Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

MERCHANT, G. H. (2010). 3D virtual worlds as environments for literacy learning. Educational research, 52 (2), 135-150.

Although much has been written about the ways in which new technology might transform educational practice, particularly in the area of literacy learning, there is relatively little empirical work that explores the possibilities and problems – or even what such a transformation might look like in the classroom. 3D virtual worlds offer a range of opportunities for children to use digital literacies in school, and suggest one way in which we might explore changing literacy practices in a playful, yet meaningful context. From a Foucauldian perspective, the article suggests that social control of pedagogical practice through the regulation of curriculum time, the normalisation of teaching routines and the regimes of individual assessment restricts teachers‟ and pupils‟ conceptions of what constitutes literacy. The counternarrative, found in recent work in new litearcies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006) provides an attractive alternative, but a movement in this direction requires a fundamental shift of emphasis and a re- conceptualisation of what counts as learning.

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