Peter the fashionista? Computer programming games and gender-oriented cultural forms

Sarah AlSulaiman, Michael S. Horn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a study of two games designed to help elementary and middle school students learn computer programming concepts. The first game was intended to be "gender neutral", aligning with might be described as a consensus opinion on best practices for computational learning environments. The second game, based on the cultural form of dress up dolls was deliberately designed to appeal to girls. We recruited 70 participants in an international two-phase study to investigate the relationship between games, gender, attitudes towards computer programming, and learning. Our findings suggest that while the two games were equally effective in terms of learning outcomes, there were differences in motivation between players of the two games. Specifically, participants who reported a preference for girl-oriented games were more motivated to learn about computer programming when they played a game that they perceived as designed for girls. In addition, we describe how the two games seemed to encourage different types of social activity between players in a classroom setting. Based on these results we reflect on the strategy of exclusively designing games and activities as "gender neutral", and suggest that deliberately employing cultural forms, including gendered ones, may help create a more productive experience for learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI PLAY 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages185-196
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334662
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 5 2015
Event2nd ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI PLAY 2015 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Oct 5 2015Oct 7 2015

Publication series

NameCHI PLAY 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play

Other

Other2nd ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI PLAY 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period10/5/1510/7/15

Keywords

  • Children
  • Games
  • Gender
  • Identity
  • Learning
  • Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction

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