Category Archives: Gender

Paula (PJ) MacDowell’s PhD final oral exam @ Empowering Girls as Change Makers in Maker Culture: Stories from a Summer Camp for Girls in Design, Media & Technology

You are invited to
The Final Oral Examination
For the Degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
(Curriculum Studies)

PAULA (PJ) MACDOWELL
B.Ed, The University of Regina, 1995 MET,
The University of British Columbia, 2007

Monday, March 16, 2015, 12:30 pm
Room 200, Graduate Student Centre
Latecomers will not be admitted

Empowering Girls as Change Makers in Maker Culture: Stories from a Summer Camp for Girls in Design, Media & Technology

EXAM DETAILS
1. Exam Time: 12:30 PM on Monday, March 16, 2015 (Please arrive 5 minutes early, so the exam can begin promptly).
2. Exam Location: Room 200 of the Graduate Student Centre (Koerner Building, 6371 Crescent Road).

EXAMINING COMMITTEE
Chair:
Dr. Sandra Mathison (Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology)
Supervisory Committee:
Dr. Stephen Petrina, Research Supervisor (Curriculum Studies)
Dr. Franc Feng (Curriculum Studies)
Dr. Sandra Scott (Curriculum Studies)
University Examiners:
Dr. E. Wayne Ross (Curriculum Studies)
Dr. Laurie Ford (School Psychology)
External Examiner:
Dr. Ann Marie Hill
Faculty of Education
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario

ABSTRACT

This study investigates how girls develop new affinities towards and capabilities in media and technology. Thirty co-researchers, girls aged 10-13, were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of summer camps with learning labs in animation, game design, movie production, and robotics programming. The design studio setting, created by the How We Learn (Media & Technology Across the Lifespan) collective, offered girls their own makerspace to explore media and technology. A novel methodology was developed, the Tween Empowerment & Advocacy Methodology (TEAM), which emphasizes relational ethics through artifact production, storymaking, mind scripting, invention, and imagination. Highlighting the importance for youth voices to be recognized and given influence in the academic research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, the findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” (e.g., Lyotard’s petits récits) revealing the co-researchers’ experiences and expressions of girlhood-in-interaction-with-technology (the key unit of analysis).

This research addresses artifacts as they relate to stories made or examined by the team members, including our concerns, needs, talents, inspiration, literacy, and volition. The artifacts, such as music videos, robotic amusement park, and the momME alternate reality game, are catalytic for storymaking and, symmetrically, the stories are catalytic to artifact production and sharing. Four distinct yet interrelated elements characterize our fieldwork and designworks:

(1) agency (girls having influence and power)
(2) ingenuity (girls being clever and inventive)
(3) self-interpretation (girls making sense and significance)
(4) self-efficacy (girls judging their technological capabilities).

Findings underscore the statement that it is not really a question of whether girls like to design (most do), as much a matter concerning how, when, and why they learn to become innovators, leaders, and producers of media and technology (thereby overturning traditional gender and generational stereotypes). Indeed, how a group of female youth story changes in their sense of technological self-efficacy, self-interpretation, ingenuity, and agency is one of the most important contributions of this study. Questions, both guiding and emergent, are articulated in artifact and text to motivate further scholarly inquiry, action, and advocacy, thereby generating more opportunities for girls to participate in, design, make, and transform technology culture.

Research stories: A graduate forum #hwl #yreUBC #UBC #bced

RESEARCH STORIES: A GRADUATE FORUM

 How We Learn Media and Technology (across the lifespan)
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10:00-11:30     Scarfe 1209
Year of Research in Education event

GIRLS DESIGNING GAMES, MEDIA, ROBOTS, SELVES, AND CULTURE
Paula (PJ) MacDowell
University of British Columbia

This research involved 30 co-researchers, girls aged 10–13, who were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of intensive research camps offering learning labs in game design, video production, and robotics. Utilizing design-based and participatory techniques, including artifact production, mind scripting, and storymaking, this research examines how girls, through their artifact making and designerly practices, story themselves and express their understandings of technology. Highlighting the importance for girls’ voices to be recognized and given influence in research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” that reveal how a team of girls analyze their experiences of girlhood-in-interaction-with technology.

MIGRANT MEXICAN YOUTH IN THE PACIFIC NORTWEST
Mike D. Boyer
Boise State University

 What are the stories of migrant, undocumented Mexican youth, as they struggle with language and acculturation in the English-speaking rural Northwest? As Michael Boyer describes, his own study of a set of such stories takes as its starting point narratives written and illustrated by students in his grade 7-12 ESL classroom some 10 years ago. Of course, these stories subsequently diverge as they continue to the present, and as these former students, now adults, connect back to their earlier experiences and reflect on the relation of these experiences to the present. The collection and investigation of these stories, new and old, and their relationship to past realities and future possibilities offers startling insights into the experiences of those othered and marginalized as “immigrant Hispanic children” in America. At the same time, it also entails the creative combination or a range of narratological, political and cultural categories and modes of analysis.

