Computational Literacy in Online Games: The Social Life of Mods

Computational Literacy in Online Games: The Social Life of Mods

Constance Constance Steinkuehler (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) and Barbara Z. Johnson (University of Minnesota-Duluth, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009010104
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Abstract

Modding communities are particularly ripe environments for rethinking what it means to be IT literate in the contemporary world. Mods are, as we argue, computational literacy artifacts, exemplifying not merely computer literacy but also the ability to understand and use computational models and processes to conceptualize and solve problems. In this article, we describe modding practice in the context of the best-selling computer game to date: World of Warcraft. By analyzing such activities as a form of computational literacy practice “in the wild,” we demonstrate how modding illustrates what it means to be technically literate in the contemporary participatory sociotechnical world. Based on our analysis, we argue for reconsideration of computer literacy as computational literacy, authorship as collaborative and negotiated rather than individually achieved, and digital media literacy practice as one involving design and production, not merely passive or critical consumption.

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