Electronic Games for Education in Math and Science (E-GEMS) is a large-scale research project designed to increase the proportion of children who enjoy learning and mastering mathematical concepts through the use of electronic games. This paper describes one piece of research that examines how girls interact within an electronic games environment. Three interrelated questions are addressed in this paper: What interest do girls show in electronic games when the games are presented in an informal learning environment? How do girls play and watch others play? How does the presence of others in the immediate vicinity influence the ways that girls play?
The research described was conducted at an interactive science museum, Science World BC, during the summer of 1993. Children were observed while they played with various electronic games, both video and computer. In addition, interviews were conducted with the children and timed samplings were recorded. Our observations and interviews show that girls have an interest in electronic games and enjoy playing. Girls were particularly interested when given the opportunity to socially interact with others. In addition, they indicated a preference for playing on computers over video game systems.
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