Tutorial responces can be found at the end of the page.
Thankyou.

New Lit assignment 1

Fanfiction


The desire to remain emersed in a well loved novel, film or other fantasy world is not altogether unfamiliar to readers and viewers the world over. From the phenomenon that is “Harry Potter” to the currently touring stage play “Wicked”, adapted from a book based on characters from the classic “The Wizard of Oz”, to the childhood emulation and play acting of ‘Superman’, ‘Spiderman’, ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Dora the explorer.’ No the concept of immersing one self in a much loved story, character or plotline is not unfamiliar. What is only recently occurring to the educational community at large is the potential value of this experience in terms of literacy.

Fanfiction, sometimes referred to as Fan Fic is in essence, creative writing that uses as its basis the characters, settings, histories and/or inventions of another individual and then adapts, extends or manipulates these to create alternate or new events and storylines. These writings may stay true to cannon, meaning the original works, or they may use only a small section of the original premise and then manipulate or even completely change characters, events and plot points. Within the world of fanfiction it is permissible in some circles to adopt the belief that anything goes providing you acknowledge that the premise and character are the intellectual property of the original author or creator.

There is still much to be learned within this field. The origin of fanfiction has been greatly debated. Some assert its origins are traced back over several centeries to people who took to telling unautorised sequals of classic litterary works. Others assert it steams from the fan magazines of the yerly 1930’s and was brought further into popular culture with the great success of sciencefiction programs such as ‘Star Treck’ and the subsequent explosion of fanfiction that followed.

Today there are a developing range of both accademic and popular media references based around this medium, some of which are included below.


Accademic Literature:

Black, R. (Oct 2005). Access and affiliation: The literacy and composition practices of English language learners in online fanfiction communities. Journal of adolescent and adult literacy. Newark 49 (2) p118-129

Black examines the use of online fanfiction in the area of second language learning communities. The observations discussed here have great transferability across to most educational settings. This includes the suggestion that the experimentation with identity and the development of writing skills within a less rigidly academic setting will facilitate learner confidence and bolster engagement with the text. Furthermore Black mentions the value of the role intertexuality plays in the writing process and the necessary practices.


Black, R. (2006). Language, culture, and identity in online fanfiction. E-Learning. 3 (2).

In this article Black examines the use of fanfiction within an English language learning context. She asserts that within a standard classroom setting the teacher is privileged as expert and students are at a deficit, especially those to whom English is not their first language. Conversely within the realms of fanfiction authors are not expected to adhere to a set style or identity and are as such freer in their expression. This argument translates into many classroom contexts and supports the idea that fanfiction can be a valid and valued form of literacy.


Chandler-Olcott, K. and Mahar, D. (Apr 2003). Adolescents’ anime-inspired ‘fanfictions’: An exploration of multiliteracies. Journal of adolescent and adult literacy. Newark 46 (7)

Chandler-Olcott & Mahar examine the function and value of fanfiction especially as it relates to the field of anime. Here there is no recommendation to teach the genre of fanfiction however there is an acknowledgement of the value of allowing students to engage with a literacy source by which they are both empowered with knowledge and impassioned. Chandler-Olcott & Mahar caution that teachers do not strip the medium of its engagement by tarnishing the experience with laborious analysis. It is suggested that there is a value and a place for fanfiction in the classroom and a value to including it as a part of an overall learning plan.

Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (2006). New literacies. London, Open Press.

Lankshear & Knobel provide an informative and comprehensive text which examines several emergent and developing literacies. Chapter four of the text is particularly informative as it provides a brief and comprehensive definition, description and history of fanfiction. Lankshear & Knobel also provide commentary on some techniques and trends within fanfiction writing as well as some practical anecdotal data based on studies or interviews with users. Finally it is stated that the ‘review’ facilities available with online fanfiction, namely the ability of a reader to respond with praise or constructive critique to a fanfiction once it is posted online, is highly valued by many users as well as being useful to the development of an authors writing style.

MacDonald, M. (Jan-Feb 2006). Harry Potter and the fanfiction phenomenon. The gay and lesbian review worldwide.

