December 17, 2008

This is for anyone interested in Alternate Reality Gaming, education or a combination of the two. If you have ideas or comments to share that might help further thinking in this area or indeed if you find this site useful to your own work please do share your thoughts here. Or, if you’d like to contact me directly, please email angelacolvert@argle.net.

This site is very much a work in progress and contains my emergent thinking as I mull over the findings of my research and endeavour to make links with current theory and practice.


Flash Mobbing and Advertising- T-Mobile Dance

March 7, 2010

I love this dance and this advert for T-Mobile. This advertising campaign is so clever. MediaSmart have put together some resources designed to help teachers deliver lessons about digital advertising and one sequence of lessons focuses on this campaign. As well as lesson plans, the MediaSmart website contains interviews with Saatchi, the ad agency who were behind it all, and some video footage which outlines all the social media used to spread that all-important slogan ‘Life’s for Sharing’. I’ve been writing some lesson plans for MediaSmart, with Rebekah Willett, and this week we ran an interactive session at the BFI based on some of the materials. I hope that the children and teachers went away with a better understanding of digital advertising and enjoyed learning some of the dance moves too. Great fun! When the materials are all availiable online I’ll post a link here.

A Question of Research

March 6, 2010

How do children (and a teacher-researcher) develop their understanding of authorship through planning, making and playing an ARG?


In progress……

Changing Literacies Session

March 1, 2010
Sheffield Morning

Today I visited the students at Sheffield Hallam to run a short seminar session about the literacies needed to design and play an ARG. This session was situated half way through a module called ‘Changing Literacies’ in which the students reflect on the literacies needed in the 21st Century and the implications for teaching in schools. I really enjoyed the session and the students made many interesting contributions to the discussion. It’s always a pleasure to explore Sheffield too. What a great city!

Associate Parlimentary Media Literacy Group (APMLG)

December 10, 2009

On Monday evening, I was invited to present a brief overview of my research to the Associate Parlimentary Media Literacy Group (APMLG). This was actually the first time I’d set foot inside the House of Commons and I was very excited. What an amazing place! The meeting was focused on ways in which children could be helped to understand digital information. 

Two of the other speakers were Marina Palomba, Media Smart Director and Legal Director of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and Charlotte Hughes, Secretary of Media Smart. They spoke about the new Media Smart resources which are to be launched at the end of November.

Kristin Mason, Learning Executive of BBC Learning was also presenting and discussed the the BBC’s new media literacy website and forthcoming resources intended to help children use information ethically.

There was time for mince pies, mulled wine and interesting discussions before it was time to go. As I crossed over the river on my way home, my mind was filled with new thoughts about the way ARGs can provide engaging and meaningful contexts in which children can develop and demonstrate a critical understanding of the media through which the game is designed and played. I learnt more about the range and scope of the Media Smart materials and will certainly be investigating the BBC site further. It’s great to know that such useful materials and resources are availiable for teachers and children to use and develop. Certainly lots to reflect on….

Nesta Futurelab Vision Magazine

December 10, 2009

Last month I did a quick interview for an article in Nesta Futurelab’s Vision magazine. It’s just been published online. The article is called ‘Digital Britain:Digital Schools’  .

ESRC seminar series: Children and young people’s digital literacies in virtual online spaces

September 8, 2009

ESRC seminar series: Children and young people’s digital literacies in virtual online spaces

Today I attended seminar 1 at Sheffield University: The nature of virtuality.

Julia Gillen’s presentation helped participants to ground the day’s discussions within a historical context by outining some of the antecedents of today’s complex online virtual worlds: prosthetic devices, video games and MUDS.

As part of this historical journey, her presentation incorporated a quote  from Richard Bartle, who wrote in 1983:

“What I would like to see –and it’s a long, long way off –is some local or national network with good graphics, sound effects and a well designed set of worlds of varying degrees of difficulty. In this true meritocracy, you will forever be encountering new situations, new difficulties, new solutions, and above all new people. Everyone starts off on an equal footing in this artificial world. “

At the time, when Richard Bartle was creating the first MUDs, this comment must have seemed visionary and now in hindsight it seems perhaps phrophetic.

During this talk I was particularly interested in the way virtual worlds have been discussed and presented by the media over recent years. Julia had carefully selected examples of news coverage and used these to higlight the point that although there is still a “sustained tendency for hyperbolic and ‘moral panic’”  there is “also a gradual development of more subtle understandings.” (I’m now going to trawl media archives for references to ARGs!)

This presentation also raised ethical issues related to researching in online virtual worlds.

Jackie Marsh’s presentation explored the nature of virtuality and drew on the findings of research into children’s engagement with club penguin. She drew on the work of Malpas who argued that:

A basic starting point for any serious discussion of the virtual must be recognition of the non-autonomy of the virtual – a recognition of the fact that the virtual does not constitute an autonomous, independent or ‘closed system, but is instead always dependent, in a variety of ways, on the everyday world within which it is embedded‘. (Malpas 2009:135)

Jackie Marsh then went on to explore the way that children interacted with the online space drawing on their economic,cultural and social capital. I really enjoyed hearing about the children involved in the case study and the children’s comments helped to bring the argument to life.

After lunch,  Michele Knobel joined the seminar as a virtual participant and talked with Guy Merchant, responding to questions from the group.

The last of the presentations was by Sheila Webber who shared her personal experiences of second life.  Find out more about the many adventures of Yoshikawa on her blog.

A thought provoking day. What a good start to the seminar series!

Digra Conference 2009 – Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

September 2, 2009


Yesterday I presented my paper Peer Puppeteers: Alternate Reality Gaming in Primary School Settings at the Digra Conference at Brunel University. This was the first Digra Conference I’d attended an I’d really like to go next year if  I can. I met some really interesting people and had some great conversations. Unfortunately I was only able to attend for the first day and part of the second so I’ll have to make do with reading the conference proceedings online to find out more about the papers presented on the Thursday and Friday.