Collaborative Interactions in Problem-Solving Activities: School Children's Orientations while Developing Digital Game Designs Using Smart Mobile Technology

Jeanette Sjöberg, Eva Brooks

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Digital technologies in combination with creative activities have been introduced in schools as a strategy for learning and teaching activities offering scaffolding opportunities. Additionally, digital game-based learning (DGBL) activities have also been tried out in schools in recent years, as well as different mobile technologies, with the ambition to create smart learning. In this study, we aim to explore how school children's collaborative interactions, while engaged in problem-solving activities using smart and mobile technology, unfolds. Drawing from a contextual perspective on learning, our study combines theoretical views on joint participation, affordances and sense of community in relation to collaborative interactions. Questions posed in this study are: (1) In what ways do children's digital game design activities drive and/or support collaborative interactions while engaged in problem-solving activities? and (2) How are children's digital game design ideas manifested during game design activities involving smart mobile technology? The study is based on a case where a creative workshop involving 22 Swedish third-grade children (9–10 years of age) participating in game design activities carried out in a pedagogical lab setting. By employing a thematic analysis, the results of the study show that the children deployed different orientations in their collaborative interactions, and that a sense of community emerged when the children worked on solving the problem of designing and producing a joint digital game idea, using mobile technology. On the basis of this, we argue that, when designing for educational activities involving smart mobile technology, it is pivotal to be aware of the pedagogical context, since this aspect of the design creates meaningful collaborative interactions; it is only then smart mobile technology becomes smart. These results have important implications for the methodological field of including smart mobile technology in learning situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100456
JournalInternational Journal of Child - Computer Interaction
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Collaborative interaction
  • Game-based design
  • Problem solving
  • School children
  • Smart learning
  • mobile technology


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