Girls Got Game?:
Egaming and Females
Presented by Lesley Farmer
What’s the Situation?
Are girls interested in egaming?
• YES! About 67% of 9-12 year old girls do and over
90% of 13-17 year old girls use technology
• 40% of girl game daily
• 6% of preteen and 4 % of teen girls make up game
• Girls spend less time (household priorities)
What’s the Problem??
Girls don’t like the computer culture:
• They don’t like the nature of most computer games
• They dislike stereotypical female characters
• They see few female role models
• And their attitude becomes more problematic when
they hit adolescence because of social issues…
• … by the way, did you know that parents are more
likely to buy computers for boys than girls?
What Happens in Schools?
• Technology-enhanced projects are gender-neutral
or more male oriented.
• Girls are discouraged from taking advanced tech
• Girls lack info about the impact of technology on
salaries and promotions.
• Girls tend to classify all tech jobs as masculine.
• Schools tend to “dis” egames.
Benefits of Egaming
• use of fixed, equitable rules
• clear roles and expectations
• internally-consistent environment where everything is possible
• clear goals within a rich context that gives goals personal meaning and
• opportunities to explore identities
• cognitive and affective engagement
• multiple ways to achieve goals through constructivist strategies
• specific, timely feedback
• sense of control and personal investment
• situated learning
• sense of reward for effort, including trial and error
• structured interaction between players, and between players and the game
• blend of cooperation and competition
Egame Mastery and Gender
• Girls master individually vs. boys learning from
each other (because of societal messages)
• Girls ask boys for advice
• Girls tend not to use manuals
• Girls tend to reset level or game
• Girls may walk away from controls/navigation
• Expert gamers are gender-neutral
Tips to Engage Girls with Egames
• Provide choice
• Get the girls’ input – and act on it
• Make it social: encourage buddy learning
• Focus on communication – and human
• Encourage intellectual risk-taking
• Emphasize effort more than mastery
• Have fun!
Criteria for Choosing Egames
• confidence: encourage and support girls’ abilities
• collaboration: facilitate working together
• personal identification: relate to personal life
• contextuality: present information in narrative or story
• flexibility/motility: offer several navigational paths
• social connectivity: facilitate interpersonal connections
• inclusion: portray diverse populations
• multimedia presence: meld high-quality graphic, motion
and audio elements
Library Portals and Egaming
• add game-related displays that include game art,
game-related fiction, and information about
careers in gaming
• link to gaming magazines and strategy guides
• publicize gaming events and resources
• add student-created content, such as game
Instruction and Egaming Principles
• provide student choice (which topic to study)
• offer opportunities for low-pressure situations
• emphasize the importance of memorizing and mastering basics
of a concept before applying the knowledge
• Facilitate collaborative work
• provide extra help for struggling students
• provide extension activities for students who excel
• evaluate effort rather than product
• use alternative and authentic assessments – designing demo
games, tests based on mastery levels (not everyone takes the
Egaming and Information Literacy
• just-in-time verbal or textual feedback when the learner wants it
• affirmation of effort as it leads to performance and competence
• incorporation of the affective domain, particularly as it relates to
• consideration of systems and relationships as they impact
information analysis and use
• emphasis on distributed knowledge and cross-functional
• acknowledgement and leveraging of multiple perspectives
• empathy of complex information systems
Agosto, D. (2004). Girls and gaming: A summary of the research with implications for practice. Teacher Librarian, 31(3), 8-14..
American Association of University Women. (2000). Tech-savvy: Education girls in the new computer age. Washington, DC: American
Association of University Women.
Amory, Alan, et al (1999). The use of computer games as an educational tool.. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30, 311-
Becker, K. (2007) Digital game-based learning once removed.. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38, 479-488.
Cassell, J., & Jenkins, H. (Eds). (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Cooper, J., & Weaver, K. (2003). Gender and computers: Understanding the digital divide. Nawah, NJ: Erlbaum.
DeKanter, N. (2005). Gaming redefines interactivity for learning. TechTrends, 49(3), 26-31.
Fromme, J. (2003). Computer games as a part of children's culture. Game Studies, 3(1).
Gee, James. (2007). What video games have to teacher us about learning and literacy (2nd ed.). Palgrave, England: Macmillan.
Graner Ray, S. (2004). Gender inclusive game design: Expanding the market.. Hingham, Eng.: Charles River Media.
Helmrich, E., & Neiburger, E. (2007). Video games as a service: Three years later. VOYA, 30(2) 113-115.
Jenkins, H. (2008). Reality bytes: Eight myths about video games debunked. The Video Game Revolution. Jones, S. (2003). Let the
games begin. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Kaiser Family Fntn.. (2005). Generation M: Media in the lives of eight to eighteen year olds. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
Koster, R.(2004). A theory of fun for game design. Phoenix, AZ: Peralglygh.
Levine, J. (2006). Gaming and libraries. Library Technology Reports, 42(5).
Macgill, A. (2007). Parent and teen Internet use. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
McFerrin,E., et al. (Eds.). Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2008 pp. 991-
996). Chesapeake, VA: American Association of Computer Education.
Neiburger, E. (2007). Gamers...in the library?! Chicago: American Library Association.
Nicholson, S. (2007). The role of gaming in libraries: Taking the pulse. http://boardgameswithscott.com/pulse2007.pdf
Prensky, M. (2006). Don’t bother me mom – I’m learning! St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.
Schott, G., & Horrell, Kirsty. (2000). Girl games and their relationship with the gaming culture. Convergence, 6(4), 36-53.
Simpson, E. (2005). Evolution in the classroom: what teachers need to know about the video game generation. TechTrends,