I’m reading back over my blog posts from the start of this unit, and taking a fresh look at some of the things covered. Hopefully I’ll get some inspiration for an essay topic as well as reviewing the range of themes that we looked at in detail.
In my first post in week 1, we were feeling around for a definition of culture- I quoted from Wikipedia that some definitions were ‘the set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practises that characterize an institution, organization or group’ and ‘an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behaviour that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning’. These would serve as perfect definitions for cyberspace/the internet itself, which is a manifestation of the behaviour of a group- a group which uses technology to mediate communication. And this ‘culture’ is like the petri-dish kind, one that just grows! And as there are so many definitions for culture, I think it’s a lot easier to look at it from the other side and define something as being culture, instead of defining the word culture itself.
I attended the Ascilite conference this week, where one of the dominant themes was virtual worlds, where there is some interesting work being done. One presentation that I really liked was from Russell Fewster & Denise Wood from South Australia who are doing work with drama students in Second Life. Their presentation demonstrated some of their work- students are interacting with the virtual world as it is projected onto a screen (done so very cleverly with lighting effects so that the real blends with the virtual)- so the avatar is being controlled by someone, and the students then interact and ‘act’ with the projection- ‘intermediality’ is the term that they used. Obviously the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can create in SL, and therefore the scenarios the students get to act out. Some of the topics that we’ve covered sprung to mind during the presentation- the real vs. the virtual, distributed cognition etc., but this offered a new slant I thought as visually the real and virtual were interacting before your eyes, and were one.