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Yasmin Kafai

An overview of Yasmin Kafai's contributions to the field of Learning Technologies
by

Jessica Powers

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of Yasmin Kafai

Constructionism Gender in Gaming a learning technology research pioneer Yasmin Kafai Education •Diplompsychologie Technische Universität, Berlin , 1987
•Harvard University, Doctorate of Education, 1993 Teaching Career 1994-2008 UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
2008-current University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education My Most Cited Publications Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World
Minds in Play: Computer Game Design as a Context for Children's Learning
Scratch: Programming for Everyone "an approach to programming that ... appeal[s] to people who hadn't previously imagined themselves as programmers." -Kafai et al

core audience: ages 8-16

over 1000 new projects a day related to constructivist theory
learning occurs best when the learner creates a real world artifact (as opposed to a mental model) I collaborated with a team of researchers at MIT's Media Lab to develop Scratch
I currently conduct research studies with my team at the University of Pennsylvania about Scratch From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning
The Computer Clubhouse: Constructionism and Creativity in Youth Communities
Constructionism.
Playing and making games for learning: Instructionist and constructionist perspectives for game studies.
Games as interactive learning environments fostering teachers’ and students’ mathematical thinking.
Constructionism in practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World.
Minds in play: Computer game design as a context for children’s learning Select Constructionism Publications Select Gender in Gaming Publications Under the Microscope: A Decade of Gender Equity Interventions in the Sciences
Tech-Savvy Girls: Educating Girls in the Computer Age
Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming
"I always get stuck with the Books": Creating Space for Girls to Access Technology in a Software Design Project Scratch embodies the key principles of constructionism: it enables learners to create an artifact while learning, thus making the learning more effective.
"Many girls are not receiving the same kinds of opportunities to become technologically skilled as boys are."
"The extent to which girls learn to use cutting-edge technology and become participants in software design, or other computer communities will be influenced by experiences that they have had in their school lives."
"Girls' access to full participation in software design or other similar activities is thus important [... ]because participation affords girls a way to connect with the male-dominated practice of software design."
"Through creating new spaces in the design environment, we were able to provide opportunities for girls to gain technology access. We argue that such measures are necessary to facilitate girls' development of their own identities as participant members not only in the classroom computer community, but also in the technological community at large." "I always get stuck with the books" Preface: Pink, Purple, Casual, or Mainstream Games: Moving Beyond the Gender Divide (preface to Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat) "The chapters in this volume provide evidence that it is still critical to consider gender in order to understand and improve on the design, production, and play of games."
"... most games continue to replicate and perpetuate the gender stereotypes and inequities found in our society."
"The fact that girls and women now play games in increasing numbers is not an indication that the conversation about gender should end. Instead, more information is needed on which games they play, why, and with whom they play them, and whether they take advantage of in-game opportunities to generate, not just consume, game experiences." This text revisits the issue of female presence in the creation and play of video games 10 years after the publication of "From Barbie to Mortal Kombat." My peers and I believe that while the presence of women in the gaming culture has increased in size, the impact of their presence has yet to truly be realized in the design, production and culture of games. Individuals who play learn from the games, become fluent in the gaming technology and then thus are capable of participating professionally in a thriving industry. This entertainment field can be a learning opportunity, and needs to be accessible to all individuals, regardless of gender. Introduction: The Computer Clubhouse: A Place for Youth "The kind of project making promoted in the Computer Clubhouse Network takes on this role of objects-to-think-with, allowing members to engage with technology, problem solving, and artistic expression in profound ways."
"...Clubhouse artifacts or objects can be developed in an exploratory fashion..."
"In many ways, the Clubhouse represents a constructionist learning culture that creates a supportive space for its members to design, build and share their projects and ideas." Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World "...constructionism involves two intertwined types of construction: the construction of knowledge in the context of building personally meaningful artifacts."
"...games are a central part of the late 20th-century children's culture."
"Most importantly, students learned not only through design, but also about design, and reached a level of reflection that went beyond traditional school thinking and learning."

I strongly believe that digital media design is a powerful tool for learning. Students today are exposed to all sorts of media, and often interact within it. By empowering them to control the creation of a media artifact, be it a game, site or other project, we are enabling students to both control and expand their own learning.
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