Towards Inclusive Design in K-12 Serious Gaming: Examining Intersections of Gender, Race and Culture in Digital Games for Learning
Co-Principal Investigators: Yasmin Kafai, Brendesha Tynes, Gabriela Richard
The interest in serious gaming has increased exponentially in the last decade as evidenced by the number of policy initiatives, conference meetings and publications in industry and academia. Large-scale efforts supported by industry and foundations are now underway to develop and implement serious games for K-12 learning. Previous NSF-funded effort such as the workshop and book edition Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat (Kafai, Heeter, Denner & Sun, 2008) discussed some of these new trends in gender and gaming. Despite this growing acceptance of serious gaming and increased entertainment gaming across all demographics, a much-needed interrogation around issues of diversity, its intersections with gender, race/ethnicity and culture, and implications for serious gaming in K-12, has been largely absent. WeThis project includes a workshop and mentoring meetings for capacity-building purposes in conjunction with a public event and research publication for dissemination purposes, that will examine issues around gender, race/ethnicity, gender identity, and how they relate to serious gaming in K-12. In our workshop discussions, we adopted a comprehensive perspective including proponents of instructionist (i.e., playing games for learning), and constructionist (i.e., making games for learning) approaches to serious gaming. The goal of this effort was to articulate a framework of culturally and gender inclusive design that can inform the next generation of research and design in serious gaming by understanding and framing inclusive play, design, and pedagogy. In addition, we generated suggestions for policies on diversity and inclusivity for industry, academic and educational practice.