i remember how excited my elementary aged students were when they made their first avatar in the program Comic Life. Though the choices were very restrictive from the options provided, i still had to give guidelines of no weapons , it had to reflect who they were, not the most bazaar creature they could create within restrictive options and not to alter anyone else s avatar. It actually created some cyber bullying issues with rearranging derogatorily so, some classmates avatars. I felt the activity, though connecting students to technology was more of a passive environment than active. Many spent hours creating avatars rather than make their comic strip in the activity provided . When creating their own comics and avatars, they really were not socializing with each other.
One fascinating use of virtual activities that I learned about years ago at a Teacher Librarian conference, was having executives take home the game Sim City and create their family dynamics and return it. It was an eye opener to the executives how they porttrayed themselves and how their family viewed them. The virtual world allows you to create how you perceive your real world , which may not be how others perceive you.
Another aspect of the gaming world de Castell suggests is the interactivity in games, game creation. However, inordinately fwe players actually program their own game mods. Coincidentally, I just heard on CBC that someone has invented a game that plays all by itself so there is no DIY but don't do it at all, just watch!
de Castell, S., "Mirror Images: Avatar Aesthetics and self Representationin Digital Games." DIY Citizenship. Pp 213-221