Young children's social and independent behavior during play with a coding app: Digital game features matter in a 1:1 child to tablet setting

Maya Lennon*, Sarah Pila, Rachel Marie Flynn, Ellen A. Wartella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The overarching aim of this study was to explore young children's (N = 25, Mage = 5.16 years) play with two coding games (Daisy the Dinosaur and Kodable) in a 1:1 child to tablet setting. We had three research questions focused on children's game play: 1) How does the structure of each game influence children's play? 2) Do children play more or less independently depending on the game they play? 3) Do children who play the games more independently learn more coding skills? Three researchers coded more than 6 h of video data showing children's play with digital coding games. Findings include, that the type of game did influence the different ways that children behaved while playing. However, during both games, children had the same amount of independent play. Children who played more independently during Daisy the Dinosaur learned more coding skills. This may be because these children were focusing more on the game than their peers as we did not find a similar effect for the game Kodable. We discuss the ways that children play structured vs. open structured (i.e., sandbox) digital games with a particular focus on how game play may influence learning. As opportunities for individual device ownership in classrooms increase, future work should continue to explore how game features influence learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104608
JournalComputers and Education
Volume190
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Applications in coding
  • Cooperative/collaborative learning
  • early years education
  • Games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Young children's social and independent behavior during play with a coding app: Digital game features matter in a 1:1 child to tablet setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this