Jennifer Jenson's research while affiliated with Government of British Columbia, Canada and other places

Publications (109)

Article
Videogames are a dominant cultural, economic and creative medium in the twenty-first century, whose varied ecologies are increasingly recognized as particularly hostile environments to those identifying or identified as women. These ecologies include those encoded and enacted within the virtual environments of digital games, across the spectrum of...
Article
In this paper, we present the findings of a research study, working with 12 educators in a large urban school board in Ontario using Minecraft for 21st century competency development. We identify a number of pedagogical moves teachers made to support 21st century learning through communication and collaboration, both in the classroom and in the gam...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we report on a study of 32 teachers and their implementation of a digital game designed to support the human and physical geography curriculum in grades 7 and 8 in the province of Ontario, Canada. The purpose of the paper is to analyze and robustly represent the experiences of teachers who participated in the study, most of whom ha...
Chapter
Science fiction (SF), while enjoying unprecedented success in popular culture, continues to be an under-utilized resource in K-12 education. This chapter details the results of an in-school study on the use of SF in secondary school courses, examining how SF can be used as a pedagogical tool by educators to help students explore fictional futures i...
Chapter
This paper reports on an ongoing, 5-year, international feminist intervention research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, “Re-Figuring Innovation in Games”. The project includes researchers, students, game designers, community members, and video game companies in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. Its most...
Article
In this article, we present findings of a research study centered around a 10-week digital production workshop developed specifically for families in an urban school board, a population rich with culturally diverse immigrant families and English language learners (ELLs). The aim of this research was to support parents/guardians in an urban communit...
Article
This is an analysis of how Twitter played a significant, agentive and accountable role in the difficult birth and premature unravelling of a government-funded international feminist research network. We situate this case study and this process of initiation and annihilation within the broader context within which social media platforms are a critic...
Article
Making and maker spaces have attracted increasing attention as potential sites for supporting K-12 student learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and as a means of competency development for computational and design thinking as well as technological literacy. While interest in making and maker spaces is high, little em...
Chapter
While initiatives advancing STEM education are pervasive within the global landscape of educational reform today, STEM discourses and reforms largely fail to articulate or enact theoretical and epistemological shifts that critically conceptualize the impacts of science and technology in bio-physical and social worlds. The urgency to adopt STEM refo...
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Spatial abilities associated with success in educational and occupational fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have been repeatedly shown to be gendered, with males demonstrating measurably better spatial abilities than females. Less is known about why this is, or about how experience with spatial systems (videogames,...
Article
STEM education initiatives currently pervade the global landscape of educational reform. Unfortunately, the rush to adopt STEM reforms in North American schools and develop students for competitive 21 st century knowledge economies has encouraged an uncritical embrace of underlying STEM narratives and purposes, thus foreclosing critical discussion,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Historically, researchers have positioned MMORPGs as "training grounds" for leadership competences. This conceptual paper takes as its point of departure a reversal of contemporary literature on the transferability of leadership skills purportedly learned in MMORPGs to articulate new questions about how these games do not so much "mirror" organizat...
Chapter
Full-text available
Abstract: While recent educational research has focused on what/how people learn through playing digital games, there is less work focusing on what and how young people learn through game design and critical digital making. Drawing upon our own research and pedagogical interventions, this conceptual paper describes how digital gamemaking enacted th...
Chapter
Videogames have flourished economically and culturally in the first two decades of the twenty-first century and their educative possibilities have concomitantly been both lauded and elusive. Yet a relatively scant literature to date examines videogames through philosophical lenses, including but not limited fundamental questions of ethics, ontology...
Article
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Videogames have long been lauded for their potential to increase engagement and enhance learning when used in classrooms. At the same time, how to best evaluate learning presents challenges, especially when the game does not have standardized assessments built-into it and when games are taken up in a wide variety of ways in quite diverse contexts....
Article
Cambridge Core - Computing and Society - Social Interactions in Virtual Worlds - edited by Kiran Lakkaraju
Poster
Full-text available
Maker-based learning environments are beginning to infiltrate progressive education to incite technological creativity in young children. While a growing body of evidence indicates important potential for the use of digital game design as a pathway to increased computational knowledge, some suggest that maker-based curriculum may only provide such...
Article
Full-text available
The designation “gamer” is structurally bound to networked economies of digital play that are rewarded fiscally, socially, and publically, an order of play that is proving difficult to overturn. That girls and women have enjoyed at best marginal positions within video game cultures is by now well recognized, yet at the very same time is too easily...
