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Lucas Jean-François

This chapter presents a project developed in a study about the narrative dimension of the immersion process in the virtual world of Second Life. This digital universe is not usual because users can build the digital environment themselves, that means that they design and shape the Second Life’s space. In order to understand the impact of the space on the avatars behaviour, I developed a tracking tool, called the ‘Magic Ring,’ which collects millions of ‘quali-quantitative’ data. This name means that they are very accurate data in big quantity (millions of data), which allow the researcher to choose between a qualitative approach or a quantitative one. This chapter focuses on project genesis to explain how the idea to develop a tracker came to us. Firstly, I present Second Life by emphasising the possibility for the user to build the three dimensional world. Secondly, I deliver contextualised overview of our immersion study, especially about the narrative dimension of this process. I explain I used the concept of ‘spatiality,’ and I define it, to understand the link between the shape of the space and the avatars behaviour in the virtual world. I also present the limitations encountered in this study and the need to develop an appropriate method to solve our problematic. Before explaining how the Magic Ring works, I describe two others projects that have inspired it. Finally, I briefly evoke some results, explaining that avatars often return to the same places, identified as ‘hotspots,’ and I discuss the theoretical possibilities a device like the Magic Ring and quali-quantitative data open.

Anna Dow

It is a vast shame that, despite an increasing demand for interdisciplinary study, there is still a somewhat stringent attitude towards any study that affiliates itself equally among disciplines rather than claiming to predominantly represent one alone. In medieval studies it is particularly difficult to examine manuscripts exclusively, or even primarily, from either a literary or art historical perspective, when the objects in question quite often encompass both. In fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts image and text shared an intertwining relationship, and I propose to examine this relationship by focusing on the manuscript as a narrative object in its entirety. In the Très Riches Heures, designed and partially completed by the Limbourg brothers before 1416, lavish imagery encompasses the narrative world of the brothers’ patron, Jean de Berry. Literary themes exist on a variety of planes in this instance, from the inclusion of narrative references such as the Iliad or Berry’s personal folk tale Mélusine, to the narrative created around Berry’s own world and the creation of folio space that was deliberately intended to expand the reader’s imagination beyond the usual narrative confines of the image frames. In a similar vein, the artist of René’s Livre de Coeur illustrates the text in a manner that not only accompanies the narrative, but also incorporates its own form of literary criticism and interpretation, and in England the Ellesmere Manuscript, perhaps the most famous early edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, uses its imagery to signal new innovations in literary mobility and the personal reception of the book. A conjoined approach between literary and art historical studies, then, can shed a vital light on the study of medieval manuscript reception, and enable a better understanding of medieval approaches towards visual literacy.

Corrado Petrucco and Daniele Agostini

In recent years, thanks to the rapid advance of mobile technologies which lend portable devices great computing power, making them affordable at the same time, the development of applications and tools for augmented reality has found new life. The proposal is a reflection on current best practices in the field of augmented reality learning as a branch of mobile learning and on the technologies and methodologies that will build its future. Each of the major players in the global scene of the technology field has already produced or is preparing to produce powerful and economical solutions, following different philosophies. Variety, availability and affordability are three elements that give this technology a chance to be adopted in educational settings, not only in adult education, but also in cultural heritage education and even in the classroom. Many have employed these tools in such contexts, with analyses of the results obtained, often conducted by computer science or engineering faculties, but it is rare to find studies based and conducted on sound pedagogical and didactical foundations, and we will focus on these. We will analyse the technologies and methodologies used and we will reflect on the strengths and the issues that they present. As a natural conclusion of this work, we will finally share and discuss a proposed theoretical and methodological framework that can guide future experiences of augmented reality learning.

