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Title: The child, the adult and the artefact : a sociocultural perspective on young children and digital technologies in the home
Author: Eagle, Sarah Margaret
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is concerned with the potential for interactive digital technologies to support young children's learning within the context of family life. The perspective taken is a sociocultural one. learning is understood as meaning-making, which is inseparable from the activity of others. Designed physical artefacts may be understood as reifications of the activity of others; but the meaning that a learner makes of the artefact, and of its use, arises in the course of social experience relating to that artefact and the contexts of its use. Thus, one approach to investigating meaning-making of young children in relation to artefacts is to study the nature of social interaction in relation to their use. In this thesis, a framework is developed for the analysis of social interaction in relation to physical artefacts, which is then applied to activity between young children and parents during the use of interactive digital artefacts in the home. The focus is on the child's agency in the use of interactive digital artefacts and design features of the artefacts themselves. Drawing on interviews and visits to four families, a description is given of the arrangements for children to participate in the use of interactive digital technologies. 1brough a comparison of opportunities for children's observation of others' use, for their solo play, and for use in conjunction with another person, the diversity in the nature of young children's experience of interactive digital artefacts is illustrated, demonstrating the complex interrelations between the practices and priorities of families and the nature of interactive artefacts that ace used.. The interactions between adults and children involving digital artefacts that ace analysed in this thesis ace taken from video made by the families. Each family provided video recordings of occasions when the child used interactive digital technologies with another person; the technologies included both those which were and those which were not designed for young children's use. The analysis showed that the nature of interaction was generally oriented towards parents' interpretations of their design features, which reflected the designer's conception of what the artefact was supposed to be, do, or enable; this carried implicit expectations for the child's agency in determining the nature of the activity, for the overall characterisation of the activity between adult and child, and for the nature of interactions between them. In the light of these findings, the thesis ends by discussing the design features of technologies, and the aspects of cultural practice, that might be considered when seeking to develop artefacts that support more exploratory activity between adults and young children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available