by T. Kennedy
The American Sociology Association Conference kick off time is only hours away - and the Communication & Information Technology Section of the ASA (CITASA) Mini-Conference 3.0 is almost here.
This year we are having our Mini-Conference in the virtual world - Second Life - and this years Conference Title is "Web 2.0 and Beyond: The Sociological Significance of Virtual Worlds Supplanting Cyberspace"
We have a great line up of presenters who will share their research and we will discuss what Web 2.0 - 3.0 means to us as Sociologists in the ICT field and the interdisciplinary aspects of this area of study.
Whether you are enroute to NYC and attending the ASA in person or not - please join us in Second Life for the Mini-Conference on Sunday, August 12th 2pm (PDT/SLT) or 5pm (EDT). We will have voice enabled presentations (so bring your headset/mic to NYC), complimented with Powerpoint Slides (these will posted to Slideshare after the conference).
(Program is posted now)
For those of you (and your avatars) who plan to attend the CITASA MC 3.0 in SL - please send me your name and your Second Life avatar's name so we can put you on the Guest List. We have T-Shirts for your avatar and a gift bag of goodies, including a tech-treat from Telus - and of course stimulating conversations!
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Second Life - Professor Tracy
Web 2.0 and Beyond: The Sociological Significance of Virtual Worlds Supplanting Cyberspace Event: CITASA third Mini-Conference to be held in the Metaverse – Second Life
Date of Event: Sunday, August 12th, 2007
Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm (EDT) 2-5pm (SLT/PDT)
Location Details: The GNWC Virtual Centre for Digital Media in Second Life
University Project (150, 84, 23)
Timetable & Session Details
2:00 pm (PDT/SLT) 5:00pm (EDT):
Jim Witte - Clemson University & CITASA Chair
2:15 -2:50 pm (PDT/SLT) 5:15 -5:50 pm (EDT):
Session 1: Social Networking Sites
Queen's University - Kingston, Ontario
"Social Networking Sites: A Surveillance Studies Primer"
In recognizing social networking sites as sites of sociological concern, this presentation will offer a surveillance studies perspective to this topic. Using Facebook as a case study, a review of key surveillance material as well as preliminary findings will underscore directions for future research. In particular, the popularized and controversial practice of 'Facebook stalking' will serve to illustrate how lateral (or peer-to-peer) surveillance not only supplements, but may also amplify conventional forms of monitoring.
1) Can practices such as deception or dissimulation on social networking sites be regarded as ways of resisting surveillance?
2) What kind of connections does Facebook enable between peer-based forms of surveillance, and practices such as employee screening?
University of Ottawa - Ottawa, Ontario
"Exposed Edges and Tighter Nodes: A Suggested Social Networking Hypothesis For Web 2.0 As Seen Through A User Of Facebook A Web 2.0 Social Networking Site".
The author explores previous studies of social networking by pioneers such as Barry Wellman to develop a hypothesis for further empirical studies of the networking properties of websites such as Facebook. It seems to the author, that there is more privacy exposure between persons, and at the same time these same persons are brought closer together by networking on Facebook. Thus edges between nodes in this network structure are exposed revealing these edges to other nodes, while nodes themselves potentially learn more about each other as nodes only not just as edges. It is hoped that this hypothesis and other various hypotheses will help either social network analysts, or those who will be data mining websites such as Facebook, to understand the implications of a network's social structure. Legal and ethical considerations resulting from these hypotheses will also be considered in this presentation.
2:55 – 3:30 pm (PDT/SLT) 5:55 – 6:30 (EDT):
Session 2: Videogames & Gaming
Communities & Technologies Research Group, Microsoft – Redmond, Washington
"Women's Online Gaming Communities: Don't Hate the Game, Hate the Players"
Pervasive stereotypes such as 'women don't game', 'women don't know how to game' and 'women don't play violent videogames' have long saturated the media as an explanation of why there are not more women gaming. The purpose of this presentation is to address these stereotypes and examine the online gaming experiences of women in Xbox Live that may explain why women appear absent in online gaming spaces. Using data from the GamerchiX Forum, I will discuss issues of harassment that women experience, and how the GamerchiX community (consisting of 2700 female gamers) offers different types of social support to address and overcome these negative gaming experiences, and how GamerchiX creates a safe, secure and encouraging community of female gamers. Moreover, I will explore the role GamerchiX plays in the lives of these women outside of gaming, which often encompass forum discussions that are not related to gaming at all, face-to-face meetings and associations in such spaces as Facebook.
The University of Western Ontario - London, Ontario
"Disabilities and Gaming Environments"
Children are encouraged to start playing sports from a young age as competition help build confidence, social skills and physical ability. For a child with a physical disability, there are few opportunities to play
competitive sport, as children are often not strong enough to physically compete or the sport is simply too dangerous, forcing many individuals to begin playing adapted sports with other disabled athletes. Recently, a new solution has emerged that is rarely considered as a source of competitive sporting; video games. For years, computer/console systems have given users the opportunity to take control of computer-generated avatars, the virtual bodies used to interact and manipulate synthetic worlds, and play out excited simulated experiences from the comfort of their own homes. With faster Internet speeds, individuals who play video games are now capable of competing in synthetic worlds with friends across the Internet or on Local Area Networks, leading to the manifestation of competitive leagues like the Cyberathlete Professional League. Online video games, like Counter-Strike, offer youth with disabilities a viable solution to transcend their physical limitations to gain important social skills that most children develop through physically competitive sports, but in a safe and integrated digital environment. This paper considers the possibility of video games as legitimate substitutes for, or complements to, sports currently available to the so-called "disabled" and the benefits of these synthetic experiences.
