I first became interested in this article because of my previous experience with games. I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters, it was interesting seeing our preferences in video games. When it comes down to a person’s gender, there are differences in what females and males prefer, which may play into how much learning is actually occurring.
The article I read examined/tested 158 students from Amsterdam, ranging in age from 12-16 years of age. There were individuals who learned information while using a mobile device and those who did not. The moderators in this trial were hoping to examine the gender differences when engaged in game-based learning.
According to Wilfried Admiraal,
“Boys not only spend more time playing games than girls, they also prefer to play different kinds of games. Boys tend to prefer action games (First Person Shooters, fighting, and sports games), while girls show a preference for playing simulations (virtual world and virtual life games) and puzzle games.”
I would have to agree with this. While my brothers opted for Twisted Metal and Resident Evil, I tended to like less violent, more puzzle like games. Social influences are most likely to blame for this in my opinion.
If a little girl plays with Barbie and Ken in a play house, I think she will probably later in life gravitate more towards playing the Sims than something sports based. It is not as if parents have to stick to these sort of gender stereotypes, but often the pink fuzzy things end up with girls and more violent and action based toys are associated with boys. Are peers a contributing factor in this? It is difficult to decide on what the overarching factor is. People have the natural tendency to want to fit in with others (for the most part).
According to Wilfried Admiraal,
The most notable differences are that “girls favour games with a focus on collaboration, community, rich narrative, creativity, and positive actions and boys prefer games with a focus on competition, individual use, drill and practice, dexterity…”
This study did have some notable gaps in the process. They used a phone and “regular ” learning environment to do this experiment. There is not necessarily one type of technology that works best for everyone. Mac’s, PC’s, phones, tablets, and TV’s all appear to provide a vastly different learning/playing experience. If I were to resign this, I would try to incorporate more technological components to my experiment.
It is no surprise that a blend of different learning strategies is the recommended strategy in presenting information. Whereas creative open play may be more interesting to girls, problem solving and strategy may be the best way to grab a young boy’s attention.
After reading this article, I am interested in the difference between children who grow up with limited technology in their lives versus children who are fully engaged into technology. Growing up in the 80’s I do not remember watching much TV. I was constantly playing outside as a child. Clearly it’s a generational thing. Young children appear glued to technology as young as a year or two old. I am not suggesting by any means that this is a negative thing, but it certainly seems like the more convenient option (the old hand your child an IPad).
I suppose time will tell what will create a more educated and productive society.