MacDonald writes on the subject of fanfiction as it relates to a specific sub genre within the area of ‘Harry Potter’. Focusing on the ever growing demographic of ‘slash’ fiction with are stories based around same sex romances shared between characters, these are almost never cannon based however enjoy great popularity. MacDonald discusses the different character pairings and possible motivations for these based around themes and contexts held within cannon.

Scodari, C and Felder, J. (Fall 2000). Creating a pocket universe: “shippers” fanfiction and the x-files online. Communication studies. 51 (3).

Scodari discusses the development within fan culture and as such fanfiction where writers and readers of fanfiction cultivate a romantic relationship between the two protagonists from the television series ‘The X-Files’. The argument put forward is linguistically dense and as such is not set to be easily accessible to those who do not have a background in communication studies or a similar field. However the main argument appears to centre on the proliferation of ‘resistive reading’. Basically the ability of fans to selectively seek and cultivate support for the story lines they wish would appear weather they are intended by the original creator or not.

Steinkuehler, C., Black, R. and Clinton, K. (Jan-Mar 2005). Researching literacy as tool, place and way of being. Reading research quarterly. 40 (1)

Steinkuehler examines the development of technology and the resulting effects this may have on literary practices. It is suggested that as a result of technological developments including fanfiction, the literary landscape is changing, allowing the process to be more interactive and allow users to make their own meaning. This development, it is argued, may change what it means to be literate.

Thomas, A. (2006). Fanfiction online: Engagement, critical response and affective play through writing. Australian journal of language and literacy. 29 (3)

Within this article Thomas examines the origins of fanfiction as well as the different literary styles employed in the creation of fanfiction in its many forms. The article explores the language techniques as well as the discourse operating with fan forums. For the purpose of the article much of the research is centred around a particular community ‘Middle Earth Insanity’. Where users can find role playing games, fanfiction, forums and other collaborative enterprises based on the fan theme.

Thomas, A. (2007). Youth Online: Identity and literacy in a digital age. New York, Peter Lang.

This is a text book dedicated to the development of new and emergent literacy practices and centres around the development of online youth culture and identity through the use of the internet. Some of the specific sections dedicated to fanfiction and fan culture are accompanied by explanations and evidence gleaned from research and interviews with youth participants within these online cultures.

Trott, B. (Spring 2005) Advising readers online. A look at internet based reading recommendation services. Reference and user services quarterly. 44 (3)

Trott looks at the use of online recommendations of reading materials. The view taken includes but is not limited to fanfiction and archives, discussion boards and blog sites. It is asserted that these developments have mush to offer in the way of guidance for youth readers as well as serving to modernise the reality of literacy.

Woledge, E. (2005). From slash to the mainstream: Female writers and gender blending men. Extrapolation. 46 (1).

Within this article Woledge examines the sub genre of ‘slash’ fiction, the development of homosexual relationships within fanfiction arcs. There is quality, academic discussion of language technique, discourse and ideologies connected to the process of reading and writing this style of fiction. The article focuses on stories written by female authors about male characters engaging in same sex romance and focuses on the interplay of masculine and feminine characteristics and representations in order to deconstruct the contributions. It is asserted at several points that it is this juxtaposition of masculine identities and physicality’s with the traditional felinity of intimacy and vulnerability that fascinates and captures the hearts of its fans.


Popular Media



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanfiction

This is a Wikipedia page discussing the development of fanfiction tracing back as far as the seventeenth century with unauthorised sequels to classic stories and retelling of the King Author legends. Also provided here is a comprehensive description of some terminology and styles or techniques employed within fanfiction.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3753001.stm

Here is an online article written by Darren Waters, an entertainment reporter for the BBC, about the positive and encouraging reaction that J.K. Rowling had to the explosion of fanfiction created surrounding the Harry Potter characters. The article also highlights the fact that many people hope that fanfiction will prove a tool for writers to develop skills and confidence to branch out into original creations of stories.



http://boards.disneysites.com/archive/index.php/t-567.html

This is a Disney message board where some fans discuss some places to source fanfiction and one member gives her definition of fanfiction. It is interesting to watch/read the interaction as it unfolds.



http://forums.starwars.com/thread.jspa?threadID=224428

Here viewers can find a Star wars blog which posts an interesting comment about its prohibitive stance on posting fanfiction in the site. It is stated that all fanfictions are banned from the blog site, which is connected with the creator company Lucasfilms.