3:35 – 4:35pm (PDT/SLT) 6:35 – 7:35 (EDT):
Session 3: Virtual Worlds
Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland
"The Potential for Digital Field Assignments in Second Life"
Digital field assignments are course activities in which students collect and analyze data from the field using digital technologies. However, what happens when the field is a virtual, 3-D environment? This presentation will explore the possibility of using Second Life to conduct course research assignments. Case studies being explored at Johns Hopkins and other institutions will be described.
1) What is the value of teaching qualitative research skills in Second Life instead of the Real Life?
2) What are students' perspectives on using Second Life as a situated learning experience?
3) How does identity formation operate in Second Life (and how does it transfer to Real Life)?
North Harris College – Houston, Texas
"A Scanner Darkly: the death of authenticity under conditions of media-saturation"
A Scanner Darkly, the movie, is a cartoon created by filming live actors and then drawing over them. This is not a new technique. Snow White was Gene Tierney. Bela Lugosi was the Devil in the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia. I will use Philip K. Dick's fiction and the popular films based on those fictions as a template for reading the motives behind mass migration into SL in quest of escape from limitations imposed on the identities such migrants can perform with validation in RL. I will focus on the idea of virtual space as rehearsal space for identities which, while initially constructed in virtual spaces and initially only possible to construct based on virtual resources, might, after construction, migrate into RL. This potential for identities to form in virtual worlds and then migrate to RL renders ambiguous the distinction between role-play and identity, between lives and representations of life, to the point of making the value of the distinction itself dubious.
The University of Texas - Austin, Texas
Co-Presenter: Joe Sanchez
The University of Texas - Austin, Texas
"The Educators Coop Experience in Second Life"
This presentation discusses the pedagogical value of the teaching and research experience in Second Life based on one case: the Educators Coop Experience in Second Life (SL). The goal of the Educators Coop Residential Community is to provide educators and researchers with a unique residential environment from which to begin exploring, collaborating, teaching, and conducting research more easily and seamlessly. The coop in SL is designed to cultivate new cross-disciplinary relationships and collaborations. Residents are also participants in research exploring the emergence of this kind of experimental SL residential community.
Effective communication requires developing skillful mental flexibility and an understanding of diverse communities of practice, their underlying worldviews, and their material artifacts, including technology and virtual space in particular. In SL, residents can quickly access and interact with educators and researchers from multiple disciplines and countries, without traveling. As Latour noted, "[I]f you want to understand what draws things together, then look at what draws things together" (60; original emphasis). The SL sim "draws things together" in powerful new ways, and its convergence of mediated forms of social interaction offers opportunities for enhanced collaboration in the construction of new knowledge. The ways we are trained to think, talk, read, and write about knowledge are behaviors that affect the kinds of knowledge we construct. Ways of thinking about how knowledge emerges enhances students' ways of thinking about their own disciplines. This presentation poses the question around which the Second Life community is centered: "Are you ready to imagine knowledge differently?" (Fox, 136).
Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Geomatics - Université Laval
"Embodiment, Identity and Presence in Second Life – New Wine or New Bottles?"
Nick Yee has written "our insistence on embodiment in virtual environments structures social interactions in these worlds in ways that we may not consciously be aware of… this implies that virtual worlds may be useful platforms for studying things even as visceral as the rules of physical interaction". Identity has been defined as the set of strategies, beliefs, values and representations that are organized for the survival of the entity concerned (Dornic and Edwards, 2007). Presence has a variety of meanings, but here I am concerned with the sense of someone being present, even though their actual physical body may be absent. These three concepts are interdependent on each other, and each of them manifests within the world of Second Life.
Within the field of education, a form of learning called "transformative learning" has gained interest. Ashe et al. (2005) have stated that "transformative learning involves a change in personal feelings, beliefs, and values known as meaning perspectives". This concept of meaning perspectives, introduced by Mezirow in 1990, is very close to current definitions of identity – indeed, the transformation of meaning perspectives
seems to involve change in personal identity. It is proposed that the concept of transformative learning provides a framework for understanding how our conceptualizations of the self, our bodies and our interaction with others are changed in Second Life. The process of transformation ensures that what emerges is, indeed, new wine not just "old wine in new bottles". Within Second Life, identity is multiple, body is performative and presence is determined by the quality of our interactions with others. These ideas are illustrated by drawing on work with scientist and artist collaborators within Second Life.
Great Northern Way Campus – Vancouver, BC
Co-Author: Tracy Kennedy
Communities & Technologies Research Group, Microsoft – Redmond, Washington
"Participatory Pedagogy: Challenging 'Real Life' Practices of Educational Institutions in Virtual Worlds"
This presentation discusses virtual spaces as participatory pedagogy in which student learning is formulated through exploration, reflection and collaboration (Hobbs et al 2006) both individually and as a group. Importantly, we argue that virtual environments such as Second Life have shown educators that we need to rethink existing learning strategies and enhance them with innovative tools that encourage creative thinking and promote technical skills that foster communities of knowledge and practice.
1) How can virtual worlds effectively challenge the ways we sociologically frame education and educational practices?
2) What are some of the obstacles educators face when converging real life and virtual worlds into their pedagogical style, and in the classroom?
4:40 – 4:55 (PDT/SLT) 7:40 – 7:55 (EDT):
Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins
Ball State University - Muncie, IN
5:00pm (PDT/SLT) 8:00pm (EDT):
Participants and Presenters are welcome to stay and discuss their interests further at the conclusion of the presentations.