Back in Beantown

Aha! So I’m back in Boston and the land of Easterners. It’s so bizarre to travel back to the midwest now. It’s difficult to describe but there’s a cleanliness to the midwest that I don’t experience much in Boston. Things are older, dirtier, a little more worn than they are out there. We’ve got deep potholes, messy construction sites, unwashed peoples, broken windows, old steampipes, no parking lots, and fenced-in front yards. It’s greener in Chicago. Safer. Easier to move around. Jury’s still out on what I prefer, but at least today it’s nice to be back in Boston.

The talk at AERA went well, I think. Aside from running out of time (grr!), the audience was receptive and a lot of folks I’d hope would be there were actually there. I’m still working on the paper and trying to sort out my idea of “passively participatory culture” as it is instantiated in the PMOG and other games/plugins like it. It’s exciting to think about participatory culture in these terms, without the necessity of traditional “texts” or production-based models of literacy.

Thursday night was a great reception hosted by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Learning Initiative. Jim gave a talk and all the grantees were there presenting their materials-in-progress, which was fun. I ended up getting to talk to Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel for a good while, too, and then spent the rest of the night with all my good friends from Madison. I miss them wicked bad, but it turns out they miss me too. So it all works out.

Today I’m perched at the big table here at Toscanini’s coffee on Main in Central Square. I’m trudging through emails, reading students’ theses, and sending post-conference notes around to everyone I saw there in Chicago. We’ve got a strange holiday here on monday (Patriots’ Day) so there’s no class and no meetings! That doesn’t mean no work, but it’s a tiny bit of a break for all of us.

Oh, and I listened to the Of Montreal record nearly nonstop to and from Chicago. Luv it.

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