Girls and Gaming

17 Jan

I found an interesting article about girls and gaming today.  The article states that 47% of gamers are girls.  I found this VERY hard to believe.  I don’t know of any girls that game whereas almost every boy/young man in my classes is a gamer. 

What’s interesting is that girls like the socialization of the online gaming environment.  When my son plays, he’s got a little community set up and they all wear headsets and talk about what’s happening in the game, plan strategies, etc.  I can see the appeal of this kind of interaction with both genders. 

The article goes on to talk about how we can use video games with strong social communities to get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  I really like this concept. 

““When we asked them about springs and levers, they had no understanding of why they were important in the real world,” Van Voorhis said. “But when we were able to situate those kinds of tools in a real-world context, where they were solving a problem that was directed towards social good, we saw the engagement numbers pop.”  girls were talking about physics or game play 76 percent of the time and were only off topic 5 percent of the time.”  Now that’s cool! 

When I taught programming with Scratch this summer to 10-13-year-olds, I had about 50% girls in the class.  They enjoyed the class and were very successful in the programs that I chose to have them write.  I found that to be unusual since we are really lacking in women in the computer field right now.  For whatever reason, computer careers are not appealing to women. 

I wonder – if we encouraged more STEM related games, will girls more likely choose computers as their career?

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One Response to “Girls and Gaming”

  1. bsburgess January 18, 2013 at 3:43 PM #

    It’s really interesting that the girls link the activity to accomplishing a social good. That probably is the key to girls and STEM. Learning engineering so they can design water systems to the needy countries, buildings for schools, traffic patterns for safer streets. GO GIRLS!

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