Computer games in pre-school settings: Didactical challenges when commercial educational computer games are implemented in kindergartens

This article focuses on the didactical implications when commercial educational computer games are used in Norwegian kindergartens by analysing the dramaturgy and the didactics of one particular game and the game in use in a pedagogical context. Our justification for analysing the game by using dramaturgic theory is that we consider the game to be a multimodal performance utilising text, graphics, pictures, sound and animation. Similarly we analyse the didactic situation by using dramaturgic theories and concepts because we consider the didactic meeting between the medium (the game), children (the player(s), and teacher to be a dramaturgic situation comprising different roles, actions in progress, time and space. Our data material shows that the pre-school teacher is more or less absent during the children's playing with the computer games, but when the pre-school teacher involves him/herself, she finds it difficult to realise her ideal socio-cultural didactical project in which dialogue is a central medium for exploration and learning. Through our analysis of the data material we find that there are two different dramaturgies at stake; the built-in interactive dramaturgy of the game materialised in the gaming situation and the dialogical dramaturgy that the pre-school teacher tries to create in the didactical situation. This implies that there is a didactical dissonance between the learning space which the game and the learning space the pre-school teacher wants to construct and orchestrate.

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