Edited by William Fourie

From subversive shop windows to moralising theme parks, Urban Assemblage presents eight diverse perspectives on urban space and culture. The volume spotlights cities as far afield as Johannesburg and Cork City to see how different cultures, media, mobilities and narratives come to form the spaces we occupy; it looks at the Tuscan utopia, the evolution of the hipster, the Neo-bohemian café culture of gentrification, and breaking the rigid urban way of life through the fluid (identity) movement of Parkour. Not only is the subject matter diverse, but the interdisciplinary spirit at the core of this volume elicits convergences and divergences, intersections and parallels by drawing on wide-ranging methodologies and disciplines. Urban Assemblage is an assemblage of eight different voices, informed and cutting-edge in their explications of various urban spaces.

Ginette Roberge and Huguette Beaudoin

As a result of the prevalent reported negative effects of bullying between peers, numerous initiatives that strive to counter school bullying have surfaced. Research has shown that more effective approaches have consisted of cooperative actions which target different levels of school governance including administrators, teachers, parents, students and community partners. In the Canadian province of Ontario, the Ministry of Education has recently introduced legislation that aims to reduce school bullying through a preventative approach. This approach mandates policy development by all school governing authorities when faced with bullying behaviours among students as well as the creation of positive learning environments by rewarding student-led anti-bullying initiatives. The first phase of this study was to conduct a content analysis of the ensuing anti-bullying policies in Ontario in order to determine to which extent they adhere to effective anti-bullying strategies as identified by extant research. The second phase will consist of an impact study of these policies in Ontario schools following the Accepting Schools Act, in order to determine their degree of effectiveness. The purpose of the current study is therefore twofold: 1) to analyze the extent to which policy content is actually applied in schools; and 2) to analyze the effectiveness of the application of policy content in reducing school bullying on a larger scale. In order to achieve this dual purpose, the authors will describe a methodology that accentuates the process, the perceptions and the preoccupations of members of the school community in terms of school bullying between students and other members of the school community. Checkland’s soft systems theory will be applied to the endeavour to improve problematic situations, namely preventing and confronting school bullying, as proposed by Jacques Lapointe. The results of the study will expose the expression of varied insights from school professionals in terms of countering school bullying. In sum, this chapter therefore aims to describe the soft systems methodology and explains its pertinence to an impact study of the Ontario Accepting Schools Act (ASA).

Melissa Laird

Invested with the research methodologies of material culture scholarship and the ‘physical’ nature of ‘embodied practice’, this chapter investigates fashion design processes as an academic activity. It considers how practice-led or embodied practice can inform design evolution and develop students’ design-confidence. The chapter shows the diversity and possibility afforded to fashion outcomes read through the framework of a task entitled Fragments: Cloth and Memory, delivered at Whitehouse Institute of Design, Australia, Sydney Campus. At the heart of this chapter lie a series of student designs; textile narratives and fashion collections, where the particular learning and teaching strategies engaged in the studio prompted very personal and unique approaches to clothing and cloth. Real engagement and embodiment of ideals is apparent in these works. As physical, historical, emotive and mechanical memory were investigated and ensuing processes applied to the humble materiality of cotton and silk, new and innovative textiles were created. These textile experiments possess additional meaning as they evolve into fashion-clothing though their association with intimacy, and develop as narratives through garments shadowing the body, and by revealing a deeper personal significance for the designer. These original designs become protective amulets, graced with imitative magic through their personalised craftsmanship and materiality. With their own developing mechanical memory, they protect the torso, bosom and vulnerable throat; Fragments, Cloth and Memory at the heart of fashion.

