Volume 4 [Issue 2], 2012


Editorial: A work in progress

Christopher S. Walsh

Twinkle, twitter little stars: Tensions and flows in interpreting social constructions of the techno-toddler

Karen E. Wohlwend and Lara J. Handsfield


In this article, the authors examine affordances and limitations of two interpretive frames—nexus of practice (Scollon, 2001) and the rhizome (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987)—for understanding the social construction of young children as precocious users of digital technologies. Building on recent work in literacy studies that challenges fixed understandings of space and context, particularly with respect to literacy practices using digital media, they argue that interpretive approaches to understanding young children’s participatory online literacy practices must seek to understand converging discourses and practices, but also divergence. These arguments are illustrated through nexus analysis and rhizoanalysis of a parent-produced YouTube video of a toddler who operates a computer to browse online nursery rhymes.

To Facebook, or not to Facebook?

John Hilton III and Kenneth Plummer


A significant shift in computer-mediated communication has taken place, in which in some cases, social media is becoming the dominant form of communication. Organisations who wish to communicate effectively are turning to social media; however, there are challenges associated with using it. This article chronicles the attempts of one educational institution to implement the use of social media in their organisation.


An explorative study of wiki as a teaching resource for students of journalism

Roy Krøvel


he article reports on how a wiki was introduced in the teaching of Development and Environmental Studies to journalism students in Oslo, Norway and intends to contribute to the understanding of how students use wiki technology to produce knowledge. The findings indicate that using wikis stimulates cooperation between students and strengthens collective processes of learning. Even more importantly, the investigation shows that using wikis can improve the teacher’s understanding of the process of learning. However, some lecturers found serious framing problems in articles regarding lectures they had given, especially when they had been introducing new terms or new perspectives on complex issues. To avoid a process where students repeat and mutually reinforce each other’s misrepresentations, it is necessary to construct a scheme of systematic feedback, including perspectives from lecturers and teachers.

Transformational leadership for education in a digital culture

Stephan J. Franciosi


The influence of the digital culture on the modern childhood and adolescent educational context makes it dynamic and fast-changing. In a field characterised by technological innovation and change, leadership style is critical to facilitating successful adaptation of useful technology, which contributes to successful learning outcomes. At the same time, much of the discussion on digital culture and education is focused on the classroom level, and very little attention is given to leadership frameworks at the school, district or governmental level. This paper introduces constructs more commonly discussed in the study of leadership or organisations, and reviews literature on leadership issues in the modern educational context. It is argued that educational leadership should be more flexible to cope with technology-driven changes and new developments. This entails moving away from a leader-centric organisational framework toward a more democratised model. It is suggested that a transformational leadership style is most appropriate for organisations such as educational systems operating in a field characterised by change and innovation.

Undergraduates’ collaboration and integration of new technologies in higher education: Blurring the lines between informal and educational contexts

Swapna Kumar, Feng Liu & Erik W. Black


To better understand how students’ familiarity with digital media in their daily lives can be harnessed in learning environments, a survey about their informal and educational use of new technologies was administered to undergraduates in three schools at a private university in the United States. The results indicated that undergraduates (n=282) transferred their skills in technology use for personal purposes to their higher education coursework, infusing digital technologies that were not required or used by their professors into their educational endeavours. As in prior research, respondents used new technologies and created online content more for informal purposes than for course-related activities. However, they forged a participatory and collaborative digital culture within their courses despite their professors’ scarce use of such technologies. The results suggest that further research and insight into undergraduates’ voluntary use of technology in educational contexts can contribute to the effective integration of digital media into higher education.


Back to the Future: Vilém Flusser’s Into the universe of technical images

David Crouch


First published 1985 as Ins Universum der technischen Bilder, Vilém Flusser’s Into the Universe of Technical Images has only now been translated into English. It is part of a triumvirate of theoretical texts – alongside Does Writing Have a Future? and Towards a Philosophy of Photography –all of which scrutinise technology, communication, the fate of writing, and the radical potential of mediated images.


Review of Shawn Loewen and Hayo Reinders’ Key concepts in second language acquisition

Nazanin Ghodrati

Key concepts in Second Language Acquisition is a user-friendly terminology guide which, according to the back cover, is the ideal quick reference text for students of linguistics and language teachers alike, and for researchers as well according to the authors themselves. The book is written by Shawn Loewen, an Associate Professor in the Second Language Studies program at Michigan State University, and Hayo Reinders, Head of Learner Development at Middlesex University. The book consists of a fourpage introduction, a glossary holding 453 alphabetically-ordered entries accompanied with illustrations (i.e. tables & figures), cross-referencing of related entries when needed, and key references for each entry. The book finishes with an index of key references.

Reading regimes, orality and code: Vilém Flusser’s Does writing have a future?

Emmett Stinson


The appearance of Vilém Flusser’s Does Writing Have a Future? (2011) in English translation almost twenty-five years after its original publication is undoubtedly a seminal event for both media studies and scholarship on the future of the book, but— because of its very importance—the publication of Flusser’s text also feels strangely belated. Although Does Writing Have a Future? was inaccessible to English-speaking scholars, many books and essays influenced by Flusser’s have been available for years, and, as a result, the book no longer produces the shock that was surely intended upon its publication. Most of those reading it for the first time will inevitably find their reading shaped by the history of its reception—both explicit and implicit—over the last two decades. In this sense, the publication of Does Writing Have a Future? serves as an invitation to consider Flusser’s influence, as much as it encourages a response to the text itself.


Otaku, subjectivity and databases: Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s database animal

Fabian Schäfer and Martin Roth


In 2001, the same year Azuma Hiroki published the first print of the book under review here in Japan, new media theorist Lev Manovich released The Language of New Media (MIT Press), which puts forward surprisingly similar ideas concerning databases, and which turned into a globally cited standard work on digital culture (featuring translations into Italian, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Chinese). Meanwhile, Azuma’s book, despite becoming a bestseller in Japan, did not traverse the Japanese language border until its first English translation was published in 2009. This substantial delay for the translation of a key contribution to ongoing discussions about digital culture is another example of how existing global hegemonies of thought impact on transcultural scholarly dialogue.