CAP: Towards Inclusive Design of Serious Games for Learning

PIs: Yasmin Kafai, Brendesha Tynes, Gabriela Richard
University of Pennsylvania
Award Details

Serious games and games for learning are designed to foster learning or engagement with real-world events or processes or for solving complex problems. Citizen involvement in serious games and games for learning has increased exponentially in the last decade. At the same time, it is becoming clear that these activities can play an important, possibly profound, role in fostering learning if they are designed and used well to do that. When students engage in game design, this can also be important for fostering participation and learning — in computing and other STEM disciplines, and beyond. But little is known about how to take into account gender and ethnicity in integrating games for learning into educational activities. This workshop will focus on special research issues in designing games for learning and effectively using them to foster STEM engagement and learning among two populations under-represented in STEM — women/girls and minorities. The team will also deliver a set of talks based on the workshop and will produce an edited volume that will present the results of the workshop to the many different research, development, and education communities that can benefit from understanding gender and ethnicity issues in fostering learning, the challenges in addressing those issues, what is already known about addressing those issues, and what still needs to be learnrd to address them more fully and put what is known into practice.

Serious game play and game design have both been shown to foster excitement about STEM and STEM learning when designed and used well for those purposes. The PIs aim to better understand how to broaden participation of minorities and women in computational thinking and computing and to help those populations become more interested and conversant in STEM topics. There is much research that shows the potential for serious games to foster such engagement and learning, and their focus is on how to use such resources well in fostering participation and learning among girls and minority groups under-represented in computing and other STEM disciplines. They will bring together researchers whose expertise is design of serious games and games for learning, public policy researchers focused on education and broadening participation, and people from industry at a workshop aimed toward framing interactions across gender, race, and ethnicity to advance understanding of gender and ethnicity-related issues in learning through serious game play and game design.

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