Games and Learning: Social Interactions and Language Use of 2nd Grade Students Playing a Digital Game in Pairs

Date
2023
Authors
Hernandez, James Jeremy
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Abstract

This qualitative study aimed to examine ways young children practice social skills and use language while playing the digital game Roblox in pairs, using a single electronic device, as framed through Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory of learning. Roblox is a sandbox-style game comprising several mini-games, such as hide-and-seek simulators and battle spaces, where children can play with others online. In this qualitative study, participants were four seven-year-old 2nd-grade students paired to play the digital game Roblox at a charter school. I observed and recorded how the children interacted with the game, their language while playing, and their behavior toward each other. By observing their play as it was naturally occurring, I could obtain the young children’s perspective. This inquiry sought to answer the following questions: (1) How does playing Roblox influence social interaction and learning for 2nd-grade students? (2) How does playing Roblox promote language skills development for 2nd-grade students? Data sources included audio and video recordings, field notes, pre- and post-gameplay meetings, and observations. I transcribed and analyzed the data using open coding to understand how young children interact and learn socially while playing a digital game. Playing Roblox in dyads facilitated various behaviors and language use among 2nd-grade children. 2nd-grade students playing in dyads expressed two significant behaviors while playing a digital game. They were turn-taking and managing disagreements. They also practiced several forms of language use, including helping language, descriptive language, using background knowledge, specialist language, suggesting language, and questioning. It is concluded that when children play a digital game such as Roblox in dyads, they practice higher-order thinking, self-regulation, and cooperative and collaborative behaviors.

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This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Keywords
Digital Games, Early Childhood Education, Elementary, Language Skills, Roblox, Social Skills, Young children
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Department
Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching