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Wednesday, June 17 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.18 - Women and gamification: Disassembling the gendered classroom

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This poster examines the literature in both traditional gaming and educational technology spheres, and uses feminist theory and user demographics to deconstruct enthusiasm for existing instructional gamification methods. Current literature shows that gamified learning environments, including systems using engagement tools such as badges, leaderboards, and so forth, can discourage female and female-identified students from participation or competition due to lack of familiarity, lack of representation, and perceived gender bias. Additionally, literature examining higher education instructional settings reveals that gamified online learning environments can disproportionately encourage male success and perpetuate stereotypes about female educational successes in spite of measured aptitude. Use of gamification elements like scoreboards, use of “violent language”, and mandatory self-identification can discourage and lead to the disengagement of female learners. Additionally, as males represent a disproportionate number of video gamers in their personal time, they are at a distinct advantage regarding video game mechanics, controls, and familiarity with competition structure. Conversely, some gamification methods, particularly those which encourage or facilitate community building, like discussion forums or other collaborative formats, can encourage female participation in online learning environments, and should be explored further to maximize student successes. Because gamification has been identified as a valuable tool to encourage engagement in learners across a broad population group, further research is needed to determine best next-steps for better encouraging female learner success without compromising long-established male learner successes in this type of learning environment.

Ahuja, M. K., & Thatcher, J. B. (2005). Moving beyond intentions and toward the theory oftrying: Effects of work environment and gender on post-adoption information technologyuse. MIS Quarterly, 29, 427–459.

Cassell, J., & Jenkins, H (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and computer games.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Christy, K., & Fox, J. (2014). Leaderboards in a virtual classroom: A test of stereotype threat andsocial comparison explanations for women's math performance. Computers &Education, 78, 66–77. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.05.005

Deterding, S., Björk, S., Nacke, L., Dixon, D., & Lawley, E. (2013). Designing gamification:Creating gameful and playful experiences. Proceedings of the CHI Conference on HumanFactors in Computing Systems: Changing Perspectives, Paris, France. 3263–3266.doi:10.1145/2468356.2479662

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

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