Title: Children’s learning at play in a hybrid reality
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Date: Friday 18 September 2020 at 1.15 pm
Place: Room Fullriggaren (Ma135), building Magna, Kalmar, and via Zoom
External reviewer: Professor Roger Säljö, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Examining committee: Associate professor Fredrik Lindstrand, Konstfack, Sweden
Professor Lena Fritzén, Department of Pedagogy and Learning, Faculty of Social Sciences
Professor Anita Mirijamdotter, Department of Informatics, Faculty of Technology
Chairperson: Professor Anette Emilson, Department of Education and Teachers’ Practice, Faculty of Social Sciences
Main supervisor: Professor Anette Emilson, Department of Education and Teachers’ Practice, Faculty of Social Sciences
Co-supervisor: Associate professor Linda Reneland-Forsman, Section for Higher Education Development, University library
Examiner: Professor Italo Masiello, Department of Computer Science and Media Technology, Faculty of Technology
Spikning: Friday 28 August 2010 at 1.15 pm at the University library in Kalmar
This compilation thesis contributes with knowledge on children’s (8–12 years of age) out-of-school play in digital communities. The focus is on how these communities can be understood as learning practices in a hybrid reality. The thesis includes a summary chapter and four studies, and the aims and research questions are specific for each study. The overarching research question guiding the thesis is the following: How can children’s learning activities in digital communities be understood as play? The theoretical base is Lave and Wenger’s social theory of learning, chosen for its view of learning as always situated, of knowledge as socially mediated, and of learning as a process of participation in communities of practice. A number of methods, such as interviews, video-recorded play sessions and video-stimulated recall are used, all capturing the children’s own voices and activities, contributing to a nuanced understanding of children’s out-of-school play in digital communities.
Main findings reveal that familiar characteristics of play take slightly different forms in children’s play in a hybrid reality. Grit emerges as a new characteristic of play. Findings indicate that children through participation in digital play-practices develop both learning and teaching strategies: strategies that appear to have an impact on other contexts when used to, for example, formulate and answer questions, and to imitate or demonstrate an action. The empirical models and conceptual frameworks generated in the thesis can be applied to and guide educational transformations if children and their play-practices are given a prominent role. The main conclusion is the hybrid character of play, resulting in an altered framing, which is perceived differently by children and adults. Another important conclusion is the more nuanced image of the playing child in comparison with previous research. There is an obvious need for schools to consider and acknowledge the whole range of experiences that children have, in order to understand and support their becoming citizens in a digitized society. The question is if society is ready for their skills.