Knowing and Throwing Mudballs, Hearts, Pies, and Flowers: A Connective Ethnography of Gaming Practices

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference of the Learning Sciences


V. Jonker, A. Lazonder, & C. Hoadley

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First Page


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Little is known concerning how young players learn to participate in various activities in virtual worlds. We use a new integrative approach called connective ethnography that focuses on how a gaming practice spread across a network of youth at an after school club that simultaneously participated in a virtual world, To trace youth participation in online and offline social contexts, we draw on multiple sources of information: observations, interviews, videos, online tracking and chat data, and hundreds of hours of play in Whyville ourselves. One gaming practice — the throwing of projectiles and its social uses and nuances — became the focal point of our analyses. The discussions address the methodological challenges underlying the synthesis of diverse types of data that allowed us to follow youth across multiple spaces as well as initial insights into how this practice was used to negotiate relationships in multiple spaces through play.

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