Summary of Ch. 8

My group summarized this chapter by talking about Gee’s view on “communities” and “spaces”. Communities have the connotation of “belongingness” (pg. 88), which can lead some to feeling left out. Spaces could be referring to the common interests and how they interact with each other about the content. Kim talks about an example Gee brought up about two students that are studying the same topic. However one student wants to learn for application, while the other wants to learn just to get a good grade. Gee explains how these students are in the same community (school) but do not share the same space since they have different goals in their learning.
The group also talked about Gee’s thoughts on affinity spaces. Liz talked about how this refers to how people are brought together because of a common goal or interest (playing a particular kind of game). Gee then talks about the 11 defining features of affinity spaces (pgs. 98-101), which would improve classroom connectedness between students.

Summary of Ch. 9

This chapter talks about how Gee describes a trajectory approach to reading. Gee believes that this could help with the fourth grade reading slump. Gee explains that we should introduce students to “informal specialist language learning” to help prevent the slump. For example, if children are interested in dinosaurs at a young age get them reading and learning about dinosaurs to introduce them to the specialist language. This exposure to complex language will help with complex reading and comprehension in their later years.
Gee also talks about verbal and situational understandings as it applies to video games. Where if you are trying to read a game manual it could get confusing and you give up on the games (verbal understanding). However, if you experience the game first (situational) when you read the manual it isn’t as overwhelming.

Salon Question

Liz talks about how games can be used to teach literacy, history, science, or mathematics. She gives an example of playing Final Fantasy IX, where the narration is through dialogue bubbles. She explains that she teaches dialogue and how this game could show the importance of dialogue. I could also see how we could cross reference comic books to really enrich the lessons more. Compare the dialogue found in the video game, compared to comics to address how the tone of the characters are brought out through their dialogue.
Kim addresses the question about if a student acquires a learning disability or if the disability acquires a child. She explains that she believes it could a combination of both. She asks that question that Gee asks, Are the students trying to describe a wedding without ever attending or seeing one? I would agree that some students might not have rich enough experiences with the concepts being taught to be able to really understand the information.

Connection to Experience

One of the examples my group gave of a connection to our experiences was made by Liz. She talked about how she is part of an affinity space by participating in a forum about bulldogs. She talks about how, just like Gee stated, that the forum (affinity space) is made up of all types of people.

Question to Extend Learning

Liz questions the intensity of some affinity spaces. She asks if students could get too wrapped up in their affinity space that they start to become antisocial in real life? I would like to add to this question, could this work the other way around. If a student has antisocial behaviors in the classroom, could a teacher recommend joining an affinity space on an interest of the student? Could this then help the student overcome some of their antisocial behaviors by interacting with others that share the same interest?
Kim questions us about if a child with a learning disability doesn’t have the prior experiences to draw their vocabulary from?

Ideas for Classroom Use

Kim talks about how she would be interested in having students create their goals at the beginning of a unit or project. This way they could create goals that they are interested in and be more motivated to attain.
Liz suggests that teachers allow students to choice a subject matter that interests within the required unit. For example, if the class was covering a unit on Greek civilization, the students could create affinity spaces based on the area they would like to research (art, politics, etc.) I could also see the use in incorporating Kim’s idea of having the students create their goals for the unit as well.

Link to Kim's Blog
Link to Liz's Blog
Summary by Linda