Tween Avatars: What do online personas convey about their makers?
Camille McCue, The Alexander Dawson School, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-64-8 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
Within online communities, students can employ alternate personas, or "avatars," to represent themselves. In the classroom, avatar-building provides educators a concrete representation of the abstractions of how students "see themselves" - especially elusive tweens. This paper reports on qualitative, action research conducted with a fourth-grade class as they constructed their own avatars. Research questions included: How do tweens represent themselves - in real or fantasy avatar formats? Is there relationship between tween gender or personality type and his/her avatar? Findings show that 93% of the participants created Real or Modified Self avatars. No link was shown between extroversion/introversion tendencies and avatar types. All male students situated their avatars in career-based environments; females situated their avatars in nature, travel or home environments. Replication of this study may allow other educators to capitalize on the avatar-construction process as a vehicle for tapping into students' affective states and guiding some aspects of classroom instruction.
McCue, C. (2008). Tween Avatars: What do online personas convey about their makers?. In K. McFerrin, R. Weber, R. Carlsen & D. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2008--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 3067-3072). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).