This study qualitatively investigated how children's situational interests were triggered and developed during the Tree Investigators project, an outdoor, tablet-mediated biology learning program. Utilizing a situative learning framework, we elucidate a comprehensive account of the children's expression and development of science-related situational interests. Video recordings of five dyads of children (aged 9–11) were collected during summer camp sessions at a nature center. Video-based analyses were conducted to identify patterns of the children's situational interest development while they learned about tree life cycles at the camp. Our analyses focused on how the children's interactions with the physical settings (e.g., mobile app, trees) and other people (e.g., peers) triggered and maintained situational interest in different ways. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the relationships between children's situational interests, cognitive and emotional engagements, and socio material interactions, especially in an outdoor, tablet-mediated education environment. In order to support children's situational interests, our findings suggest including tactile and open-ended activities, considering the different influences of the same resources to different children, and respecting diverse areas of interests within peers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- History and Philosophy of Science