Article

International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 415-432

Using activity theory to understand intergenerational play: The case of Family Quest

  • Sinem SiyahhanAffiliated withCenter for Research on Learning and Technology, Indiana University Email author 
  • , Sasha A. BarabAffiliated withCenter for Research on Learning and Technology, Indiana University
  • , Michael P. DowntonAffiliated withCenter for Research on Learning and Technology, Indiana University

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Abstract

We implemented a five-week family program called Family Quest where parents and children ages 9 to 13 played Quest Atlantis, a multiuser 3D educational computer game, at a local after-school club for 90-minute sessions. We used activity theory as a conceptual and an analytical framework to study the nature of intergenerational play, the collaborative activity between parents and children in the context of role-playing virtual game environment, and the opportunities and challenges of bringing parents and children together around an educational video game. Our analyses of five parent-child dyads revealed that the nature of intergenerational play is different for different parent-child dyads, but has positive outcomes. Implications of the study for supporting family learning and bonding through video games are discussed.

Keywords

Collaborative problem solving Informal learning environments Intergenerational play Parent-child interaction Video games