2006 Ethnographic Report

This is a summary of the Ethnographic observations during the 2006 SCOOT Event.

Prepared by Deb Polson with Barbara Adkins and Eryn Grant

Below is the ‘Human Dimensions matrix’ developed in collaboration with the Ethnographic Researchers at the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design. This was formulated over the first few SCOOT Events and refined for the 2006 Event. This Matrix has been adopted for a number of subsequent SCOOT Events and other related LBG projects by the SCOOT Team.


Who are the players?

The players generally consisted of traditional family groups (Mother/Father two children) ranging in age from 3 yrs up. Players also played in teams of two, if they were older children (12-16yrs) these groups often played against each other.

What relationships develop within each group and between groups?

Overall intra group relationships saw a shift in dynamics, which revolved around prior knowledge’s of  ICT.

  • As players had varying skill levels of ICT they tended to assume roles within their group.  Most groups assigned a person a ‘job/task’ to complete whether that be site navigation, SMS or puzzle solver based on their individual talents, which most group members where aware of before starting the game.
  • roles where assumed at the beginning of the games registration.  Children had on obvious advantage over adults in ICT use.  As a result the parents authority shifted and they where more likely to forego their traditional role and pass it to their children.
  • The game also erased the divide between parents and children with one mother commenting “…it brought his world into my world”.

Inter group relationships tended toward facilitating the games progression.

  • This was present at two levels – those groups that helped each other and those that used the group ahead to direct them through the game. The latter relationship also illustrated those groups that where obviously more competitive.
  • Groups commented on meeting new friends along the game path.  The game then can be seen to facilitate inter group contact through smoothing the introduction of strangers (new technology, new game, new people).

How do these relationships develop?

  • The ICT competent players tended to show themselves as uninhibited and would voluntarily direct other family/group members through the ICT sequence.  This would start the process of developing roles and relationships as ICT tended to be the first role assumed.
  • Relationships centered on a set of skills or knowledge’s that where present prior to playing the game.


How do the players/groups currently relate to site(s) ACMI, SLV, MM as physical, social and cultural spaces?


As all sites where prominent symbols of Melbourne city life many of the players had previously visited under a different capacity and as such were aware of the physical space.

  • The game in some circumstances prevented people experiencing venues as physical spaces (Possibly means game in some ways to fast).
  • While parents were more aware of Federation Square (working in city) they had no previous reason to bring their children to the space. The game provided a purpose to bring their children to Fed Square.
  • Family groups that had visited sites before were more conscious of the game path and able to progress through nodes more easily than other groups.
  • Those that were unaware of the sites physical layout had a directional exploration of the space making it less forbidding.  Regardless of this, all groups said the game made them more aware of the physical spaces, seeing things they had previously disregarded.
  • Many players were given a reason to enter into places previously unexplored.
  • The State Library of Victoria generally is not regarded as a space for children.  Thus many families had never visited this site together before.  Parents were glad for the inclusion of this path as it gave them a reason to take children into this space and introduce them to the state library.


The game subverted many of the social relationships to space especially for children

Federation Square

  • A place for public events, game consistent this association.
  • Many parents seemed to associate Federation Square with their working life in the city.  They had no social purpose to share the space with their children.

Melbourne Museum

  • Game subverted behavioral conventions of this space.
  • Many families aware of this space from previous visits – they has to change their own behaviors to match game needs.

State Library of Victoria

  • association of ‘quiet’ in the library was directly challenged by the game.
  • The game changed the library social attributes from learning to fun, games and noise.


What relationships do they currently and potentially have to technology and the interaction it can provide?

  • Children use parents phone/less likely to own mobile telephony
  • Many people learned how to SMS for the first time
  • Children more likely to be more proficient in ICT than their parents.
  • Children more likely to want to use technology for entertainment.
  • Women more likely to hand over mobile phones for others to operate.
  • Men more likely to shield their mobile phone from children’s use
  • Children more involved in online game world.
  • Parents let children register themselves


What learning connections and learning relationships do the players develop as a result of participating in the game? The learning content is delivered by the game trough interactions with

  • Artifacts of the site and of the game -artworks, landmarks, games,
  • Historic data of the site incorporated into the game – Scripted info delivered trough game challenges, myths and legends presented in game content
  • Inpromtu encounters with people and things in the site, around the game.

Children need someone to intervene to allow them to reflect on pedagogical relationships.  See images on the title page of the older team members realising and engaging in the learning potential of the game and the site.


How does the player interpret the sequence of the game?

  • SMS became a delay in the games sequence and rhythm
  • Game does not start with a perfect temporal alignment, it is developed as nodes progressed.
  • Relationships with SCOOT agents important for game sequence.