Dramatic Play in and across Digital Games: Traversing Digital and Linguistic Worlds

Year: 2016

Author: Auld, Glenn, Djabibba, Lena, O'Mara, Joanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Digital games have become central to the mediascapes (Appadurai, 1996) of young children, and their shifts between the virtual and real worlds inhabit their dramatic play. While these mediascapes are globalised, children demonstrate agency in the ways in which they take up these globalised narratives (Marsh, 2012). This paper draws on the dramatic play of a group of five young people (aged 8-14) in an extended Aboriginal family in a remote context playing on a mobile phone. Through their dramatic play, the young people weave narratives through virtual worlds, critiquing characters, plots and themes of texts from popular culture, and drawing on past lived experiences that value relationships. The young people reaffirm their positioning with family and friends and the extended Aboriginal family, making numerous references to the significance of country in their narratives. Through the collaborative production of counter-narratives, they develop a strong understanding of the purpose and audience of texts, and their spontaneous, improvised play is humorous, edgy and critical. The dramatic play was recorded on video and the spoken words were translated from Ndjébbana to English. Even on first viewing, the complexity of the composition that these young people have made is obvious. The text was then analysed into the operational, the cultural and critical aspects (following Green’s 1998/2012 3D model) and we mapped the composition and thinking onto the Australian Curriculum (Arts and English). In our presentation, we will share a section of the video, our analysis and mapping of the texts and our findings about where these texts might be mapped onto the Australian curriculum. We would like to engage with you in a conversation about this moment in time—of five young people playing together on a mat—of what we see, and how we might imagine an educational system that might recognise and develop the sophisticated composition skills these young people exhibit. Appadurai, A. 1996. Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Beavis and Green (2012). “The 3D Model in Action: A Review” in Green, B. & Beavis, C. (Eds) Literacy in 3D: An integrated perspective in Theory and Practice Australian Council of Educational Research Press: MelbourneMarsh, J. 2012. “Early childhood literacy and popular culture” in The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy. edited by Joanne Larson, Jackie Marsh. London: Sage