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Children's Computer Use at Home and at School: Context and Continuity

Lucinda Kerawalla and Charles Crook
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 28, No. 6 (Dec., 2002), pp. 751-771
Published by: Wiley on behalf of BERA
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1501496
Page Count: 21
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Children's Computer Use at Home and at School: Context and Continuity
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Abstract

The home computer use of 33 children aged between 7 and 11 years is described. These children and their parents were interviewed on four occasions. In addition, domestic computer use was monitored for 30 days in respect of the identity of user(s) and the nature and duration of their software use. Although parents had strong aspirations that household computers should support their child's learning and although parents' main software purchases were educationally oriented, children spent most of their time on games of a sort not typically found in their classrooms. This observation was explored through a comparative analysis of the home and school ecology. Description of the school setting was achieved by engaging with pupils and teachers attending the five schools from which the home-based sample was drawn. Patterns of school computer use conformed to practices commonly reported for early education. However, this classroom context of computer use was shown to be very different to that sustained in homes. Parents took few steps to orchestrate the content or motive of children's computer activity and they rarely become directly involved in that activity themselves. These observations are discussed in relation to contemporary ambitions to influence the interface of home and school through the mediation of information and communications technology (ICT).

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