Exploring the Gender Differences of Student Teachers when using an Educational Game to Learn Programming Concepts

Exploring the Gender Differences of Student Teachers when using an Educational Game to Learn Programming Concepts

Eugenia M. W. Ng (The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong SAR, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch026
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Abstract

The gender differences have long been an issue in computer games, but there is very little empirical research on the behavior and performance of females and males when playing computer games. This chapter discusses an exploratory study that aimed to examine the gender differences between female and male student teachers who played an educational game to learn programming concepts. This study we adopted a self-made educational game called “Game”. Fifteen males and eighteen females finished playing a level of the Game. Female participants spent more time in the Game but their scores were lower. Female and male students also employed different strategies when playing the Game. The findings call for larger and longer research studies and perhaps a re-design of the Game to make it more appealing to females, in order to have a thorough examination on the gender differences when using an educational game to learn.
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Background

Computer games are broadly divided into two categories, namely action games and strategy games. Action games mainly require better eye-hand coordination to win whilst strategy games require better planning and critical thinking skills. Examples of action games include Super Mario and Half Life whilst strategy games include SimCity and Age of Empire. When playing games, players interact with the objects in the game and sometimes other players and to manipulate variables to solve specific problems. Educational games are one form of serious games as they are designed to address specific learning outcomes such as reinforcing some concepts or recalling of some facts. Sometimes, educational games are called edutainment.

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