelling / video making tools around – the most effect for the least effort! The choices are limited for free accounts, and I’m not sure how much modding is possible, but for a simple introduction to 3D multimedia storytelling, film techniques, and so on, I’d definitely recommend this as a nice easy starting point.

Notebook Stop Motion Animation

I accumulated hundreds of stop motion animation examples during my research about DIY Stop motion trends, practices and literacies. I couldn’t use all of them (as it was I think my 20 screenshots might have been overdoing it for the publishers), but here is one of my favourites on youtube from a recently graduated arts student from the Netherlands who has won a ton of awards for her work – watch and you’ll see why!

Proposing A Machinima Canon

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was being interviewed (by William) for the journal Transformative Works and Cultures. I was hunting through previous interviews to understand the expectations and genre for an interviewee when I came across a great interview with Paul Marino about Machinima. I liked the discussion of gender in particular. The last part of the interview is Paul outlining what he proposes a potential machinima canon, where he offers 6 examples that showcase historical and technically diverse films. One of them is the Snow Witch (2007).

This Japanese ghost story is adapted from Hearn’s “Yuki-Onna” (Kwaidan)

This one uses a known story and adapts it to machinima form.

Another of his 6 examples is The Photographer (2006).

A lone photographer is searching for his subject through the crowded city. Filmmaker Friedrich Kirschner mixes various media elements in his machinima, thus emphasizing that the medium not only can be devoid of game assets but also can break free of its commonly known framework.

I love this one because of its artistry, and because you don’t need to be an insider of the gaming culture to appreciate it.

Yet there are some Second Life machinima which I think I appreciate most of all (which don’t make Marino’s canon suggestions) precisely because I am an insider and I “get” the pathos or the humour at a much deeper level. Robbie Dingo’s Better Life (2006) is one I cite all the time:

and of course, I always mention the one in which I was the leading lady, Lip Flap (2006):

Lip Flap has had almost 10,000 views, The Snow Witch has had about 60,000, and Better Life has had about 80,000. Nothing really in comparison to the other machinima I quote a lot which has had over 1.6 million views (!), the first episode of Red vs Blue (2003):

What machinimas would you add to a proposed machinima canon?

Stop Motion Animation

I’ve been a huge fan of stop motion animation since I was little and didn’t even know what it was called – do you remember seeing the operatic orange on Sesame Street?

Later when I took photography as an optional course at University I worked with a friend and classmate to make two stop motion movies. One was a melodramatic soap opera of a banana sacrificing itself to become a banana smoothie and the other was using the giant chess pieces in a local park to create a love / war film noir-ish drama (just imagine the image below coming to life!). If only we’d had the resources and technology and sharing opportunities then that are available today!


I’ve been doing research on DIY / amateur / classroom practices around stop motion animation for a book chapter and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering all sorts of talented people (even 3 year olds!) participating and sharing their work. Some of the latest trends are amazing, awe-inspiring, exciting, and very clever. You’ll have to stay tuned for the publication details but here is a sneak preview of one I found just plain funny:

HUMlab Talk/Tour Video


Today I gave a tour of Macbeth for the HUMlab in Sweden! Click here if you’d like to view the video stream of the tour. It goes for about an hour. It was a bit of an experiment for us to do the live streaming, but it mostly worked well, except an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in which I lost my hair! Thanks to Jim Barrett for the invitation to speak and for doing all the camera work.

Transformative Works and Cultures

I am going to be interviewed for the Transformative Works and Cultures journal by William P Wend!  It’s a fun process. The journal claims that: “Interviews  - showcases interviews with interesting people in academia, media industry, or fandom”, so its an honour to fall into that category. Stay tuned, and thanks for the invite William!

Achariya Reviews Macbeth


Thanks to Achariya, there’s a lovely post about Macbeth on Rezzable that offers a thoughtful and favourable review of Macbeth (whilst at the same time blending in a fashion shoot and links to commercial vendors for clothing and avatar items). Here are my favourite quotes from her review:

The sim transported me into a world that went beyond a stage play and into the text itself, sending me alone into an imagined Macbeth, pacing through the fields, approaching the castle on the cliff…

I found myself thinking about Macbeth in a much more creative and visceral way after watching it grow around me in sound and vision — a clear reminder that plays are not static texts to be read, but springboards for the imagination.

Thank you so much Achariya! If you haven’t seen Achariya’s fashion blog, it’s definitely worth a look – she cleverly blends in theories about identity, literacy, the body and digital culture to her fashion discussions.

From Moleskin to Sim

From Moleskin to Sim

Now that the new sims are here, I’ve been working with Larry and co at the NMC to map out my part of the space. I sent the build team a detailed 20 page brief for one section (the literary role-playing area) and a 10 page brief for another section (the central University meeting point and gathering area)! Phew!

Yesterday I drew a rough map of the literary space into my moleskin and today I woke up to see it had been converted into a giant prim to map out the land! It was completely surreal to walk around in my own drawing. You might be able to tell from the drawing that my mapping and drawing skills leave a bit to be desired – Larry asked me what the cute little deer was and I had to explain that it was Cerberus, the vicious hound from hell!! Pffft ;)


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