Date: 23 Sep 2010

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

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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.