Article
This research traces the shift from stand-alone, personal blogging toward professionalized use of social media. To exemplify this process, we draw attention to the transition from pseudonymous to identifiable authorship in feminist blogging. This transition toward professional digital presence is important for two major reasons: first, it reveals h...
Conference Paper
In the U.S., a study by the National Research Council (2011) argued broadly for the educational potential of videogames and their application in classrooms. That work, and much that pre- and post-dated it has focused on the educational potential of playing digital games, rather than designing digital games as a potential pathway to computational an...
Data
Tables 1 & 2 from Designing, Tinkering and Making: Implementing Digital Games in Classroom Contexts
Article
An ongoing challenge of 21st century learning is ensuring everyone has the requisite skills to participate in a digital, knowledge-based economy. Once an anathema to parents and teachers, digital games are increasingly at the forefront of conversations about ways to address student engagement and provoke challenges to media pedagogies. While advanc...
Article
Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) have been a fruitful venue to study social interactions ranging from small temporary groups, to larger more permanent in-game social collectives such as guilds or clans. Much of this literature is focused on strangers becoming friends through MMOG play; comparatively, little is known about gameplay-based i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Studies on game construction pedagogy (GCP) indicate compelling links between game construction and increased confidence in computational literacy for middle and high school students. However, research continues to demonstrate sex-based differences related to computer programming confidence and STEM-related educational and career choices – girls an...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we present a study of 182 youths (ages 9 - 17) playing a closed-system Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG), Guardian Academy. Its purpose was to investigate the online virtual world behaviours of youth under the age of 18 playing in an educational setting. We report on a mixed-methods study of minor players in situ across eight...
Conference Paper
TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY: AN INQUIRY INTO HYBRID PEDAGOGIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION J. Jenson ¹, N. Dahya ², M. Sengara ¹ 1York University (CANADA) 2University of Washington (UNITED STATES) Hybrid, or blended teaching and learning – where courses are delivered with both face-to-face (F2F) and online elements – is quickly becoming the new norm in High...
Article
There is a great deal of enthusiasm for the use of games in formal educational contexts; however, there is a notable and problematic lack of studies that make use of replicable study designs to empirically link games to learning (Young, et al., 2012). This paper documents the iterative design and development of an educationally focused game, Compar...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we examine what and how intermediate age students learned from playing in a health-focused game-based digital learning environment, Epidemic. Epidemic is a playful interactive environment designed to deliver factual knowledge, invite critical understanding, and encourage effective self-care practices in dealing with viral contagious...
Article
This article examine some of the ways in which girls are discursively set up as subordinate in relation to boys and men by and within the digital games industry and culture at large, and how they push back on these imposed subjects positions when engaging in media production (game development) under both regular and inverse conditions. Expanding on...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) player data has been used to investigate a variety of questions, ranging from the sociality of small groups, to patterns of economic decision making modeled across entire game servers. To date, MMOG player research has primarily drawn on data (e.g. server-side logs, observational data) collected while player...
Conference Paper
Avatar customization is available in many games, but as yet there is no analytical framework capable of enabling systematic comparison between games. To investigate this issue, we present our novel analytical framework, referred to as the Avatar Affordances Framework. To model the framework, we analyze the character creation interfaces of 20 games....
Article
This article explores the play practices of EVE Online industrialists: those primarily responsible for generating the materials and equipment that drive the game’s robust economy. Applying the concept of “immaterial labor” to this underattended aspect of the EVE community, we consider the range of communicative and informational artifacts and activ...
Article
In this article, the authors discuss findings from a digital media production club with racialized girls in a low-income school in Toronto, Ontario. Specifically, the authors consider how student-produced media is impacted by ongoing postcolonial structures relating to power and representation in the school and in the media production work of Musli...
Article
Experience playing video games has been associated with perceptual and cognitive improvements (e.g., Castel, Pratt, & Drummond, 2005; Boot, Kramer, Simons, Fabiani, & Gratton, 2008; Colzato, van den Wildenberg, & Hommel, 2013; Oei & Patterson, 2013) For instance, video gamers show superior spatial abilities than non-gamers (Greenfield, Graig, & Loh...
Article
Video game playing has been associated with improvements in cognitive abilities that predict success in STEM fields, and therefore understanding this relationship is important. In two experiments, we used a virtual Morris Water Maze (VMWM) with and without proximal cues to measure spatial learning as a total of 82 video game experts and novices com...
