Collaborative and Dialogic Meaning-Making: How Children Engage and Immerse in the Storyworld of a Mobile Game



This chapter explores primary-aged children’s collaboration as they played a mobile game together on an iPad, examining the nature of their engagement in the diegetic world, or storyworld, of the game. The chapter argues that essentially this is a twofold dialogic interaction as the children collaborated with each other to creatively problem-solve their way through the game, but also collaborated with the game and its characters. The children responded critically and affectively to the scenarios and characters that they encountered and by assuming the goals and motivations of the latter, they were at once immersed and invested in the storyworld and engaged in the strategic play of the game. By playing together on an iPad, they needed to negotiate their collaborative play on a tool that responds to a single touch, thus taking turns physically but making meaning together. This was an additional dimension to their interaction with each other and the game.


Story World Diegetic World gameGame Kirsty Transparent Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Many thanks to the United Kingdom Literacy Association ( who funded this research.


  1. Alexander, Robin. 2008. Towards dialogic teaching: Rethinking classroom talk, 4th ed. London: Dialogos.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Richard. C., and P. David Pearson. 1984. A schema-theoretic view of basic processes in reading comprehension. In Handbook of reading research, eds. P. David Pearson, Rebecca Barr and Michael L. Kamil, 255–291. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  3. Barnes, Douglas, and Frankie Todd. 1995. Communication and learning revisited: Making meaning through talk. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton Cook Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Bassey, Michael. 1999. Case study research in educational settings. Buckingham: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beavis, Catherine. 2013. Multiliteracies in the wild. In Virtual literacies: Interactive spaces for children and young people, ed. Guy Merchant, Julia Gillen, Jackie Marsh, and Julia Davies, 57–74. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Benton, Michael. 1992. Secondary worlds: Literature teaching and the visual arts. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Black, Rebecca, and Stephanie Reich. 2013. A sociocultural approach to exploring virtual worlds. In Virtual literacies: Interactive spaces for children and young people, ed. Guy Merchant, Julia Gillen, Jackie Marsh, and Julia Davies, 27–40. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Burnett, Cathy, and Guy Merchant. 2014. Points of view: Reconceptualising literacies through an exploration of adult and child interactions in a virtual world. Journal of Research in Reading 37 (1): 36–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cairney, Trevor. 1990. Intertextuality: Infectious echoes from the past. The Reading Teacher 43 (7): 478–484.Google Scholar
  10. Craft, Anna. 2000. Creativity across the primary curriculum: Framing and developing practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 2002. Flow: The classic work on how to achieve happiness, 2nd ed. London: Rider.Google Scholar
  12. Douglas, Yellowlees, and Andrew Hargadon. 2000. The pleasure principle: Immersion, engagement, flow. In Proceedings of the eleventh ACM on hypertext and hypermedia, 153–160. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  13. Escher, Maurits, C. 1953. Relativity [Lithograph]. Washington: National Gallery of Art.Google Scholar
  14. Fleer, Marilyn. 2014. Theorising play in the early years. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gee, James P. 2007. What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy, 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Gee, James P. 2008. Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses, 3rd ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Gee, James P. 2015. Unified discourse analysis: Language, reality, virtual worlds, and video games. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Gee, James P., and Judith L. Green. 1998. Discourse analysis, learning, and social practice: A methodological study. Review of Research in Education 23: 119–169.Google Scholar
  19. Glaser, Barney, and Anslem Strauss. 1967. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Hawthorne, N.Y: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  20. Hymes, Dell H. 1972. Models of interaction in language and social life. In Directions in sociolinguistics: the ethnography of communication, eds. John. J. Gumperz, and Dell H. Hymes, 35–71. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  21. Iser, Wolfgang. 1980. The act of reading: A theory of aesthetic response. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Littleton, Karen, and Neil Mercer. 2013. Interthinking: Putting talk to work. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Lyle, Sue. 1993. An investigation into ways in which children ‘talk themselves into meaning’. Language and Education 7 (3): 181–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mackey, Margaret. 2007. Literacies across media: Playing the text, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Maine, Fiona. 2014. ‘I wonder if they are going up or down’: Children’s co-constructive talk across the primary years. Education 3-13 42(3): 298–312.Google Scholar
  26. Maine, Fiona. 2015. Dialogic readers: Children talking and thinking together about visual texts. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Maybin, Janet. 1994. Children’s voices: talk, knowledge and identity. In Researching language and literacy in social contexts, ed. David Graddol, Janet Maybin, and Barry Stierer, 131–150. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  28. Mercer, Neil. 2000. Words and minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mercer, Neil. 2005. Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analysing classroom talk as a social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics 1 (2): 137–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mercer, Neil. 2010. The analysis of classroom talk: Methods and methodologies. British Journal of Educational Psychology 80 (1): 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mercer, Neil, and Karen Littleton. 2007. Dialogue and the development of children’s thinking: A sociocultural approach. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Mukherjee, Souvik. 2015. Video games and storytelling: Reading games and playing books. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rojas-Drummond, Sylvia, Nancy Mazon, Manuel Fernandez, and Rupert Wegerif. 2006. Explicit reasoning, creativity and co-construction in primary school children’s collaborative activities. Thinking Skills and Creativity 1 (2): 84–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosenblatt, Louise. M. 1994. The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. 2004. Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Sipe, Lawrence. 2008. Storytime: Young children’s literary understanding in the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  37. Soter, Anna O., Ian A. Wilkinson, P. Karen Murphy, Lucila Rudge, Kristin Reninger, and Margaret Edwards. 2008. What the discourse tells us: Talk and indicators of high-level comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research 47 (6): 372–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Urquhart, Cathy. 2013. Grounded theory for qualitative research: A practical guide. London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. ustwo. 2015. Monument Valley: An iOS and Android game by ustwo. Accessed 11 August 2016.
  40. Wegerif, Rupert. 2011. Towards a dialogic theory of how children learn to think. Thinking Skills and Creativity 6 (3): 179–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations