Topological, semiotic & rhetorical scapesA framework for analysing mobile learning gamesRichard Sandford14.04.02011
Authoring location-based experiences¡    Mediascapes¡    Other similar tools       ×  Calvium – http://calvium.com/     ...
Location-based experiences¡    Digital overlay corresponding to physical location       ×  Bound more or less tightly dep...
Context in mobile learning¡    Not only physical surroundings¡    Intellectual environment       ×  Conceptual apparatus...
Common features of existing accounts¡    Focus on conversational elements of mobile learning       ×  (e.g. Sharples & Va...
Talking about mediascapes¡    Existing accounts don’t reflect qualities of mediascapes       ×  Need to move away from “r...
Social production of space¡    “Spatial turn” in social sciences (Thrift, 2006)       ×  Critical, post-structuralist app...
Formants of social space¡    Semiotic analysis               ¡    Phenomenological analysis       ×  Spatial practice   ...
Three dimensions¡    Topological scape¡    Semiotic scape¡    Rhetorical scape¡    All three operate simultaneously wh...
Topological scape¡    Extended world, considered without a perceiving subject¡    Concerned with materiality of location...
Semiotic scape¡    Same place with meaning & denotation¡    Human agents: consciousness and perception¡    Activity sha...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8364507@N06/4197524463/	  
Rhetorical scape¡    Recontextualising the user through mscape intervention       ×  New goals & purposes       ×  New re...
Analysing scapes¡    For each scape:       ×  How are locations represented?       ×  What identities are available to pa...
Singapore Zoo“You were caught by some poachers and had just made an escape. Youare heading home to the zoo now but at the ...
Singapore Zoo¡    Mediascape created by teachers to support Singapore primary      school biology lessons¡    Set in Sin...
Singapore Zoo             Topological   Semiotic     Rhetorical Locations   Habitats      Habitats     Habitats (where)   ...
Zoo analysis¡    Topological & semiotic scapes tightly coupled       ×  use dictates physical shape¡    Identities chang...
Savannah¡    Students take on role of lions in a virtual savannah mapped onto      playing field        ×  Sustain themse...
Savannah             Topological   Semiotic           Rhetorical Locations   Open space    Playing field      Savannah (di...
Savannah analysis¡    No continuity between semiotic & rhetorical scapes¡    Replacing rather than augmenting       ×  R...
Comparison                       Singapore Zoo   SavannahScape privileged       Semiotic        RhetoricalDegree of contin...
What does the framework give us?¡    Distinguish between design & implementation       ×  Assess what contributed to any ...
Thank youhttp://richardsandford.net/cal2011/richard@richardsandford.net
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games
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Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games

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Talk given at CAL 2011 in Manchester (http://www.cal-conference.elsevier.com/)

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Topological, semiotic and rhetorical scapes: a framework for analysing mobile learning games

  1. 1. Topological, semiotic & rhetorical scapesA framework for analysing mobile learning gamesRichard Sandford14.04.02011
  2. 2. Authoring location-based experiences¡  Mediascapes¡  Other similar tools ×  Calvium – http://calvium.com/ ×  7scenes – http://7scenes.com/ ×  Layar – http://layar.com/
  3. 3. Location-based experiences¡  Digital overlay corresponding to physical location ×  Bound more or less tightly depending on application¡  Audiovisual material associated with user’s location ×  Sounds and images in particular regions (“hotspots”)¡  Subject key – personal experience necessarily central¡  User context must be considered when developing content
  4. 4. Context in mobile learning¡  Not only physical surroundings¡  Intellectual environment ×  Conceptual apparatus, habits of mind etc.¡  History & expectations of learners¡  Relationships with others¡  Fluid, reciprocal, continuously reproduced¡  Familiar from broader sociocultural perspectives ×  (e.g. Dourish, 2004; Cole, 1996)
  5. 5. Common features of existing accounts¡  Focus on conversational elements of mobile learning ×  (e.g. Sharples & Vavoula, 2007; Laurillard, 2007; )¡  Physical location of learner less visible in theories derived from activity theory ×  (e.g. Winters, 2007; Taylor et al., 2006)¡  Binary distinction often made between “real” and “virtual” ×  (e.g. Klopfer & Squire, 2008; Roschelle & Pea, 2002)
  6. 6. Talking about mediascapes¡  Existing accounts don’t reflect qualities of mediascapes ×  Need to move away from “real/virtual” distinction ×  Need to be able to recognise essentially spatial nature of mediascapes ×  Need to remain consistent with established sociocultural notions of “context”¡  Room for a different approach
  7. 7. Social production of space¡  “Spatial turn” in social sciences (Thrift, 2006) ×  Critical, post-structuralist approaches employed by geographers ×  Concern with territory & materiality within social science¡  Space produced, performed, constructed through cultural practice¡  Drawing on (in particular) Lefebvre’s (1996) account
  8. 8. Formants of social space¡  Semiotic analysis ¡  Phenomenological analysis ×  Spatial practice ×  Perceived space ×  Representations of space ×  Conceived space ×  Spaces of representation ×  Lived space¡  Derived from system of language ×  Syntactic – formal, structured ways of connecting parts ×  Paradigmatic – substituting terms (metaphor) ×  Symbolic – connotation, ambiguity, images in meaning
  9. 9. Three dimensions¡  Topological scape¡  Semiotic scape¡  Rhetorical scape¡  All three operate simultaneously when experiencing a mediascape ×  Interrelated & fluid¡  Three ways of understanding the same space ×  Not exclusive
  10. 10. Topological scape¡  Extended world, considered without a perceiving subject¡  Concerned with materiality of location¡  Physical qualities & constraints ×  Where can be accessed? ×  Where cannot?
  11. 11. Semiotic scape¡  Same place with meaning & denotation¡  Human agents: consciousness and perception¡  Activity shaped by purpose¡  Purpose shaped by cultural understandings & expectations
  12. 12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8364507@N06/4197524463/  
  13. 13. Rhetorical scape¡  Recontextualising the user through mscape intervention ×  New goals & purposes ×  New reason to be in the same place¡  Chance to behave “as if”¡  No binary distinction between “real” or “virtual” identities ×  Character as character, user as character, user reflecting on role ×  Children’s play & pretence
  14. 14. Analysing scapes¡  For each scape: ×  How are locations represented? ×  What identities are available to participants? ×  What goals are offered? ×  Where? ×  Who? ×  Why?
  15. 15. Singapore Zoo“You were caught by some poachers and had just made an escape. Youare heading home to the zoo now but at the same time facing dangersof meeting your predators. Hence, you must avoid certain animals andtheir enclosures according to your diet. To avoid being preyed on, youneed to use your survival tool, the PDA, to strategise your safe return.The team which completes the most tasks and has avoided the mostpitfalls wins the game”
  16. 16. Singapore Zoo¡  Mediascape created by teachers to support Singapore primary school biology lessons¡  Set in Singapore Zoo¡  Students take on role of animals returning to their homes ×  Herbivores, carnivores or ominvores ×  Avoid being “eaten” (being in the wrong place) ×  Tasks to complete in hotspots
  17. 17. Singapore Zoo Topological Semiotic Rhetorical Locations Habitats Habitats Habitats (where) (‘theirs’) (‘ours’) Identity [bodies] Students Animals (who) Goals – Complete Avoid predators and (why) assignment return home
  18. 18. Zoo analysis¡  Topological & semiotic scapes tightly coupled ×  use dictates physical shape¡  Identities change in rhetorical scape¡  But logic of the zoo inescapable ×  continuity in location across scapes: hotspots match habitats¡  Not using mediascape technology to full extent ×  Could be replicated with worksheets ×  Little opportunity for a new set of social practices to emerge
  19. 19. Savannah¡  Students take on role of lions in a virtual savannah mapped onto playing field ×  Sustain themselves, respond appropriately to threats¡  Understand challenges of different terrain & capabilities of their lion pride¡  Facer et al. (2004) “Savannah: mobile gaming and learning?”: JCAL 20:6 pp. 399 – 409
  20. 20. Savannah Topological Semiotic Rhetorical Locations Open space Playing field Savannah (different (where) terrains) Identity [bodies] Students Lions (who) Goals – Test game (among Survive (claim new (why) other general territory, find food and student goals) water)
  21. 21. Savannah analysis¡  No continuity between semiotic & rhetorical scapes¡  Replacing rather than augmenting ×  Rich, systemic rhetorical scape: empty, simple semiotic scape¡  Complex goals demand agency exercised to greater degree ×  Reinforcing narrative identity¡  Acting as “learners” in semiotic & rhetorical scapes ×  Sole continuity across scapes
  22. 22. Comparison Singapore Zoo SavannahScape privileged Semiotic RhetoricalDegree of continuitybetween scapes wrt: Location High Low Identity Low Low Goals Low Low
  23. 23. What does the framework give us?¡  Distinguish between design & implementation ×  Assess what contributed to any positive outcomes¡  Articulate the relationship between space and narrative ×  Help designers reflect on influence of pre-existing conceptions¡  Permission to recognise more complex identities ×  Not simply “real” or “virtual”
  24. 24. Thank youhttp://richardsandford.net/cal2011/richard@richardsandford.net

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