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Play with Purpose: Exploring digital games to encourage gender equity in STEM

Zawada, Patricia (2022) Play with Purpose: Exploring digital games to encourage gender equity in STEM. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Zawada, Patricia

Playing digital games is one of the most popular activities amongst youth today. Research studies have connected young women who participate in digital games as three times more likely to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Although STEM skills are considered essential for the future of an innovative society, there exists a gap of the women represented in these fields. Exploring digital games provides a potential solution to closing this gap, however the digital games environment is not as inclusive for women as it could be.

As a result, this research focuses on utilizing digital games to support STEM education for young women in Canada. The research begins with a literature review, anonymous survey, semi-structured interviews, and a co-creative workshop to understand the experiences of women in digital games and STEM in Canada today, and to structure these insights through a Deconstruction:Reconstruction process. Systems mapping and foresight tools were also used to generate a desired future and guide strategic recommendations.

Insights suggest a desire for education on digital etiquette and the development of a digital space where young women can practice building confidence while having their voices heard. Three opportunity spaces were identified as key leverage points to intervene within the digital game system, including opportunities between Educational, Recreational and Gaming Industry subsystems. These opportunity spaces were further established as two recommendations that provide strategic initiatives for educational institutions to engage with digital games, involving different stakeholders in the system. By changing the experiences women currently have while engaging in digital games, perhaps more women would be inclined to participate in play and therefore engage in STEM fields.

Date: 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital games, STEM, education, gender equity
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 14:41
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 14:41
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3773

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