10 Ways to use Social Media for your Studies at UCT

I’m teaching this session today for UCT’s Learn@Lunch programme – it’s going to be loads of fun:)

We’re all experts at using Facebook and Twitter for our social lives, but have you ever thought of using these platforms for your studies? This session will discuss the benefits of social network sites and beyond and introduce you to some cool tips and tricks that will give you the edge.

Download PowerPoint slides

Download Resource Guide

View Resource Guide on ISSUU



“Student Video Production: Assignment to Assessment” by Rulisha Chetty & Nicola Pallitt


The value of student video productions in higher education is often understated in discussions related to ICTs in education, where the topic of lecture recording dominates. This concerns students’ consumption of video rather than production. We would like to shift from the notion of video as just a resource to focus on video as a teaching and learning strategy/task where the end product is as important as the filmmaking process.

This guide takes you through the process of setting up the assignment and preparing students for it, video editing software, ethical and legal issues to consider as well as how to assess student video projects. It is published under a Creative Commons license. Go to this resource on UCT Open Content.


Gender identities at play: children’s digital gaming in two settings in Cape Town

The thesis-monster is finally in:) Can’t share it yet, but thought I’d blog the final abstract and chapter titles. Looking for suitable journals to publish papers in – suggestions welcome!


Thesis title: Gender identities at play: children’s digital gaming in two settings in Cape Town

Date of submission: 2 April 2013


This thesis investigates children’s gaming relationships with peers in out-of-school settings, and explores their interpretation of digital games as gendered media texts. As an interdisciplinary study, it combines insights from Childhood Studies, Cultural Studies, Game Studies, domestication and performance theory. The concept ludic gendering is developed in order to explain how gender ‘works’ in games, as designed semiotic and ludic artefacts. Ludic gendering also helps to explain the appropriation of games through gameplay, and the interpretation of gendered rules and representations. The study expands on audience reception research to account for children’s ‘readings’ of digital games. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is used to study gaming relationships. Combining SNA with broadly ethnographic methods provided a systematic way of investigating children’s peer relationships and gendered play.  The study finds that children responded to ludic gendering, performed gender and other identities for peers, and navigated meanings of games in contextual ways.  Children preferred less-strongly-gendered games for cross-sex play in both fieldsites. They transgressed hegemonic styles of gaming associated with boys and girls during borderwork with peers, where they performed gender identities in response to the activation of gender differences during cross-sex play. Children’s gaming was also marked by their playground practices, suggesting that the domestication of games in after-school settings involves drawing on these practices while appropriating digital games for peer play. Familiar playground practices such as dramatic role-play, playground sexualities and heterosexual games were all salient in children’s gameplay. Children negotiated meanings of game rules to orchestrate their own social scripts in service of performing peer relationships and gender identities. They also learned to amuse their peers or to send up authority through ‘remix’ strategies. In some cases, children’s digital gameplay involved transgression and parody of adult discourses about childhood innocence, age and gender norms. The prevalence of meta-gaming illustrates how games were domesticated in ways unique to the fieldsites, where specific spatial arrangements, turn-taking and time constraints informed varieties of play. These kinds of ‘learning’ and domestication tactics form part of children’s peer pedagogy.


Chapter titles:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Ludic gendering and gender tactics – how children perform gender identities through appropriating digital games

Chapter 3: Researching children’s digital gameplay

Chapter 4: Methodology

Chapter 5: ‘Clique’ to play – Ludic gendering and peer relationships in context

Chapter 6:  Gender games – Children’s gameplay as transgression, parody and liminal pleasure

Chapter 7: Meta-gaming – Game rules, peer relationships and identity

Chapter 8: Conclusion

Levelling up your presentations with Prezi

Today I made my first Prezi🙂 I always found embedding video clips in PowerPoint  to be such a drag. Often you put your clips in the same folder as your presentation file and link it properly and when the big presentation day comes, it won’t work. Prezi is definitely a solution in that department. You can also embed YouTube videos and invite peers to collaborate on a presentation with you. What I like most about it, is the variety of social media sharing options available. I prezi-fied the first few slides of my Twitter presentation. I’m sure you will notice that unlike PowerPoint’s linear style, Prezi has much more visual appeal. Your prezi also autosaves as you work on it.When you sign up for Prezi, don’t forget to use your varsity email and get the EduEnjoy license. This allows you to use your own logo (rather than the Prezi watermark), download your Prezi for offline presentation and you get 500 MB of online storage space. And best of all, it’s FREE!!!

And if you want to embed your Prezi in a free WordPress blog like this, check out these tips for editing the embed code via Dr. Barbara Schroeder’s Technology Teacher blog.

Students’ use of Twitter in a social media seminar

Here is my presentation from the elearning update conference at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg on 1 August and Emerge Africa in July.

If you would like a copy of the presentation, click here. I am also working on a paper which you can download here. I would appreciate any comments or advice, as I am a bit thin on the literature and theoretical framework. At today’s conference proceedings, presenters mentioned ‘communities of inquiry’ and I also like Ito’s notion of genres of participation. I will also add a podcast of the presentation soon:)

Paper on children and game ratings in SA

I thought I’d share this, bearing in mind that we should go back and work on this some more. Reader comments and insights much appreciated:)

Sex, violence and harm in games: An analysis of the guidelines for classification of the Film and Publication Board of South Africa

Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town (UCT)

Marion Walton, Nicola Pallitt & Muya Koloko


Game ratings are intended to protect children from potentially harmful experiences by defining categories for disturbing, violent or sexual material. This paper analyses assumptions about video game play as revealed in the policies and practices of South Africa’s Film and Publication Board. We focus specifically on the interpretation of guidelines used to rate games according to the presence of ‘classifiable elements’ such as violence and sexual content, the use of public input, and raters’ interpretations of the guidelines. Currently, young people have no input in this process and adult perceptions set game ratings agendas. This paper explores how young people respond to game ratings in relation to their experiences with different game genres. We identify how rating practices and policies make particular assumptions about games – what games are, the contexts in which gaming takes place and how they construct a specific narrative of childhood. This paper argues that the policies and practices of South Africa’s Film and Publication Board in regulating the distribution of games have  emphasized ‘protection’  and reinforced parental and state power to the exclusion of paying attention to the voices of young people and respecting their rights to freedom of expression.

(Download unpublished 2011 conference paper draft)

Some of my literature review & theory friends…

My favourite companions on my PhD thesis journey:)