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Unlocking Literacy through Virtual Worlds:
'Storying in and
around a
Minecraft Community'
Chris Bailey
Background
• Teacher / Minecraft Club leader
• Lunchtime / after-school club
• Extra-Curricular
• Child led
• 'Virtual Community'
• Examples from last three academic years
Context
• Minecraft
• New Literacy Studies (Street, 2003)
• Multiliteracies (Cope and Kalantzis,
2000)
• Virtual Worlds
• Hybrid sites (Burnett and Bailey,
2014)
Individualised Literacy
(collaboration mapped onto this)
Meaning-making in Minecraft/h
Literacies as communal processes
Book-based, paper-based Multiple modes/media
Individualised Fluctuating ownership/patterns of
relationships
Chunked time Different timescales
Fixed outcomes Provisionality
Bounded outcomes Intertextuality/extratextuality
Objective texts Invested texts
Stuff/Bodies/Emotions written out of
process
Stuff/Bodies/Emotions part of the
process
from Burnett and Bailey, 2014
"Environmental storytelling creates the
preconditions for an immersive narrative
experience in at least one of four ways:
• spatial stories can evoke pre-existing narrative
associations;
• they can provide a staging ground where
narrative events are enacted;
• they may embed narrative information within
their mise-en-scene;
• or they provide resources for emergent
narratives." – (Jenkins, 2009)
Bradborough...
‘… a community village in Minecraft. - Danielle
‘Bradborough, originated in late 2012, when Y6
decided to build a new and unique creation...’ - Mia
‘Bradborough is a
world built in
Minecraft. It is a very
good community
space and everyone
works together.’ -
Seren
‘… amazingly, we started off with
just a flat land and we have produced
this big community...’ – Abigail
‘Bradborough is a town
which is relentlessly
growing... where anyone
can build.' - Joseph
‘As you look around you can see strange but epic
buildings, with the luxury theatre and deluxe statues.
Or perhaps you would like to cast some weaponry or
armour at the forge?’ - Sam
'Bradborough, a place for a fresh start,
founded by Jebadire Aisakson in 1785 -
he slayed 500,000 spiders with a
bone...’ - Oliver
'Revenge is best served
hairy!'
Dramatic Mythologising
‘...the hotel is fabulous, it
is made entirely out of
gold… to get to your room
you can use the roller
coaster if you are afraid of
the lifts.’ - George
‘There are dogs that you can get as pets, forests
where you can go for a walk, and a farm to look at
animals.’ - Callum
‘The community is very friendly,
kind and helpful so if you get lost
or want to know what place to
go to simply ask a person who
lives there.’ - Amy
‘Bradborough the city of
extraordinary leisure,
comfort and fun.’ -
Cameron
‘Everyone loves
plays or movies but
what about
starring in one,
write your own
play-script and
play in it! All in the
new block theatre.’
- Isobel
'Mamma Mia'
'Localised
incidents'
'Micronarratives'
The horse funeral
(click for video)
The
Meaning of
the Spheres
The Tornado
(click for video)
PhD - 'Investigating the lived experience
of a children's virtual world after-school
club'
• Year long ethnographic study of Minecraft Club
• Exploring themes involving
engagement, identity,
digital play, place and
space
• Blog: www.mrchrisjbailey.co.uk
References
• Burnett, C. & Bailey, C. (2014). Conceptualising collaboration in hybrid
sites: Playing minecraft together and apart in a primary classroom. . In:
Burnett, C., Davies, J., Merchant, G. & J. Rowsell (ed.). New literacies
around the globe: Policy and pedagogy. . Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge.
• COPE, Bill, KALANTZIS, Mary and New London Group
(2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social
futures. New York, Routledge.
• Dixon, K. (2011) Literacy, Power and the Schooled Body. London:
Routledge
• Jenkins, H. (2009) Game Design as Narrative Architecture. In: First
Person. 118 - 130
• Street, Brian (2003). What's "new" in new literacy studies? critical
approaches to literacy in theory and practice. Current issues in
comparative education, 5 (2), 77-91.