Article
This article sets out a new analytic framework for the systematic analysis of character creation interfaces (CCIs) in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) and Virtual Worlds (VWs), the Avatar Affordances Framework. To model this framework, we present an analysis of the CCIs from Rift (Trion Worlds 2011) and explore the pragmatics of avatar cu...
Article
In this article we describe an investigation of player expertise deployed as part of a mixed-methods longitudinal, multi-site study that examined whether and how players’ offline characteristics are recognizable in their online interactions in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). After detailing our methodology and analytical toolkit, we nar...
Article
As more of our lives are spent online, often in environments in which we interact with others through virtual characters (“avatars”), there remains a gulf between how player practices are documented and theorized, and the complex gendered identity work players actually carry out. This paper draws on a mixed-methods study of Massively Multiplayer On...
Article
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Building upon a recent call to renew actor-network theory (ANT) for educational research, this article reconsiders relations between technology and educational theory. Taking cues from actor-network theorists, this discussion considers the technologically-mediated networks in which learning actors are situated, acted upon, and acting, and traces th...
Article
Using Goffman’s ‘keys and frames’ as an analytical framework, this article explores depictions of massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) players in newspaper coverage, popular media (South Park and The Big Bang Theory), and Web-based productions (The Guild and Pure Pwnage) and player reactions to these largely stereotypical portrayals. Following...
Conference Paper
Avatar customization is a feature common to many games, yet a number of character creation interfaces are highly problematic in how they mediate and constrain self-representation. In order to investigate this issue, we present a new analytic framework for the systematic analysis of character creation interfaces in games. To model this framework, we...
Chapter
Gender and feminism are inextricably linked, as a feminist approach has gender as an analytical focal point. In games, this has meant challenging persisting biological determinist approaches that cast women and girls as less able than their male counterparts when it comes to both making and playing games. It has also meant tracing and documenting t...
Article
As research on virtual worlds gains increasing attention in educational, commercial, and military domains, a consideration of how player populations are ‘reassembled’ through social scientific data is a timely matter for communication scholars. This paper describes a large-scale study of virtual worlds in which participants were recruited at public...
Article
In this paper, we identify how and why digital media production can contribute to the active participation of children in education and also consider how much of the existing work in this area is framed as a ‘miraculous’ answer to educational challenges without critical interrogation of either the process or product. To begin, we identify some of t...
Article
This article identifies a set of persistent methodological and theoretical challenges to research on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), and to studies of virtual worlds more generally. Critically examining some of the ontological, epistemological and ethical lacunae and, in some cases, missteps that characterize well-respected, well-public...
Article
Simulations and games are not new artifacts to the study of science in secondary school settings (Hug, Kriajcik and Marx 2005), however teachers remain skeptical as to their value, use and appropriateness (Rice 2006). The difficulty is not only the design and development of effective play environments that produce measurable changes in knowledge an...
Article
It's a now familiar refrain among both players and academics that healing is a 'feminine' activity and tanking a 'masculine' one within Massively Multiplayer Online Games. In this paper we present data from a multi-site study of World of Warcraft and Rift that examines this stereotype across novice and expert players. Our findings suggest that gend...
Article
This paper addresses a set of persistent methodological and theoretical challenges to research on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), and to studies of 'virtual worlds' more generally. Critically examining some of the ontological, epistemological and ethical missteps that characterize well-respected, well-publicized and oft-cited research,...
Article
This paper documents the use of a multimodal data collection tool developed for research on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). Addressing a central problem of qualitative research on MMOGs - how to document the activities of players' domestic, everyday/everynight play practices - we describe how the virtual 'travelogue' allows participants...
Article
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In this paper, we consider the impacts of game addons on conventional notions of game-based expertise in World of Warcraft, through the analysis of 37 travelogues - a data collection tool designed for use in MMOG research. We adopt a multi-faceted definition of gaming expertise as described by Taylor, Jenson, De Castell and Humphrey [33] and we app...
Chapter
In the context of diminishing opportunities for music learning in formal education, our team of educational researchers was given the opportunity to create a learning game for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, Canada. In this chapter, we document the design and play-testing of a Flash-based Baroque music game, Tafelkids: The Quest for Ar...
