University of Southern Denmark
Points-of-View: Providing a video ethnographic method for studying young children’s play practices with tablet computers
Video observation methods have become increasingly common in ethnographic research with young children. However, when young children’s practices with digital toys are investigated using video cameras, it is often difficult to provide equal representation of the child and the object. As argued by Jackie Marsh (2017), following a post-humanist perspective, agency and affordances are dynamic when it comes to the relationship between humans and technology. When we study practices, we should be equally mindful of both human and non-human actors. The Points-of-View (POV) method (Lundtofte & Johansen, forthcoming) provides up-close access to sociomaterial practices between children and digital toys.
The POV method uses a rigged dual-camera set-up and has been employed in research on how seven young Danish children played with tablet computers. This setup yielded video data that was highly comparable across the different informants and settings. Importantly, as this fieldwork was conducted in Denmark, issues of consent were between the researcher, the children and their parents. In addition to this, the POV method provided means for demonstrating the video recording process to the children, which made the consensual aspect of ethical considerations easier to align with the methodology.
Through a number of examples, this presentation will show how the POV method provides some nuances on the subject of young children’s play practices with tablet computers. As this data provides visual information from both sides of an interaction, we are able to understand how the interactions change or end. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to the method. Aside from the task of introducing research gear into people’s private space, object mobility, which is a key affordance of tablet computers, was somewhat restricted. Therefore, some reflections on future innovations of the POV method will be touched upon.
Lundtofte, T. E., & Johansen, S. L. (forthcoming). Video Methodology: Researching Sociomaterial Points-of-View in Children’s Play Practices with IoToys. In G. Mascheroni & D. Holloway (Eds.), The Internet of Toys: Practices, Affordances and the Political Economy of Children’s Play. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marsh, J. (2017). The Internet of Toys: A Posthuman and Multimodal Analysis of Connected Play. Teachers College record, 119(15).
Thomas Enemark Lundtofte is a Ph.D. fellow in Media Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. He researches the characteristics of young children’s sociomaterial play practices with tablet computers via the case of DR Ramasjang – a highly popular app in Denmark provided by the national broadcast corporation. He is an affiliated researcher with the Centre for Children’s Literature and Media at Aarhus University as well as an adjunct faculty member at the San Diego State University National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.