By wonderful coincidence, or just because I write about things that match with their interests, I have come in touch with a very interesting circle of researchers and their young and brilliant Ph. D. students. Before flapping to Seattle last week, I emailed Charles Kinzer, a name that was strongly recommended to me by Donald J. Leu - whom I had visited only a few weeks earlier. Don Leu I had met through Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear and the work with their handbook of new media literacies.
The group I met with Friday 12th of May at Columbia Teacher's College will have to forgive me that I don't have their names at my fingertips, this is unforgivable, but that's one of my great flaws. I am name-dropping immune, because any name will fall out of my mind in 20 seconds, onless it's constantly reinforced. I have a pretty good memory of graphics, topics and personalities, so cards are to me the most brilliant invention ever. Sorting through my cards after an event is so rewarding! Doesn't help those lovely students though, with no formal connection and hence, no cards.
What I do remember was how much it impressed me to meet with people who are looking at gaames and weblogs in new manners, and who want to have their questions answered in manners not including quick assumptions, nor have their answers expressed through popular catchphrases. My growing frustration with the lack of inventive and thorough empirical work in certain of the most visible areas of game studies or weblog research was stilled as I started to grasp the extent of new media research coupled with the concept of new media literacy which is happening in the teacher's colleges.
And so, after a lovely conversation at Columbia (somewhat delayed by those pesky subways that let me spend 45 minutes between 96th street and 120th street), a happy happy hour at the neighbourhood bar at their large favourite table and a great meal, I felt that this last trip across the Atlantic had opened a whole new set of possibilities to me. Next time in New York I have a group to exchange ideas with, a library to use and facilities for gaming if I ever feel the urge while on Manhattan and not carrying my own little computerised brain.