Children’s Construction of Identity in Virtual Play Worlds – A Classroom Perspective

Anne Burke


The formation of identity is inextricably linked to powerful meaning-makers in a child’s young life.  In the 21st century, this typically involves engagement in virtual play worlds.  This case study reports on the identity construction of young gamers in a classroom as perceived through an I/identity framework (Rowsell & Abrams, 2011), associative I/identity framework (Abrams, 2011) and informed by New Literacies through a socio-cultural lens.  Children engage in Discourses (Gee, 2007; 2008; 2009) to experiment with early rehearsals and re-enactments, navigating fluidly among different roles and virtual world experiences.  This study shows how children form affinity groups and social connections with other players in their real world play spaces and online, thus creating a meaningful interplay of their real world and virtual I/identities in a variety of ways.

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