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Article of Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2010

Using activity theory to understand intergenerational play: The case of family quest

Authors: Sinem Siyahhan, Sasha A. Barab, Michael P. Downton

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

Citation: Siyahhan, S., Barab, S. A., & Downton, M. P. (2010) Using activity theory to understand intergenerational play: The case of family quest. ijcscl 5 (4), pp.

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-010-9097-1

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF siyahhan_barab_downton_5_4.pdf

About this article at springerlink.com [http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11412-010-9097-1] including a link to the official electronic version.