Webkinz Assignment #4: Wordlings Learning Language

This week I’d like you to consider the use of language symbols in the Webkinz world; how do users speak to one another? What forums exist both inside and outside of the gamespace? Who may participate and what are their limitations?

Due date: Monday, September 28 at start of class.
Post to: your journal; set access to “Friends”

First, you’ll need to get a partner. I know that some of you have already experienced the chat function, but I still want you to do a chat with a classmate for this assignment. So, get a partner, exchange necessary contact information (you may need to call one another to make sure you’re in the right zone to be able to speak to each other), set a date and time to meet in the Webkinz chat, and…chat. As you do, consider the mechanisms you have to use to do the chat; what are you able and unable to do? How are you being guided through using language? What are the limitations of this particular tool?

Other things to do:

Visit your “My Page” (from the dock, click on “Things to Do”, then “My Page”).

  1. Start with the Home Page. What elements are there, and what do they assume you want to know when you first visit? What can you do with the elements on this page? If you try to edit your BFF list (bottom left corner), what do you learn about “Friends?” How does the site encourage you to interact with them?
  2. Click on the “My Page” tab. You’ll notice that your page has four different tabs: “My Page,” “More About Me,” “My Stuff,” and “My Creations.” Visit each of these pages and customize your space. As you do so, think about–and make note of–what each page highlights or foregrounds as part of the experience of defining yourself online. Share your reflections on this as part of your post.
  3. On the “My Creations” tab, you’ll find that you can make and save stories. Make a story and save it. Share your reflections on the experience of making the story in your post: how does the tool work? What kinds of stories can you create? Is this creating?

Logout of your Webkinz environment and return to the main page for the site. Visit “The Parent’s Area” and browse through the files. What types of things can parents do? What questions do the site creators assume that parents will have? Are there any questions you think are missing?

Finally, use Google (or another search engine–is Ask Jeeves still around?) to look for Webkinz resources on the web. Link 2 or 3 of them at the end of your post with a brief note detailing why you think they might be useful.

Write up your experiences in a post on your journal; make sure that you select “Friends” before you hit the post button.

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