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CGSE- videogames

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Presentation from University of Pittsburgh's Annual Council of Graduate Students in Education Conference, 2011

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CGSE- videogames

  1. 1. GIRLS CAN BE VIDEO GAME DESIGNERS TOO!: GENDER DIFFERENCES IN GAME CREATION AND ADULT INFLUENCE ON THE DESIGN PROCESS Jolene Zywica University of Pittsburgh
  2. 2. Research Team  Kim Gomez – University of Pittsburgh  Brigid Barron – Stanford  Nichole Pinkard – University of Chicago/ Depaul  Paula Hooper – SF Exploratorium  Kim Richards – University of Illinois at Chicago  Kimberly Austin – University of Chicago  Caitlin Martin – Stanford
  3. 3. Overview  The Digital Youth Network  Video games & learning  Gender differences in game design  Importance of mentors  Methods  Results & Discussion  Q & A/ Feedback
  4. 4. The Digital Youth Network  6th-8th grade charter school  Pilot year + 3 years of data collection  Afterschool pods (video game design, radio, digital queendom, digital music, robotics)  Media Arts classes (digital storytelling, iRemix, video game design)
  5. 5. Video Games in DYN  Pod ~ 7 females, 20 males  Classes – video games & science  Mentors  Opportunities:  Storyboarding, sketching, designing  Graphic design  Programming, math, computational thinking  Meet and interview game designers
  6. 6. Video Games & Learning  Video games are “powerful tools for learning” and a means to develop digital literacies (Squire, 2003: 6; Giorgi & Myers, 2007; Papert & Resnick, 1995; Salen, 2007)  Situated understanding, development of “social practices, powerful identities, shared values, and ways of thinking of important communities of practice” (Shaffer, et al., 2005)  Participation, reflection, collaboration, and continuous feedback (Giorgi & Myers, 2007)  “seen as one way to address the lack of women’s involvement with technology” (Kafai, 2008: pp. 1) **
  7. 7. Gender Differences in Design  Boys  Adventure hunts & exploration  Characters with fantasy names (Zork or Sparzi)  Evil characters  Actions and weapons  Girls  Adventure, skill, puzzles, problem solving, sport, teaching/education, stories  Fewer characters (1-2)  More personal characters (“you”)  Relationships and emotions  Prefer collaboration Kafai, 1996, 2008; Gorriz & Medina, 2000; Peppler & Kafai, 2007; Peppler, 2008
  8. 8. Role of Mentors  “The lack of strong female role models is believed by some experts to be yet another reason for the gender gap in technology use between males and females.”  “the lack of female role models and female peers willing to engage in technical courses dramatically limits the number of girls willing to pursue activities that require technological abilities” (Pinkard, et al., 2008; pp. 3).  mentors play an important role in video game instruction by encouraging and instigating collaboration, reflection, and activities Pinkard, et al, 2009; An Educator’s Guide to Gender Bias Issues; Squire, 2003; Hawley et al., 1997
  9. 9. Research Questions  What types of video games do girls design?  How do video games designed by girls differ from those designed by boys?  How does the DYN program support and encourage girls to become game designers?
  10. 10. Methods  Observations  3 years (~80 hours) in afterschool pod  Classes observed in the spring of 2007 and in 2008 (~13 hours)  Pilot year not included in this analysis  Artifact-based interviews (14)  Mentor interviews (~20)  Student artifacts  Social network site archives
  11. 11. Analysis  Coded games by genre  Coded observation data thematically:  types of video games designed by girls  how DYN encourages and supports girls through the video game design process via discourse and instructional practices
  12. 12. Results  53 games created  40 afterschool or outside of school  13 in classes (2007)
  13. 13. Example 1 – 6th grade female I love simulation. I love human games, you know, like you can move the people around and everything”
  14. 14. Example 2 – 6th grade male
  15. 15. Games created in class (2007)
  16. 16. Mentor Influences on Game Design  Supporting females in game design & creation  Technical support  Developing interests and making connections  Encouraging girls to be game designers  Praising girls’ designs
  17. 17. Technical support Rachael is trying to have a car hit the woman. Sam tells Rachael that the costume should change when the car reaches a certain point. He says she could also have it so when one sprite touches the other sprite the costume changes. [He is referring to when the car touches the woman the woman's other sprite should appear. The woman goes from standing to a falling position]. Sam helps Rachael so the car is moving into the woman character. He showed Rachael how to reset the car to the beginning, so it starts in the same position each time. He also shows her how it should change costumes when the woman and car touch. John helps Rachael. He says, "Set costume"... and "go to arrow". (5/16/08 Video Game pod)
  18. 18. Developing interests & making connections Megan: what’s fun to you? Kelsey: doing hair Megan …ms pacman at the beauty store. Dan says that most games have a person, place or thing and a goal or objective. Dan: you’re the girl with the hair Dan suggests having a really expensive brush or something similar and the character has to collect gold brushes or mirrors. Megan: you gotta get to the checkout. Dan suggests having two characters. One with a fro and they have to get all of the brushes. Dan: when you win it changes characters [the hair goes from an afro to a different hair do]. Kelsey mentions having the character lose their hair. Dan says to exaggerate whatever she chooses.
  19. 19. Encouraging Students  When I arrive Megan is walking into the science room with Amy and Jen. Megan stops and makes a comment to the girls about how they need to represent the girls and show the boys that girls can make video games too. (9/20/07 Video Game pod).  Megan comments on how there are 3 girls and only one boy [from 7th grade]. She says the games don't have to be shooting and it can be something the students like. (11/15/07 Video Game pod)  Megan: the only way you're going to get games that girls want to play is what? A student says the need to be created by girls./ Megan says if the games are good enough they can sell them. (4/9/08 Video Game class).
  20. 20. Conclusions  Video games are becoming more recognized and accepted as tools for learning and teaching.  Girls create video games that look different than those of boys, but require equal levels of skill
  21. 21. Conclusions cont.  How does the DYN program support and encourage girls to become game designers?  Mentors play a role in getting girls interested in game design  Praise and encouragement without stereotyping
  22. 22. Next Steps& Further Research  What implications does this work have for encouraging teachers and afterschool instructors to use game design to teach content?  What literacies are students developing by designing video games? What content knowledge are they learning? How does an instructor balance teaching content and digital literacies?
  23. 23. Questions? Feedback?

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