Friday, November 20, 2015

Living Together Online

This week we talked about avatar aesthetics and self-representation.  I actually enjoyed the reading as it raised a couple of questions for me.  In my media class we examine this issue through viewing and discussing Douglas Rushkoff's work in Digital Nation.  In it he mentions that people spend a lot of time on their avatars in the business world because it may actually be to their advantage in a business negotiation.  The idea of choosing appropriate business attire for your avatar to attend a business meeting in Second Life while physically staying in your pajamas is a little weird.  Not only that, but the advantage that your avatar gives you in Second Life can apparently extend into real life if you were to meet in a "real world" business negotiation.   The reading also caused me to think about the fact that their research seemed to say that even though we could create game avatars that can be anything, most often we simply create a version of ourselves but we improve it slightly in whatever manner we feel we are deficient.  The implications of this are interesting from a sociological identity standpoint. 

Another thing that came up was the shocking behaviour of the misogynistic cretins who plague the gamer community.  Frankly, it sickened me.  While this could have something to do with the November Blues that seem to be plaguing teachers and students right now when the stress of the classroom and the crazy antics of students who seem to suddenly have decided to rebel against pretty much everything boils over into stupid, destructive behaviour, hearing about this actually caused me to wonder what the world is coming to. Thinking something like this makes me feel old.  I don't understand the depth of hate that these people must be immersed in.  What are we to do about it?

I don't know if there is a short game to be done.  I don't know enough about tracking posts and so on but if possible we should be prosecuting the people responsible under severe legislation.  (As most of it is probably from the US, and it is pretty much terrorism, can't they do something about it?)   The Long Game is to continue teaching from a standpoint of tolerance; of listening to other's views with openness; of working to make the world better instead of adding to the hate that plagues our reality.  This needs to happen in the schools.  Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that character is not part of the standardized test.  I am not sure that character is part of what the largely industrialized model of education that we are a part of  wants.

This needs to be something that we work for.  This needs to be something that is part of our classrooms.  This needs to be taught and fostered at every stage of education to ensure that we have adults who care.

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