FIRE: Computer Game Design: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Underrepresentation in Computing

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The goal of this project is to increase diversity in computing fields by working across disciplines to engage a broader group of students in computational thinking during middle school. To this end, we focus on one area of computer science: computer game programming. There is both a professional development and a research component guided by two research questions: How can we strengthen or create new game authoring tools that truly engage middle school students in CT? Is a game authoring tool that allows students to create character, narrative, and dynamic relationships more engaging for underrepresented students than a tool without these features?


The study takes place in after school and community programs in both suburban and rural settings.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is comparative and will generate evidence that is descriptive [case study and observational} and associative [quasi-experimental]. The project collects original data using assessments of learning and survey research [self-completion questionnaire, focus groups, and semi- structured interviews]. Other data collected includes computer logging data and children's games.


Findings will be posted as they become available.

Other Products: 

The project is creating an improved game-authoring tool for middle school students.