DESIGNING THINGS, PRACTICES AND CONCERN FOR THE GOOD LIFE
Yu-Ling Lee
University of British Columbia

 This research examines the complex relationship between design, the sacred and online learning, framed by matters of concern. It is the culmination of a yearlong ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students in Vancouver. Focal concerns in the form of things and practices have disclosive power if they are designed for the good life. The task of the designer, then, is to purposefully move away from matters of fact towards matters of concern. The interviews were open-ended and based on a loosely structured set of questions about faith background, Internet usage, online spiritual experiences, and other factors. Conversations and participant observations were then analyzed as matters of concern.

Research stories: A graduate forum #hwl #yreUBC #UBC #bced

Research Stories: A Graduate Forum

 How We Learn Media and Technology (across the lifespan)
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10:00-11:30     Scarfe 1209
Year of Research in Education event

GIRLS DESIGNING GAMES, MEDIA, ROBOTS, SELVES, AND CULTURE
Paula (PJ) MacDowell
University of British Columbia

This research involved 30 co-researchers, girls aged 10–13, who were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of intensive research camps offering learning labs in game design, video production, and robotics. Utilizing design-based and participatory techniques, including artifact production, mindscripting, and storymaking, this research examines how girls, through their artifact making and designerly practices, story themselves and express their understandings of technology. Highlighting the importance for girls’ voices to be recognized and given influence in research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” that reveal how a team of girls analyze their experiences of girlhood-in-interaction-with technology.

MIGRANT MEXICAN YOUTH IN THE PACIFIC NORTWEST
Mike D. Boyer
Boise State University

 What are the stories of migrant, undocumented Mexican youth, as they struggle with language and acculturation in the English-speaking rural Northwest? As Michael Boyer describes, his own study of a set of such stories takes as its starting point narratives written and illustrated by students in his grade 7-12 ESL classroom some 10 years ago. Of course, these stories subsequently diverge as they continue to the present, and as these former students, now adults, connect back to their earlier experiences and reflect on the relation of these experiences to the present. The collection and investigation of these stories, new and old, and their relationship to past realities and future possibilities offers startling insights into the experiences of those othered and marginalized as “immigrant Hispanic children” in America. At the same time, it also entails the creative combination or a range of narratological, political and cultural categories and modes of analysis.

DESIGNING THINGS, PRACTICES AND CONCERN FOR THE GOOD LIFE
Yu-Ling Lee
University of British Columbia

 This research examines the complex relationship between design, the sacred and online learning, framed by matters of concern. It is the culmination of a yearlong ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students in Vancouver. Focal concerns in the form of things and practices have disclosive power if they are designed for the good life. The task of the designer, then, is to purposefully move away from matters of fact towards matters of concern. The interviews were open-ended and based on a loosely structured set of questions about faith background, Internet usage, online spiritual experiences, and other factors. Conversations and participant observations were then analyzed as matters of concern.

Brianna Wu: Rape and death threats against female gamers. Why haven’t men in tech spoken out? #GamerGate

Brianna Wu, Washington Post, October 20, 2014– They’ve taken down women I care about one by one. Now, the vicious mob of the Gamergate movement is coming after me. They’ve threatened to rape me. They’ve threatened to make me choke to death on my husband’s severed genitals. They’ve threatened to murder any children I might have.

This angry horde has been allowed to wage its misogynistic war without penalty for too long. It’s time for the video game industry to stop them.

Gamergate is ostensibly about journalistic ethics. Supporters say they want to address conflicts of interest between the people that make games and the people that support them. In reality, Gamergate is a group of gamers that are willing to destroy the women who have invaded their clubhouse.

The movement is not new. Two years ago, when Anita Sarkeesian tried to crowdfund a series of videos critiquing the hypersexualized female characters of video games, they threatened to kill and rape her. The movement reached fever pitch – and got its name — when a jilted former lover of indie game developer Zoe Quinn published transcripts of her life online. Gamers who were outraged over charges that Quinn’s game Depression Quest had received favorable reviews due to an alleged romantic relationship with a journalist, seized the opportunity to shame and terrify her into hiding. Now, Gamergate is a wildfire that threatens to consume the entire games industry.

The fact that Gamergate supporters went after Quinn and not the journalist says everything you need to know about the movement.

I became Gamergate’s latest target when I tweeted this joke about supporters of the movement:

BzhqC5sCYAAb8jR.png-large

The next day, my Twitter mentions were full of death threats so severe I had to flee my home. They have targeted the financial assets of my company by hacking. They have tried to impersonate me on Twitter. Even as we speak, they are spreading lies to journalists via burner e-mail accounts in an attempt to destroy me professionally.

We’ve lost too many women to this lunatic mob. Good women the industry was lucky to have, such as Jenn Frank, Mattie Bryce and my friend Samantha Allen, one of the most insightful critics in games media. They decided the personal cost was too high, and I don’t know who could blame them.