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Unlocking Literacy Through Virtual Worlds: Storying in and around a Minecraft Community

  • 1. Unlocking Literacy through Virtual Worlds: 'Storying in and around a Minecraft Community' Chris Bailey
  • 2. Background • Teacher / Minecraft Club leader • Lunchtime / after-school club • Extra-Curricular • Child led • 'Virtual Community' • Examples from last three academic years
  • 3. Context • Minecraft • New Literacy Studies (Street, 2003) • Multiliteracies (Cope and Kalantzis, 2000) • Virtual Worlds • Hybrid sites (Burnett and Bailey, 2014)
  • 4. Individualised Literacy (collaboration mapped onto this) Meaning-making in Minecraft/h Literacies as communal processes Book-based, paper-based Multiple modes/media Individualised Fluctuating ownership/patterns of relationships Chunked time Different timescales Fixed outcomes Provisionality Bounded outcomes Intertextuality/extratextuality Objective texts Invested texts Stuff/Bodies/Emotions written out of process Stuff/Bodies/Emotions part of the process from Burnett and Bailey, 2014
  • 5. "Environmental storytelling creates the preconditions for an immersive narrative experience in at least one of four ways: • spatial stories can evoke pre-existing narrative associations; • they can provide a staging ground where narrative events are enacted; • they may embed narrative information within their mise-en-scene; • or they provide resources for emergent narratives." – (Jenkins, 2009)
  • 6.
  • 7. Bradborough... ‘… a community village in Minecraft. - Danielle ‘Bradborough, originated in late 2012, when Y6 decided to build a new and unique creation...’ - Mia
  • 8. ‘Bradborough is a world built in Minecraft. It is a very good community space and everyone works together.’ - Seren ‘… amazingly, we started off with just a flat land and we have produced this big community...’ – Abigail
  • 9. ‘Bradborough is a town which is relentlessly growing... where anyone can build.' - Joseph ‘As you look around you can see strange but epic buildings, with the luxury theatre and deluxe statues. Or perhaps you would like to cast some weaponry or armour at the forge?’ - Sam
  • 10. 'Bradborough, a place for a fresh start, founded by Jebadire Aisakson in 1785 - he slayed 500,000 spiders with a bone...’ - Oliver 'Revenge is best served hairy!' Dramatic Mythologising
  • 11. ‘...the hotel is fabulous, it is made entirely out of gold… to get to your room you can use the roller coaster if you are afraid of the lifts.’ - George ‘There are dogs that you can get as pets, forests where you can go for a walk, and a farm to look at animals.’ - Callum
  • 12. ‘The community is very friendly, kind and helpful so if you get lost or want to know what place to go to simply ask a person who lives there.’ - Amy ‘Bradborough the city of extraordinary leisure, comfort and fun.’ - Cameron
  • 13. ‘Everyone loves plays or movies but what about starring in one, write your own play-script and play in it! All in the new block theatre.’ - Isobel 'Mamma Mia'
  • 16.
  • 18.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22. PhD - 'Investigating the lived experience of a children's virtual world after-school club' • Year long ethnographic study of Minecraft Club • Exploring themes involving engagement, identity, digital play, place and space • Blog: www.mrchrisjbailey.co.uk
  • 23. References • Burnett, C. & Bailey, C. (2014). Conceptualising collaboration in hybrid sites: Playing minecraft together and apart in a primary classroom. . In: Burnett, C., Davies, J., Merchant, G. & J. Rowsell (ed.). New literacies around the globe: Policy and pedagogy. . Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge. • COPE, Bill, KALANTZIS, Mary and New London Group (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures. New York, Routledge. • Dixon, K. (2011) Literacy, Power and the Schooled Body. London: Routledge • Jenkins, H. (2009) Game Design as Narrative Architecture. In: First Person. 118 - 130 • Street, Brian (2003). What's "new" in new literacy studies? critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice. Current issues in comparative education, 5 (2), 77-91.