“The dramaturgy and didactics of computer gaming. A study of a medium in the educational context of kindergartens”.

Vangsnes, V.
Dissertation for the degree philosophiae doctor. Norway: University of Bergen.


This study is a dissertation based on articles. The study examines the use of computer-based learning games at Norwegian kindergartens. The overall purpose is to generate knowledge about computer learning games and the implementation of these games in a learning context (the kindergarten). The overall purpose is elucidated through three research questions: 1) how can computer learning games be understood as a media in a sociological and cultural context? 2) How do children, employees and the media (learning game) interact? 3) What didactic implications exist in connection with the use of computer learning games? One of the articles focuses on developing a theoretical perspective (based on a dramaturgic approach). The other two articles elucidate practices at the kindergarten and examine didactic challenges as well as the employees' roles in connection with the use of learning games at the kindergarten.


The three articles elucidate different aspects of the research questions.


The first article develops a theoretical perspective on learning games. On the basis of a dramaturgic approach, the author shows how such an approach can zoom in on the interactive element and especially the roles of both being in the audience and participating in games. The findings of the article have only to a small degree been reflected in relation to children and kindergartens.


The second article shows how practice creates two different dramaturgies in connection with the use of learning games: the interactive dramaturgy of the game which manifests itself in the play situation, and then a didactic dramaturgy which the pedagogical staff attempt to create. These two different dramaturgies create a dissonance between different learning environments that the game and the pedagogical staff are attempting to create. In this context, the pedagogical staff are sometimes challenged by inadequate knowledge of the games, and by the way in which the game encourages the children to engage in different types of interaction.


The third article further develops the concept of didactic dissonance on the basis of an analysis of the different adult roles established in play situations with computers at the kindergarten. The first of the roles is described as an intrusive role, in which the adult's interference (e.g. instruction of the children) in the game seems disturbing for the children's activity with the game. The second role is the distanced adult who keeps a distance and does not enter into dialogue or interact with the children in connection with the game, but organises the framework of the game, for example. The third role is the supportive adult who lets the children's activity with the game and their questions be decisive for the adult's interference. In this role, the didactic dissonance seems to be productive.


The study is a theoretical elucidation regarding dramaturgy as an analytical approach to understanding computer learning games at kindergarten. The study is also a case study of computer game practices at kindergarten. The case study builds on 15 hours of video footage of play situations with 4-5-year-old children and the communication and interaction that exist between children and employees. It is also based on interviews with eight employees from four different kindergartens. The analyses are based on theatre and performance studies and more specifically on concepts of dramaturgy. Moreover, the final article includes didactic perspectives (Vygotsky, Bakhtin). Furthermore, the dissertation includes studies on children and media.



Vangsnes, V. (2014). “The dramaturgy and didactics of computer gaming. A study of a medium in the educational context of kindergartens”. Dissertation for the degree philosophiae doctor. Norway: University of Bergen.

Financed by

The Research Council of Norway