http://fanfictionblog.wordpress.com/what-is-fanfiction/

This site works to dispel the misrepresentation that fanfiction grew from the obsession of young women who found their real lives somehow lacking. This is in fact untrue. The site presents information on the appeal and development of fanfiction.



http://seekingalpha.com/article/56323-major-social-networks-take-a-beating-from-fanfiction

Hear viewers will find an article from an online magazine, where they claim that fanfiction.net, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of fanfiction, has the fourth highest average time spent weekly per user. This places fanfiction.net in higher use than both facebook and myspace.



http://www.fandominion.com/


Fan Domain is not in fact a site for archiving or presenting fanfiction however it exemplifies the discourse and ideology surrounding fan culture. The site houses reviews and opinion pieces, blogs and other general communications set around the fan culture. A range of literacies are on display within the confines of this site.



http://fanficawards.proboards83.com/


This site looks at Awards given for a range of fanfictions, many nominated and chosen based on viewer response and online activity. This is an example of both the empowerment of audiences and the interactive nature of the medium.


http://i-generation.blogspot.com/2005/09/week-8-fan-culture-origins-of.html


Here users will find a post on the development of fan culture and the role that technological development has played in the development and empowerment of fan culture. This site also contains some interesting links to other information sites and examples of the cultural expressions discussed in the article.



http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=cTrXJYS0qQE

This is a youtube post that an individual has created rejecting fanfiction as a creative or legitimate form of writing and stating that it is unoriginal and unacceptable as anything other than a practice exercise for teenagers. This opinion does not appear to be widely supported however it is interesting to view alternative perspectives.


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=neMy8LPverk

Here users can find one of many advertisements that have been created to advertise fanfictions that are being written. Created like coming attraction trailers for movies this type of cross promotion is also becoming more prevalent as the industry grows.


http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=I20KdMoeUNA

This address will lead to a Youtube entry which gives a step by step description of how to post an entry on ‘fanfiction.net’. The author states that they have been asked about the process so often that they were prompted to post by shear demand.



Examples of Fanfiction



By far the larges, best known and most extensive archive would be found at www.fanfiction.net which is home to fanfiction based on all manner of categories including music, anime, movies, comics, books, games and cartoons. Here can be found in excess of 7 000 ‘Hannah Montana’ stories, 11 500 fictions based on ‘House M.D’ and 376 800 stories centred around J.K Rowlings ‘Harry Potter’. Stories range from short 100 word drabbles to epics in excess of 100 000 words. This is however only one source.

Sites abound all over the world wide web. A small selection are noted below.


http://www.fanworks.org/category.php?categoryid=405

Here viewers will find 10 High School Musical based stories rated G – PG13 and 2 rated NC17 – R. These stories were written by a variety of authors and though focusing on the traditional lead pairing some do explore character relationships that go against cannon. There are also a few slash stories posted here.



http://www.theacorncafe.org/

This site provides both discussion forums and fanfiction which is based on the ‘Rescue Rangers’ cartoon series. These submissions utilise a range of writing styles including script style and collaborative compositions created in round robin style.


http://www.aladdincentral.org/library/index.php


This is a reasonably large site that centres its fiction around characters from Disney’s Aladdin. Here viewers will find almost 500 stories written by over 140 different authors. Most stories focus on the original themes and character pairings though there are some entertaining plot twists within the archives writings.



http://fanfic.theforce.net/


Archived here are a wide range of stories of varying length and origin all based around the telling of ‘Star Wars’ fanfictions. Also available are segments on tips for writers, plot ideas and opinion pieces. This site has a highly communal and inclusive layout which draws in fans who adhere to the subculture and discourse of the ‘StarWars” fandom.



http://www.fanfiction4kids.synthasite.com/

This site houses the work of one particular child. The site states it was constructed so that a young writer, too young to legally post on an established site, would have a forum in which to present her contribution to fanfiction culture.



http://www.smbhq.com/users/fanfic/stories_title.html


This is a brief collection of fictions, varying in length and style, based on the ‘Super Mario Brothers’ Nintendo games and subsequent cartoons. This is one of many sites devoted to gaming worlds.



http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com/getinfo.php?page=read


