Publication Details

This refereed paper was originally published as: Johnson, NF, Exchanging Online Stories: A Space for Both Learning and Leisure, Australian Teacher Education Association Annual Conference (ATEA 2007), University of Wollongong, Australia, 3–6 July 2007.


The advent and popularity of The Sims and The Sims 2™has led to the telling, reading, reviewing and exchanging of stories in cyberspace on The Sims 2 website (http://thesims2.ea.com/), namely a section called the Story Exchange. Those involved in reading and evaluating these online stories include a 15-year-old female named Sarah, who was interviewed about her experiences in playing The Sims, The Sims 2, and using the Sims 2 website, including the Story Exchange section. The paper reviews some literature about the possible interrelationships between gaming and curriculum, and it introduces notions about plaisir and jouissance evident in the practice of those saturated with consumer-media culture (Kenway & Bullen, 2001). From Sarah’s viewpoint, it seems to be apparent that the children, adolescents, and adults who engage with these online narratives on the Sims 2 website have determined quality indicators of the stories without guidance or instruction from external structures or authorities. I suggest that the Story Exchange section of the Sims 2 website is an example of a legitimate learning space that is an avenue of leisure, knowledge, and skill development, out of alignment with traditional structures and institutions of formal schooling. In the conclusion, attention focuses on what this might mean for primary and secondary education, and how formal schooling and informal learning activities (such as the exchanging of online stories) could be aligned.

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