What is Family Quest?
Family Quest is a new program within the context of Quest Atlantis that brings parents and children together in an afterschool, school, or home context and engages them in intergenerational play. The game starts out with a new adventure, one wherein families find themselves stranded on a mysterious island with the Lindemans, fictional family friends. It is up to the parent and the child working together to get past the challenges that come in their way, and help Maq, the gnome, to revive the Tree of Life (see our website for more information).
Why were we interested in bringing parents and children together around a video game?
Research suggests that family relations undergo major transformations to accomodate the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social changes children go through during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Around upper elementary and middle school, children become active participants of different communities and create their own practices outside of their family life. Consequently, parents and children spend less and less time together around collaborative activities when, in fact, parents continue to play an important role in children’s learning.
The typical ways of engaging with digital technologies create situations where children and parents do not have to interact. In fact, parents and children often engage in different activities with technology. Parents use cell phones and the Internet to facilitate communication with their children and to coordinate activities and daily life routines. Children, on the other hand, spend extensive time online, multitasking (e.g. chatting, downloading music, internet surfing), and connecting with their friends. In addition, parents monitor their children’s activities with technology and the Internet but rarely do they see participation in technology as a way to learn and connect with their chilren. Creating a game environment that support collaboration between parents and children provides opportunities for family connection and dialogue that might not otherwise less likely to occur.
Family Quest is intentionally designed to balance between entertainment and education in that it brings lessons learned from video game design and research on motivation and learning to meet the needs of parents and children to have fun and learn together. In addition, our research suggests that game scenarios that involve personally meaningful dilemmas are likely to provide opportunities for parents and children to engage in transformative conversations (Siyahhan, Barab, & Downton, 2010). We included several dilemma game scenarios that require parents and children to work together in Family Quest and encourage them to discuss social and personal issues.
Family Quest is a great way for parents to connect with their kids. It is also a great way for teachers and facilitators to bridge home-school-community relations.
Excited? Experience yourself how a video game can support family learning and bonding:
Parents can request an account on our website and play the game with their children.
Teachers & Facilitators can ask a Family Quest facilitator to support you in setting you up as a center to run Family Quest program.