This site takes great effort to keep all public posting space open to all ages and as such child or youth friendly language is expected even in forum posts unless warnings are clearly posted. There are many stories both cannon and non cannon archived through this site.


http://www.fanfiction.mugglenet.com/


Archived on this site are a range of fanfictions based on the “Harry Potter” universe. The site houses in excess of 7000 stories by over 3000 authors. The stories roam across all styles and ratings and present pre and post series entries as well as alternate universe stories which diverge, sometimes quite dramatically, from the original story.


http://www.fictionalley.org/


This is an extensive collection of fanfiction as well as fan art and youth forums. Here a viewer will find a multitude of “Harry Potter” centred fictions. This site accepts all styles and all pairings within the “Potter” universe. One clear drawcard of this site is the ease of navigation and searching of archives.


http://www.checkmated.com/


This site archives a variety of stories based in the world of J.K Rowlings “Harry Potter.” The site centres around the relationship between Ron and Hermione, two supporting characters from the original series. Though many of the stories are based around the inevitable romance theme there are many well written entries.


http://www.sugarquill.net/

Unlike the majority of the above sites based on Rowlings “Harry Potter” this site is strictly cannon only fanfiction and is run with the express purpose of maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the Hogwarts/Potter world using the seven books as the essential keystone of all compositions. This site houses an extensive range of fiction as well as opinion pieces and essay style expositions written by site members.



Implication for classroom practice



Educators trumpet the value of modelled and collaborative writing to facilitate and develop student techniques and skills. Through the use of fanfiction students are given a preset and well developed foundation for character analysis, setting establishment and gain access to a deep well of back story and contextual information upon which they can base their thematic creativity. In essence students are free to focus on developing the specific plot points or dimensions of a character while supported by the use of pre-established characters or settings.

Also the fact that fanfiction stories can be published and shared with a specific audience in a real world context lends both motivation and purpose to the writing activities. In a high school classroom many of the above forums, archives and blog pages would provide an engaging and encouraging domain for the development of both creative writing and critical literacy. Although most sites do not cater for writers or readers under the age of thirteen the ideology and discourse related to this process could be adapted to suit the primary classroom as well.

For many teachers finding stimulus, reading material and subject matter that is accessible, achievable and engaging is a great battle. Educators can not afford to turn their back on such a potentially limitless resource.

It is clear that the genre of fanfiction is already one prevalent in the minds of both youth and popular culture and is gaining a place in literary consciousness. It is a powerful tool for engagement as it incorporates technology and gives greater purpose to creative composition. Perhaps the greatest drawcard is the fact that the internet fan forums discussed above allow for real audience consideration and facilitates reader responses and constructive comment through the use of reviewing facilities. Overall it is clear that this is a field worthy of further examination.


__

Tutorial 1:
Questions:
What do you know about Second life already?
When I first began in this course I had never even heard of Second life. I have since seen it referenced in a few television programs and discovered that it hold great potential for developing meaningful and contextually developed learning experiences.

Reflection:
a) What makes Second Life unique and of interest to so many different groups of people?
I believe it is the potential offered to tailor learning experiences to the needs and interests of learners. This coupled with the freedom offered for student directed learning which progresses at a pace the learner is comfortable with allows great adaptability and as such can service a wide variety of audiences. It is possible to interact with people all over the globe in a real time interaction while maintaining a sense of collegial cooperation by having avatars meet ‘face to face’.

b) What do some of the stories and case studies tell us about the worth of a space such as Second Life in their lives?

It is made clear that both personally and professionally spaces such as Second life are highly valued by and increasing number of people from a variety of geographic and social or academic locations.

c) What are some of the potentials for using Second Life in and across a range of contexts?

There is of course the potential for academic conferencing like the lectures and symposiums that have already been successfully trialled. Also there is the ability to interact with a diverse range of people without the financial and time constraints that a real world meeting would require. On a more personal level there is the ability for individuals with language or social limitations to engage in interactions while protected by the anonymity of their avatar.

d) What is left unanswered?

I still have many curiosities about Second Life and how it is best accessed by classroom learning however I believe this is something which will only unfold through further examination and experiences. Regardless the experience has been highly interesting and rewarding.


Reflection:

a) What are some of the key themes and issues related to life in virtual worlds?

There are many aspects of identity and social interaction which can be transferred from ‘real world’ experiences into online worlds. The ideas of conforming to a shared set of values and social discourses in order to operate successfully within the subculture. There is a sense of anonymity in the use of avatars that allows people to manipulate and experiment with age, appearance, gender and identity. This is freeing, however it does change the nature of the interaction since people are embodying their desires as opposed to ‘real world’ self.
b) Some say that 80% of internet users will have a second life within the next few years - do you think this is probable? Do your own bit of future speculation
I have doubts about the projected number being quite this high as the internet provides a vast array of possibilities for interaction however I am confident that in excess of 80% of those who are introduced to Second life will become active participants in the culture.
c) What questions do you still have unanswered?
I still have some reservations about the successful use of the technology with students, especially at a primary school level. Due to both the age (child protection) of students and the technological deficits in many schools I don’t yet know if it would be feasible, though I am interested to investigate the option further.

Tutorial 2:
What aspects of the presentation did you find intriguing or surprising and why.
I was particularly taken with the first presentation with the avitars morphing to the music. It was very thought provoking as each spoke to me and called to mind particular impressions of ‘who’ might be behind them. It occurs that they areal based / moulded from the same ‘clay’ as are we, however they have been crafted to show unique identities. The second part of the presentation reinforced the avitars as tool to communicate acceptance or in some cases rejection of social norms and values. The effect that the physical appearance had on the type of interaction shared was enlightening as was the intricate planning and thought given to even the minor details. It is of great interest to not that the choices made about how to dress, accessorise and present an avitar is just as revealing and expressive as choices made in the ‘real’ world.



Tutorial 3:
The two presentations viewed here offer some interesting perspective changes for teachers. Both are focusing on altering perceptions of what was once viewed as frivolous play, replacing this assumption with information on the purpose and possibilities offered here. The use of music and artistic analogy to show the intricate construction and grammar of gaming is highly eye opening. The idea that each step of the game making and game playing process offers both entertainment and learning/discovery opportunities is highly commendable. The slideshow provided serves to underscore the amount of effort and planning that is elicited by online interaction be they avitars, fanfiction, online chat, fanart, profiling or gaming. What most interested me was the support for the statement that work is not the opposite of play. There should not be an either / or attitude towards engagement and productive learning. It is proven that some of the richest experiences of literacy or interaction are facilitated through ‘play’.

Tutorial 4:
Comments on parts of presentation:
  1. I found the perspective presented within this segment highly interesting. The focus on the personal (user) story developed within games as opposed to the traditional top down story of a film or literary work was highly thought provoking.

    2/3 The presentation of video games as a production based literacy is of great interest. The idea that many games now allow players to design and implement their own characters, settings, actions or tools is highly engaging and developmentally stimulation for students (and adults alike).


    4. The documented connection between cognition and emotional processing of information offers an interesting perspective for teachers in so far as it brings the value of gaming, where there is a direct emotional response to stimulus and path taking, into greater focus. It is fascinating to think of game playing as a way to extend control and as such a persons self into other world contexts.


    5. Viewing these games as a tool to share knowledge and learn from the professional knowledge of a programmed character is a completely new concept for me. However I can see some value in the process. Users can gain experience and understanding in a meaningful way because they view and share in the cause and effect process alongside their characters. I am interested in the type of games described here. Especially the town planning.

6. The ability for users to construct not just a personal path but engage in a whole new career of experiences and ways of perceiving the world through the value systems of a particular sub-culture.
7. The overall viewing of these role playing games as problem solving spaces is highly exciting for educators. They present a set of experiences based around a problem which a user must solve using the tools, knowledge and values of the space in which they operate. This idea is highly valuable as a learning environments as it allows users to access knowledge in a meaningful context and allow active construction of skills and knowledge.

Question:
Describe your own use of gaming, or how you think you could use games if you don't do so already.
At this moment I have almost no gaming knowledge or experience however I can see the potential for experiences such as these to be used in classrooms to cultivate a meaningful and contextually relevant learning environment be it for descriptive writing, artistic expression, social interaction lessons or technology studies. There area great many possibilities accorded from this source if teachers are in apposition to access them.