Girls Create Games: Lessons Learned

[in preparation, abstract accepted]

Bernadette Spieler, Vesna Krnjic, Wolfgang Slany
Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
vesna.krnjic@ist.tugraz.at
wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

Abstract: Recent studies from all over the world show that more boys than girls play video games. The numbers are different for mobile gaming apps, where 65% of women are identified as gamers. Adapting gaming concepts or game design activities for academic purposes is a widely applied approach at schools or off-school initiatives, like CoderDojos or similar clubs, and is seen as a promising opportunity for all teenagers to learn coding in an entertaining way.  This raises two questions: First, do such game-based concepts also help those female students who do not play games in their leisure time? Second, do special girls’ game-design patterns exist, and what can we learn from them? Continue reading “Girls Create Games: Lessons Learned”

“Computer Science for all”: Concepts to engage teenagers and non-CS students in technology

[in preparation, abstract accepted]

Bernadette Spieler,  Maria Grandl, Martin Ebner, Wolfgang Slany
Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
maria.grandl@tugraz.at
martin.ebner@tugraz.at
wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

Abstract: Knowledge in Computer Science (CS) is essential, and companies have increased their demands for CS professionals. Despite this, many jobs remain unfilled. Furthermore, employees with computational thinking skills are required, even if they are not actual technicians. Moreover, the gender disparity in technology fields is a serious problem. Even if companies want to hire women in tech, the number of women who enter these fields is remarkably low. In Austrian highschools, most teenagers acquire only low-level skills in CS. Thus, they may never understand the fundamental concepts of CS, have unrealistic expectations or preconceptions, and are influenced by stereotype-based expectations.

Continue reading ““Computer Science for all”: Concepts to engage teenagers and non-CS students in technology”

Female Teenagers in Computer Science Education: Understanding Stereotypes, Negative Impacts, and Positive Motivation

[in peer review]

Bernadette Spieler, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria,
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
Libora Oates-Indruchova, University of Graz, Austria, libora.oates-indruchova@uni-graz.at
Wolfgang Slany, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

ABSTRACT
Although teenage girls engage in coding courses, only a small percentage of them plan to pursue Computer Science (CS) as a major when choosing a career path. Gender differences in interests, sense-of belonging, self-efficacy, and engagement in CS are already present at that age. This article presents an overview of gender stereotypes by summarizing the negative impressions
female teenagers experience during CS classes and also influences that may be preventing girls from taking an interest in CS. The study draws on published research since 2006 and argues that those findings point to the existence of the stereotypical image of a helpless, uninterested, and unhappy “Girl in Computing”.

Continue reading “Female Teenagers in Computer Science Education: Understanding Stereotypes, Negative Impacts, and Positive Motivation”

Intersectionality and Computer Science Education: Building sensitivity and awareness

 

Bernadette Spieler, Wolfgang Slany
Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

Abstract:

School is the only place that many young people will have the opportunity to engage with computer science (CS), to develop their knowledge, new ways of thinking and interest in this area.  However, to inspire and engage students is a challenge for teachers especially to empower those who experience exclusion in technology (e.g., girls). While initiatives such as girls-only events have had much success, they are limited; including only a small percentage of the population and are not realistic in mixed-gender classrooms. Moreover, most  students are not interested, or do not feel intrinsically motivated in learning about Computer Science (CS), thus, it is uncertain that they will join any tech related off-campus activities voluntarily or will not choose optional CS related subjects during their school time voluntarily.

Continue reading “Intersectionality and Computer Science Education: Building sensitivity and awareness”

A Customised App to Attract Female Teenagers to Coding

Bernadette Spieler, Wolfgang Slany
Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

Abstract: The number of women in IT-related disciplines is far below the number of men, especially in developed countries. Middle-school girls appear to be engaged in coding courses, but when they choose academic majors relevant to their future careers, only few pursue computer science as a major. In order to show students a new way of learning and to engage them with coding activities, we used the learning app Pocket Code. In the “No One Left Behind” H2020 European project, the app was evaluated in several school subjects. An evaluation of the attractiveness of the app shows that students were motivated by Pocket Code’s ease of use and its appealing design; however, girls rated the app less enthusiastically.

Continue reading “A Customised App to Attract Female Teenagers to Coding”

Learning to program in a constructionist way

Michael Lodi, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, Italy
Dario Malchiodi, Mattia Monga, Anna Morpurgo,  Università degli Studi di – Milano, Italy
Bernadette Spieler, Graz University of Technology, Austria

ABSTRACT
Although programming is often seen as a key element of constructionist approaches, the research on learning to program through a constructionist strategy is somewhat limited, mostly focusing on how to bring the abstract and formal nature of programming languages into “concrete” or even tangible objects, graspable even by children with limited abstraction power. However, in order to enable constructionism in programming several challenges must be addressed. One of the crucial diffi culties for novice programmers is to understand the complex relationship between the program itself (the text of the code) and the actions that take place when the program is run by the interpreter. Continue reading “Learning to program in a constructionist way”

Rock bottom, the world, the sky: Catrobat, an extremely large-scale and long-term visual coding project relying purely on smartphones

Kirshan Kumar Luhana, Matthias Mueller, Christian Schindler, Wolfgang Slany, Bernadette Spieler
Institute of Software Technology, Graz University of Technology, Austria

Abstract

Most of the 700 million teenagers everywhere in the world already have their  own smartphones, but comparativelyfew of them have access to PCs, laptops, OLPCs, Chromebooks, or tablets. The free open source non-profit project Catrobat allows users to create and publish their own apps using only their smartphones. Initiated in 2010, with first public versionsof our free appssince 2014 and47releases of the main coding app as of July 2018, Catrobatcurrently has more than 700,000 users from180 countries,is available in 50+ languages, and has been developed so far by almost1,000 volunteers from around the world(“the world”). Continue reading “Rock bottom, the world, the sky: Catrobat, an extremely large-scale and long-term visual coding project relying purely on smartphones”

Game Development-Based Learning Experience: Gender Differences in Game Design

Bernadette Spieler, Wolfgang Slany
Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at

Abstract: Learning theories emphasize the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators in curricula, and games are a promising way to provide both while constructing the game and presenting or sharing it in public or with a community. New technologies and the emerging mobile gaming sector further the case that learning should be promoted everywhere and anytime Continue reading “Game Development-Based Learning Experience: Gender Differences in Game Design”

Female Teenagers and Coding: Create Gender Sensitive and Creative Learning Environments

Bernadette Spieler, bernadette.spieler@ist.tugraz.at
Institute of Software Technology, Graz University of Technology, Austria
Wolfgang Slany, wolfgang.slany@tugraz.at
Institute of Software Technology, Graz University of Technology, Austria

Abstract

The number of women in technical fields is far below the average number of males, especially in developed countries. Gender differences in STEM are already present in secondary schools in students aged between 12 to 15 years. It is during this intermediate female adolescence that girls begin to make Continue reading “Female Teenagers and Coding: Create Gender Sensitive and Creative Learning Environments”