Advertisement

Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 178–185 | Cite as

Digital Games, Gender and Learning in Engineering: Do Females Benefit as Much as Males?

  • Richard Joiner
  • Jo Iacovides
  • Martin Owen
  • Carl Gavin
  • Stephen Clibbery
  • Jos Darling
  • Ben Drew
Article

Abstract

The aim of this paper was to explore whether there is a gender difference in the beneficial effects of Racing Academy, which is a video game used to support undergraduate students learning of Mechanical Engineering. One hundred and thirty-eight undergraduate students (15 females and 123 males) participated in the study. The students completed a pre-test a week before they started using Racing Academy. The pre-test consisted of a test of students’ knowledge of engineering, and a measure of students’ motivation towards studying engineering. A week after using Racing Academy the students completed a post-test which was identical to the pre-test, except it also included a measure of how frequently they used Racing Academy and how motivating the students found playing Racing Academy. We found that after playing Racing Academy the students learnt more about engineering and there was no gender difference in the beneficial effect of Racing Academy, however there is some evidence that, female students found Racing Academy more motivating than male students. The implications for the use and design of video games for supporting learning for both males and females are discussed.

Keywords

Digital games Gender Learning Engineering 

References

  1. Bamett MA, Vitaglione GD, Harper KKG, Quackenbush SW, Steadman LA, Valdez BS (1997) Late adolescents’ experiences with and attitudes toward video games. J Appl Soc Psychol 27:1316–1334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barab S, Dede C (2007) Games and immersive participatory simulations for science education: an emerging type of curricula. J Sci Educ Technol 16(1):1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barab S, Dodge T, Tuzun H, Job-Sluder K, Jackson C, Arici A, Job-Sluder L, Carteaux R Jr, Gilbertson J, Heiselt C (2007) The Quest Atlantis Project: a socially-responsive play space for learning. In: Shelton BE, Wiley D (eds) The educational design and use of simulation computer games. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp 159–186Google Scholar
  4. Bruckman A, Edwards E, Elliott J, Jensen C (2000) Uneven achievement in a constructionist learning environment. Proceedings of ICLS 2000, Ann Arbor, MI, June 2000Google Scholar
  5. Bruckman A, Jensen C, DeBonte A (2002) Gender and programming achievement in a CSCL environment. Proceedings of CSCL 2002, Boulder, CO, Jan 2002Google Scholar
  6. Bryce J, Rutter J (2002) Killing like a girl: gendered gaming and girl gamers’ visibility. In: Mäyrä F (ed) Computer games and digital cultures—conference proceedings. University of Tampere Press, Tampere, Finland, pp 243–255Google Scholar
  7. Cassell J, Jenkins H (1998) Chess for girls? Feminism and computer games. In: Cassell J, Jenkins H (eds) From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: gender and computer games. MIT, Cambridge, pp 2–45Google Scholar
  8. Chou C, Tsai M-J (2007) Gender differences in Taiwan high school students’ computer game playing. Comput Human Behav 23(1):812–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coller BD, Scott MJ (2009) Effectiveness of using a video game to teach a course on mechanical engineering. Comput Educ 53:900–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deci EL, Ryan RM (1985) Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Plenum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Dede C, Barab S (2009) Emerging technologies for learning science: a time of rapid advance. J Sci Educ Technol 18(4):301–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dede C, Nelson B, Ketelhut DJ (2004) Design-based research on gender, class, race, and ethnicity in a multi-user virtual environment. Paper presented at the American educational research association, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  13. Department for Employment and Learning (2009) Report of the STEM review. http://www.delni.gov.uk/index/publications/pubs-successthroughskills/stem-review-09.htm. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  14. Dominick JR (1984) Videogames, television violence, and aggression in teenagers. J Commun 34:136–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Engineering UK (2009) Engineering UK 2009/10. http://www.engineeringuk.com/what_we_do/education_&_research/engineering_uk_2009/10.cfm. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  16. ESA. Entertainment Software Association (2009) Sales, demographic and usage data: essential facts about the computer and video game industry. http://www.theesa.com/archives/files/Essential%20Facts%202006.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  17. Federation of American Scientists (2006) Summit on educational games: harnessing the power of video games for learning. http://www.fas.org/gamesummit/. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  18. Funk JB, Buchman D (1996) Children’s perceptions of gender differences in social approval for playing electronic games. Sex Roles 35:219–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gee J (2003) What videogames have to teach us about learning and literacy. Palgrave, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Gee JP (2005) What would a state of the art instructional video game look like? Innovate 1(6). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=80. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  21. Greenberg BS, Sherry JL, Lachlan K, Lucas K, Holmstrom A (2010) Orientations to video games among gender and age groups. Simul Gaming 41(2):238–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heeter C, Winn B (2008) Gender identity, play style and the design of games for classroom learning. In: Kafai YB, Heeter C, Denner J, Sun JJ (eds) Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, pp 281–300Google Scholar
  23. Information Solutions Group (2006) Press release: women choose “casual” videogames over TV; 100 million + women now play regularly, for different reasons than men. Seattle, Washington. http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/press_release_A.htm. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  24. Jenkins H (1998) “Complete freedom of movement’’: Video games as gendered play spaces”, From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: gender and computer games. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Kafai Y (2001) The educational potential of electronic games: from games-to-teach to games-to-learn. http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/conf2001/papers/kafai.html. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  26. Kafai Y (2010) World of Whyville: an introduction to tween virtual life. Games Cult 5(1):3–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaplan SJ (1983) The image of amusement arcades and differences in male and female video game playing. J Pop Cult 16:93–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee S-J, Bartolic S, Vandewater A (2009) Predicting children’s media use in the USA: differences in cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. Br J Dev Psychol 27(1):123–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lenhart A, Kahne J, Middaugh E, Macgill AR, Evans C, Vitak J (2008) Teens, video games and civics. Pew internet and life project. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Teens-Video-Games-and-Civics.aspx. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  30. Littleton K, Light P, Joiner R, Messer D, Barnes P (1992) Pairing and gender effects in computer based learning. Eur J Psychol Educ 7(4):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Loftus GR, Loftus EF (1983) Mind at play. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Mayo MJ (2007) Games for science and engineering education. Commun ACM 50(7):31–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mayo MJ (2009) Video games: a route to large-scale STEM education? Science 323(79):79–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McFarlane A, Sparrowhawk A, Heald Y (2002) Report on the educational use of games. http://www.teem.org.uk/publications/teem_gamesined_full.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  35. National Science Board (2007) A national action plan for addressing the critical needs of the USA science technology, engineering and mathematics engineering system. National Science Foundation NSB/HER-07-9. http://nsf.gov/nsb/edu_com/report.jsp. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  36. National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics (2009) Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 2009, NSF 09-305, Arlington, VA; Jan 2009. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  37. Nelson B (2007) Exploring the use of individualized, reflective guidance in an educational multi-user virtual environment. J Sci Educ Technol 16(1):83–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rideout V, Roberts DF, Foehr UG (2005) Generation M: media in the lives of 8–18 year-olds [executive summary]. http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Executive-Summary-Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  39. Roberts DF, Foehr UG, Rideout V (2005) Generation M: media in the lives of 8–18 year-olds. Kaiser Family Foundation Study. http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/Generation-M-Media-in-the-Lives-of-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2010
  40. Ryan RM (1982) Control and information in the intrapersonal sphere: an extension of cognitive evaluation theory. J Pers Soc Psychol 45:736–750Google Scholar
  41. Shaffer DW, Squire KA, Halverson R, Gee JP (2005) Video games and the future of learning. Phi Delta Kappan 87(2):104–111Google Scholar
  42. Winn J, Heeter C (2009) Gaming, gender, and time: whom makes time to play. Sex Roles 61:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Joiner
    • 1
  • Jo Iacovides
    • 2
  • Martin Owen
    • 3
  • Carl Gavin
    • 4
  • Stephen Clibbery
    • 4
  • Jos Darling
    • 1
  • Ben Drew
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.MedrusUK
  4. 4.Lateral VisionsLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations