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Can a Serious Game Attract Girls to Technology Professions?

Pia Spangenberger, Felix Kapp, Linda Kruse, Martin Hartmann, Susanne Narciss

Abstract


In many European countries, women are still underrepresented in technology careers. For example, in Germany women represent less than 10% of those in technical vocational training with many factors influencing their occupational pathways. Among the reasons why young women may choose to avoid technology careers are (a) their low confidence in their own technical abilities; (b) the absence of female role models; and (c) a lack of interest in technology professions in general. In order to address these issues in a way that has the potential to counteract such deficits, we developed a serious game in the form of a point-andclick adventure in which pupils between the ages of 12 and 16 can work on technical tasks embedded within the story of a game. These tasks were taken from the vocational curricula in the field of renewable energies in Germany. The digital game, developed for computer and touch-screen devices, introduces female role models and teaches technical knowledge and competencies in a gender-sensitive way. The tasks (or game quests) include special feedback strategies that allow players to experience success and mastery. Furthermore, the adventure underlines the social relevance of renewable energies, as “social relevance” is a factor that young women in particular tend to take into account when making decisions about their future occupational directions. This article describes the game-design process, introduces the digital game Serena Supergreen and the Broken Blade, and reports on the initial findings from the evaluation of the effects of the game on its young participants.

 

 

 

 


Keywords


vocational education, technology, self-concept, serious game, career path, gender

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