Late childhood and early adolescent children's participation in an after-school recreational computer lab program
Carol Benesh, University of Idaho, United States
University of Idaho . Awarded
There are tremendous opportunities in the hours when children in late childhood and early adolescence are not in school. According to Miller (2000), “After-school programs are being touted as the new panacea for nearly every ill of modern society from failing schools to dangerous neighborhoods” (p. 18). “A recent poll found that 92% of registered voters believe there should be organized activities for children and teens after-school” (AfterSchool Alliance, 2001, p. 1).
Large numbers of students in the upper elementary and middle school age range do not generally participate in after-school programs because the program activities and settings are often targeted for younger age groups. Many students in this age range are left at home alone. Since these age groups are not typically regular attendees in after-school programs, it is important to study their participation in after-school computer lab programs to see what attracts them to this specific type of program. The late childhood and early adolescence age is a time of change on many levels—biological, physiological growth, peer and social expectations, and the school environment—that makes it a particularly risky period (Lerner, 1993; Solodow, 1999).
This study answers the question, “From the students' perspectives, what occurs when they participate in an after-school recreational computer lab program?”. A qualitative case study using grounded theory sought to understand the meaning students give to their interactions with each other, the computers, with the mentors, and the teachers. The grounded theory generated from this study is from the students' perspective that after-school computer lab programs are considered as play. Garvey's (1990) five characteristics of play are the analytical framework used to describe play in the computer lab program. Based on this study, computer lab programs for upper elementary and middle school students should be designed considering Garvey's play attributes and the students' needs.
Benesh, C. Late childhood and early adolescent children's participation in an after-school recreational computer lab program. Ph.D. thesis, University of Idaho. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/118669/.
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