Designing Play: young children’s play and communication practices in relation to designers’ intentions for their toy
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Designing Play: young children’s play and communication practices in relation to designers’ intentions for their toy

Designing Play: young children’s play and communication practices in relati...

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56 George Square, Room 2.06

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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Designing Play: young children’s play and communication practices in relation to designers’ intentions for their toy

Dylan Yamada-Rice, School of Education, Sheffield University, UK
Thursday October 27th 2016
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This presentation will report on a project that considered the design and use of a new form of toy, specifically a digitally connected wooden doll known as Avakai. This is considered from two perspectives, first in the designer’s intentions and secondly how young children in their combined play and multimodal communication used it. The data were gathered through conversations with the toy designers, as well as observations of the children’s use using GoPro video cameras mounted on chest-harnesses and field notes. All data were transcribed and then analysed using thematic analysis.

The presentation will outline three key findings; (1) children’s customisation of the toy design, (2) design aesthetics, simplicity and emotion, and (3) the use of the compartment in the base of the toy. Each finding is described both in relation to children’s use in terms of play and multimodal communication practices, as well as the designers’ backgrounds and intentions for the toy. The idea of giving agency to the design of the toy as well as how it was used builds on work across a wide range of diciplines and theories, including object-orientedness (Kaptelinin et al, 1999), object-ethnographies (Carrington, 2012), artefactual literacies (Pahl & Rowsell, 2010) and material stuff (Miller 2008; 2009; Shove et al, 2007). The commonality across all such theories is in the importance attached to devaluing the notion that communication practices are more important than material matter (Barad 2003). 

About the speaker: Dr. Dylan Yamada-Rice is a lecturer in Early Years Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research interests are concerned with early childhood literacy, multimodal communication practices and visual and multimodal research methods. Her PhD was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and focused on young children’s interaction with and comprehension of the visual mode as one aspect of contemporary multimodality. Her other previous research has explored children´s access to digital technologies that foregrounded the visual mode, the way in which family members support engagement with digital technologies and differences in texts using the visual mode in the urban landscapes of Tokyo and London.

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56 George Square, Room 2.06

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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