Conference Paper
With the increasing popularity of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Maple Story, attempts have been made to define and measure player expertise both within and across online games. Apart from nuanced ethnographic accounts of elite players, which are deliberately localized and small-scale, studies...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Extending Corneliussen's [2008] study of the gender disparity of World of Warcraft Non-Player Characters (NPCs), this paper examines the relationship between sex and profession of NPCs in in the same game. Because NPCs are understudied to date, we attempt to show where and how normative frameworks are, even if unintended, working very much to margi...
Article
Full-text available
Extending Corneliussen's [2008] study of the gender disparity of World of Warcraft Non-Player Characters (NPCs), this paper examines the relationship between sex and profession of NPCs in in the same game. Because NPCs are understudied to date, we attempt to show where and how normative frameworks are, even if unintended, working very much to margi...
Article
This paper reports on findings from a three-year, Canadian federally funded research project entitled “Education, Gender and Gaming” in which we documented the play practices of girls and boys playing console-based games. We show, in particular, how many of the presumptions and assumptions about “girls playing games” simply do not hold over time, o...
Article
Full-text available
This paper documents the design, development, and extensive play-testing of a Flash-based Baroque music game, “Tafelkids: The Quest for Arundo Donax”, focusing on the tension between constructing an online resource that an audience aged 8-14 would find fun and engaging, and the directive to include historical information and facts, as well as conve...
Article
With the increasing popularity of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Maple Story, attempts have been made to define and measure player expertise both within and across online games. Apart from nuanced ethnographic accounts of elite players, which are deliberately localized and small-scale, studies...
Article
In this paper we explore the gritty terrain of academic dis/honesty as it is currently being reformulated through new technological affordances. We examine in depth the purchasing of technologically enabled plagiarism detection ‘services’ by higher education institutions in an effort to better understand underlying assumptions about epistemology, l...
Article
This review of gender and gameplay research over the past three decades documents a set of persistent methodological repetitions that have systematically impeded its progress since the inception of this trajectory of research. The first is, in fact, a refusal to consider gender at all: Conflating gender with sex impedes possibilities to identify no...
Article
In this case study, we document the development and user-testing of Epidemic: Self-care for Crisis, an online educational resource that invites users (aged 14--20) to develop game-based knowledge and practices around prevention, self-care and (mis)information in the face of contagious diseases -- a timely project, given the ongoing anxieties, and f...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we make use of the theoretical resources of actor network theory as a 'frame' within which to organize video data we have been collecting on playing, and more specifically, on girls learning to play, digital games. Through a microanalysis of interaction, we closely examine intersecting trajectories of control --self, other, and techno...
Article
This paper attempts to tell a story of a different kind about gender and digital gameplay. Resisting the repetition of stereotypes about who plays, how and why, we show how, as researchers, our own assumptions and presumptions about gender keep surprise at bay, enforcing instead "findings" that solidify an inner "truth" about gender. Re-citing hege...
Article
As professors working in faculties of education for the past ten years researching digital gameplay and the design and development of games for education, the authors have often been asked whether digital games are good or bad for children. The discourse of good/bad is a slippery one and the authors believe that digital games, like television, film...
Conference Paper
This paper documents the design and development of a Flashbased Baroque music game, "Tafelkids: The Quest for Arundo Donax", focusing on the tension between constructing an online resource that an audience aged 8--14 would find fun and engaging, and the directive to include historical information and facts, as well as convey some of the sounds, mus...
Article
This article documents the design and development of an online tutorial for student and practising teachers at York University, Canada, that familiarizes them with the ethical and legal aspects of teaching. In particular, it focuses on the key design decisions that were made, emphasizing how these were also deeply pedagogical considerations, includ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is about the persistent absence of critical interpretation in work focused on gender and gameplay. Since its beginnings, research (and resulting practice) in this area has moved little if at all from the early work in the path-breaking Cassells and Jenkins volume dedicated to girls and gaming. In the currently very well-regarded and oft-...
Article
This paper documents the development of an educationally focused web-based game, Contagion, detailing how such a practical development project has led us to re-theorize questions about what is "educational," and how and in what ways that relates to the ludic. With reference to and within the framework of design-based research, we detail here the ch...
Article
This paper reports on findings from a three-year, Canadian federally funded research project entitled "Education, Gender and Gaming". Our study of gender and digital game-playing was driven by two significant factors: first, that far more boys than girls play video games, and boys' early and sustained experience with gaming places them at an advant...
Article
With the large-scale acquisition and installation of computer and networking hardware in schools across Canada, a major concern has been where to locate these new technologies and whether and how the structure of the school might itself be made to accommodate these new technologies. In this paper, we suggest that the physical location and organizat...