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3 Games 4 Coding: Do Girls Feel Welcome?
Mittuniversitetet.
Mittuniversitetet.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Computer and Geospatial Sciences, Computer Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5791-4765
2023 (English)In: Proceeding of the 17th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2023), Valencia, SPAIN, 2023Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Learning games have become mainstream in many educational contexts, where one of them isprogramming education. Today there exists a wide variety of games where the players can learn aboutdifferent programming concepts. However, earlier research reports that far from all these games appealto a female audience. If game-based learning should reach the identified potential of a highly motivatinglearning environment, the game design must be an inclusive one where girls feel welcome. This studyexamines three games for learning fundamental programming in a test group with girls only in an after-school Maker community. The research question in the study was: "Which game design concepts dogirls find appealing?"

Data were collected through interviews with girls in a makerspace after testing 3 games on computerprogramming. The tested games were: Minecraft Education Code Builder, CodeCombat, andimagiLabs. The interviews focused on the girl’s perceptions of the games and of programming. Thematicanalysis with a six-phase process of coding were used to analyse the collected data and cluster thecodes in themes that supported in answering the aim and research question.

The study shows that all three games were perceived as engaging and that they supported developmentof programming skills. When asking which of the three games the girls would like to spend more timeon to learn programming, opinions were divided. The girls also disagreed on which type of gamegraphics they found most appealing. However, findings indicate that there are clear patterns in whatgame design concepts the girls find important. These patterns can be grouped in the followingcategories: Creativity, customisation, flow, reward and feedback, exploration and programming skills.Firstly, the game should encourage exploration and creativity in both playing and programming.Secondly, for the programming tasks to be fun and challenging it is important to keep players in a flowstate with help of rewards, instant feedback and a low threshold at start. Lastly, the possibility forcustomization and an engaging backstory were also appreciated by the girls in the study. These findingsare recommended to take into consideration in future game development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Valencia, SPAIN, 2023.
Keywords [en]
Game-based learning, Learning games, Inclusive design, Girls and games, Programming education
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-41224ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-41224DiVA, id: diva2:1745640
Conference
International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2023)
Available from: 2023-03-23 Created: 2023-03-23 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Humble, Niklas

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf