University of Michigan Press

Technologies of the Imagination

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Technologies of the Imagination

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Digital Tools in Urban Schools

Mediating a Remix of Learning

Jabari Mahiri

"Today there is massive interest in how digital tools and popular culture are transforming learning out of school and lots of dismay at how digitally lost our schools are. Jabari Mahiri works his usual magic and here shows us how to cross this divide in a solidly grounded and beautifully written book." ---James Paul Gee, Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University "Digital Tools in Urban Schools is a profoundly sobering yet inspiring depiction of the potential for committed educators to change the lives of urban youth, with the assistance of a new set of technical capabilities." ---Mimi Ito, Professor in Residence and MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, Departments of Informatics and Anthropology, University of California, Irvine "An uplifting book that addresses a critical gap in existing literature by providing rich and important insights into ways teachers, administrators, and members of the wider community can work together with students previously alienated---even excluded---from formal education to enhance classroom learning with appropriate digital tools and achieve inspiring results under challenging circumstances." ---Colin Lankshear, James Cook University, and Michele Knobel, Montclair State University Digital Tools in Urban Schools demonstrates significant ways in which high school teachers in the complex educational setting of an urban public high school in northern California extended their own professional learning to revitalize learning in their classrooms. Through a novel research collaboration between a university and this public school, these teachers were supported and guided in developing the skills necessary to take greater advantage of new media and new information sources to increase student learning while making connections to their relevant experiences and interests. Jabari Mahiri draws on extensive qualitative data---including blogs, podcasts, and other digital media---to document, describe, and analyze how the learning of both students and teachers was dramatically transformed as they utilized digital media in their classrooms. Digital Tools in Urban Schools will interest instructional leaders and participants in teacher preparation and professional development programs, education and social science researchers and scholars, graduate and undergraduate programs and classes emphasizing literacy and learning, and those focused on urban education issues and conditions.

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My Life as a Night Elf Priest

An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft

Bonnie A. Nardi

Ever since the creators of the animated television show South Park turned their lovingly sardonic gaze on the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft for an entire episode, WoW's status as an icon of digital culture has been secure. My Life as a Night Elf Priest digs deep beneath the surface of that icon to explore the rich particulars of the World of Warcraft player's experience. —Julian Dibbell, Wired World of Warcraft rapidly became the most popular online world game on the planet, amassing 11.5 million subscribers—officially making it an online community of gamers that had more inhabitants than the state of Ohio and was almost twice as populous as Scotland. It's a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO in gamer jargon, where each person controls a single character inside a virtual world, interacting with other people's characters and computer-controlled monsters, quest-givers, and merchants. In My Life as a Night Elf Priest, Bonnie Nardi, a well-known ethnographer who has published extensively on how theories of what we do intersect with how we adopt and use technology, compiles more than three years of participatory research in Warcraft play and culture in the United States and China into this field study of player behavior and activity. She introduces us to her research strategy and the history, structure, and culture of Warcraft; argues for applying activity theory and theories of aesthetic experience to the study of gaming and play; and educates us on issues of gender, culture, and addiction as part of the play experience. Nardi paints a compelling portrait of what drives online gamers both in this country and in China, where she spent a month studying players in Internet cafes. Bonnie Nardi has given us a fresh look not only at World of Warcraft but at the field of game studies as a whole. One of the first in-depth studies of a game that has become an icon of digital culture, My Life as a Night Elf Priest will capture the interest of both the gamer and the ethnographer. Bonnie A. Nardi is an anthropologist by training and a professor in the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focus is the social implications of digital technologies. She is the author of A Small Matter of Programming: Perspectives on End User Computing and the coauthor of Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart and Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design. Cover art by Jessica Damsky

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Skate Life

Re-Imagining White Masculinity

Emily Chivers Yochim

Intellectually deft and lively to read, Skate Life is an important addition to the literature on youth cultures, contemporary masculinity, and the role of media in identity formation. ---Janice A. Radway, Northwestern University, author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature "With her elegant research design and sophisticated array of anthropological and media studies approaches, Emily Chivers Yochim has produced one of the best books about race, gender, and class that I have read in the last ten years. In a moment where celebratory studies of youth, youth subcultures, and their relationship to media abound, this book stands as a brilliantly argued analysis of the limitations of youth subcultures and their ambiguous relationship to mainstream commercial culture." ---Ellen Seiter, University of Southern California "Yochim has made a valuable contribution to media and cultural studies as well as youth and American studies by conducting this research and by coining the phrase 'corresponding cultures,' which conceptualizes the complex and dynamic processes skateboarders employ to negotiate their identities as part of both mainstream and counter-cultures." ---JoEllen Fisherkeller, New York University Skate Life examines how young male skateboarders use skate culture media in the production of their identities. Emily Chivers Yochim offers a comprehensive ethnographic analysis of an Ann Arbor, Michigan, skateboarding community, situating it within a larger historical examination of skateboarding's portrayal in mainstream media and a critique of mainstream, niche, and locally produced media texts (such as, for example, Jackass, Viva La Bam, and Dogtown and Z-Boys). The book uses these elements to argue that adolescent boys can both critique dominant norms of masculinity and maintain the power that white heterosexual masculinity offers. Additionally, Yochim uses these analyses to introduce the notion of "corresponding cultures," conceptualizing the ways in which media audiences both argue with and incorporate mediated images into their own ideas about identity. In a strong combination of anthropological and media studies approaches, Skate Life asks important questions of the literature on youth and provides new ways of assessing how young people create their identities. Emily Chivers Yochim is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Allegheny College. Cover design by Brian V. Smith

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