Tracing Insider Knowledge Across Time and Spaces: A Connective Ethnography in a Teen Game World

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of the Seventh Conference of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning


C. Chinn, G. Erkins, and S. Puntambekar

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In this study our goal is to conduct a "connective ethnography" that focuses on how gaming expertise spreads across a network of youth at an after-school club that simultaneously participates in a multi-player virtual environment (MUVE). We draw on multiple sources of information: observations, interviews, video recordings, online tracking and chat data, and hundreds of hours of play in the virtual environment of Whyville ourselves. By focusing on one particular type of insider knowledge, called teleporting, we traced youth learning in a variety of online and offline social contexts, both from friends in the club and outside members of Whyville. We elaborate on the unplanned social events that served as instigators for peaks in learning activity and the methodological challenges underlying the synthesis of diverse types of data that allowed us to follow youth across multiple spaces and times.

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