Every woman I know in the industry is terrified she will be next.

The culture in which women are treated this way by gamers didn’t happen in a vacuum. For 30 years, video games have been designed by men, marketed to men and sold to men. It’s obvious to anyone outside the industry that video games have serious issues with the portrayal of women. It’s not just oversexualized examples, such as Ivy of the Soul Caliber series. Games are still lazily falling on the same outdated tropes involving women. Princess Peach, of Nintendo’s Mario games, has been kidnapped in 12 separate games since 1985. Perhaps the most disturbing of all is the propensity of games to have women thoughtlessly murdered as a motivation for the male hero, such as Watch Dogs.

Read More: Washington Post

Feminist Critics of Gaming Facing Threats #GamerGate

Photo Jim Wilson, New York Times

Photo Jim Wilson, New York Times

Nick Wingfield, New York TimesOctober 15, 2014– Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their mouse to punch an image of her face.

Not until Tuesday, though, did Ms. Sarkeesian feel compelled to cancel a speech, planned at Utah State University. The day before, members of the university administration received an email warning that a shooting massacre would be carried out at the event. And under Utah law, she was told, the campus police could not prevent people with weapons from entering her talk.

“This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it,” said the email, which bore the moniker Marc Lépine, the name of a man who killed 14 women in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989 before taking his own life.

#HWL at STEM 2014

STEM2014-logo flowers

Researchers on the How We Learn (HWL) team are presenting in a symposium this afternoon at 3:00 at the STEM 2014 Conference.

Design and Engineering Cognition and
Design-Based Research

Stephen Petrina, Franc Feng, Mirela Gutica, Peter Halim, Yu-Ling Lee, Lesley Liu, PJ Rusnak, Yifei Wang & Jennifer Zhao

University of British Columbia

Symposium Chairs: Yifei Wang & Stephen Petrina

This symposium aims to generate discussion and understanding of design-based research (DBR) in design and engineering cognition. Seven empirical reports exploring design and engineering cognition or using DBR give the symposium depth and structure: Studies of 1) thirty tweenage girls in designing a mother’s day game, media, and robots; 2) fifteen elementary students testing a new educational video game; 3) nineteen young adults within an immersive virtual environment; 4) four teen students on the design of games; 5) six nursing students involved in a simulated learning environment; 6) Conceptual paper exploring technology and the “design” in DBR; and 7) Methodological paper connecting DBR with design and engineering cognition and ethical know-how. Arguably, new technologies along with a return of DIY or maker culture invite or configure everyone to employ inventive practices or “designerly ways of knowing.” Design now marks interaction with new technologies, making DBR increasingly important and relevant for STEM.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students by Peter Halim

Peter and research participants in focus group

Congratulations to Peter Halim for successfully defending his thesis titled “Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students”! Peter made the minor edits and closed his MA program, meaning that he will graduate in November. The thesis can be downloaded from the CIRCLE database.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students

Peter Halim

For this research, four high school aged teenagers participated in an intensive one week video gaming camp, at which time they articulated their attitudes and ideas about mainstream video games and their place in education. The purpose was to explore strategies for utilizing mainstream commercial video games for educative purposes in the classroom. The participants’ insights along with observations made on their interaction with video games were analyzed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation and the General Aggression Model. In summary, the participants, more or less experts in gaming, enjoyed video games and described them as one of their favourite activities. Furthermore, it was found that video games played both a positive and negative role in the participants’ lives. For example, all participants seemed to have developed healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their pre-adolescent years. Conversely, their responses also indicated that they experienced limits to video games and did not see innovation from market and home to school as a smooth, trivial process. Rather, they provided key insights into aligning specific games with specific content, curriculum, and courses. The participants’ insights suggest that the use of mainstream video games for learning will most likely continue to be a fringe strategy implemented by individual teachers who actively discern the educational uses of video games. Game and gaming literacies are among the most recent entries into new literacies research. This thesis contributes to this research by exploring teenagers’ ideas about gaming in the classroom. In conclusion, this study finds that mainstream video games have potential to be effectively used as learning strategies in the classroom in the future pending on continued progress and interest in this endeavor.

Marcia Braundy’s Men & Women and Tools

Technology Studies alumna and HWL friend, Marcia Braundy, is presenting and representing Men & Women and Tools.  The book began as Marcia’s PhD research and builds on her longstanding activism and feminism of masculinities.  In her PhD program, Marcia wrote a stage script for a play by the same title, which was ultimately performed by UBC drama students and screened in courses at UBC.

At the end of this month, Marcia will be presenting on the new book at the American Men’s Studies Conference in Minneapolis.  We are extremely proud of Marcia’s work and her research with the West Kootenay Women’s Association Digital History Project, who by the way, just launched a new digital history website.

Doll Web Sites Drive Girls to Stay Home and Play

Interesting article in the New York Times today about girls and social networking sites. The second page has some quotes from Sherry Turkle.