Gaming as Actions: Students Playing a Mobile Educational Computer Game

Elisabet M. Nilsson, Gunilla Svingby


The article presents an empirical study performed in the light of socio-cultural theories, emphasizing the usage of tools as a part of human learning. The aim was to explore what actions emerged in the interaction with, and were mediated by, the mobile educational computer game Agent O, when collaboratively played outdoors by 17 science students aged 15–16. Video recording was used to gather data. The outcome is a visual and written description of eight more prominent actions and sub-actions that occurred while gaming, including not only actions in direct connection to the actual gaming session, but also actions that emerged in the situation as a whole: the social practice within which the gaming took place. The gaming students came to act as a sort of student-gamer-performer hybrids, alternating between different roles. These and the other gaming actions seemed to have worked as a source of motivation for the students.


action; augmented reality; computer games; handhelds; learning; socio-cultural theory

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