Myer Taub

This case study explains how to integrate performance with a written text and the speculation of the self. It also looks at how a proposal in activating performance might inform a document of research experience, interpolated as dramatic content emerging from a model of reflexive framing and inter-modality. It shows how a process of reproduction might contribute to a shape of a particular modified case study methodology appropriated from Qualitative social research theorist, Robert K Yin. This methodology has three frames: exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. The composition of these frames is a process of making and reflecting on the making. The composition of the frames engenders an explanation of the experiment as much as they translate the experiment. It means making a system that is actively aware of its own histories. It is a transformative and original methodology that relies on framing and perforating the frame. In the context of the chapter, it also becomes a research document that introduces the notion of hauntology as contribution to this making of methodology. It is the ghost who emerges from the perforation, into the frame. This is Derridean and the chapter’s reflection is an ongoing research project – with its primary source being derived from his Specters of Marx. This is also the ghost of Florence Phillips that speaks back at the work through the reflective document of a stage play called Florence. The presentation of dramatic text forms part of both the explanatory frame of research and the reflexive space in performance. I present, in the later half of the chapter, three fragments from the stage play: Florence.

Vicente Martin Mastrocola

Smartphones and tablets lead sales of electronic devices around the world and offer a rich field to explore gaming initiatives. Mobile media created a ludic ecosystem in which large publishers and small studios coexist; the new ways of digital content distribution allowed a gaming market with big productions and indie experiments to live in the same platforms. In this scenario, we want to analyse a development process involving an independent Brazilian mobile game named Dominaedro, launched by Ludofy Studio in 2014. Our focus in this work will be to discuss iterative design – a design methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analysing, and refining a work in progress. In this context, we understand iterative design as a methodological tool to create a game. We intend to observe this kind of development process, emphasizing the analogical prototyping phase that gives us feedbacks from the beta-testing players, as in a qualitative research. Finally, we present the importance of the iterative design to quality assurance in the digital version of the game. Data collected through 20 beta testing sessions showed the importance of iterative process to improve a gaming experience and to facilitate the production of the digital product. Based on this content we will demonstrate the whole process of creating a mobile game – from the idea, through the prototypes, until reaching the final version. We conclude, highlighting the current tendency to create indie games using accurate design methodologies to gain audience in a very competitive scenario, and how indie games could be a learning point for aspirational game designers and small publishers; we will also emphasize the importance of using digital social networks and specialized media to publish and support an independent game.

Joanna Piskorz and Marcin Czub

We describe a series of 4 experiments on virtual reality use in pain alleviation. All studies were part of ‘VR4Health’ project, realized at the Institute of Psychology, University of Wroclaw. We tested how certain parameters of virtual environments (VE) influence pain tolerance and pain sensitivity. All studies were conducted using induced thermal pain paradigm (heat pain or cold pressor test), and within-group experimental design. Tested VE parameters (independent variables) were: game dynamics (slow paced vs fast paced VE), game complexity (amount of the elements meaningful for the gameplay), type of the interface, memory engagement, and body/movement engagement. Dependent variables were: temperature of pain stimulus, the time participants kept their hand in a cold water (pain tolerance), their subjective rating of pain on a Visual Analog Scale (pain intensity), and presence in VE. Results of all the studies confirm the analgesic efficacy of virtual reality interventions, compared to non-VR condition. However, body engagement was the only variable, which was found to differentiate between VR conditions and influenced pain tolerance. Game complexity was the only variable which influenced pain intensity. Partial results of those studies were published previously in Polish Journal of Applied Psychology and Polish Psychological Bulletin. Here we present summary description of the results, analyse repetitive patterns in the results, provide meta-analysis of effect sizes, and reflect on methodological issues arising from the paradigm we used. We also suggest ways of improving the design and methodology of further similar experiments.

Ann-Marie Cook and Debra Polson

The ability to identify and assess user engagement with transmedia productions is vital to the success of individual projects and the sustainability of this mode of media production as a whole. It is essential that industry players have access to tools and methodologies that offer the most complete and accurate picture of how audiences/users engage with their productions and which assets generate the most valuable returns of investment. Drawing upon research conducted with Hoodlum Entertainment, a Brisbane-based transmedia producer, this chapter outlines an initial assessment of the way engagement tends to be understood, why standard web analytics tools are ill-suited to measuring it, how a customised tool could offer solutions, and why this question of measuring engagement is so vital to the future of transmedia as a sustainable industry.