Hillary learning about games that can be used in her future biology classroom.

Hillary learning about games that can be used in her future biology classroom.

We have all seen the little comics and stereotypes about “gamer girls” and it seems to be a common opinion that video games are made for boys. I was given the special opportunity to learn first-hand that girl gamers are awesome and contribute a lot to education efforts when I recently attended the Games Learning Society Conference. The purpose of the conference was to learn more about educational video games. I was surprised to see so many women there! There were female game developers, college professors, K-12 teachers, game marketing professionals, students, and many other professions represented at the conference.

When I arrived at the conference, my knowledge of educational video games was not impressive. I was familiar with Oregon Trail and Zoombinis from elementary computer class, but that was about it. The conference presenters shared an overwhelming number of games and resources that can be used in a variety of education settings ranging from classrooms to museum exhibits. Many of the presenters and researchers were women who showed off their great educational contributions such as a game for teaching genetics by breeding dragons! One session, “Women at the Intersection of Learning, Games, and Design,” specifically focused on women in this industry. During the poster presentations I explored many newly developed games. Several of the game developers were teams of undergraduate women who created games on everything from nutrition to evolution. It was great to see so many of my peers presenting such impressive projects!

I left the conference with new experiences (such as battling vampires in a larp session) and knowledge of educational games. It was a great experience and so refreshing to see real life gamer girls. As I sorted through the tweets from the conference, I couldn’t help but notice this tweet: “Cant help but notice it’s mostly ladies tweeting – and winning – #GLSquest. ‘Sup dudes?” Looks like girls are making the games, and winning them too!

-Hillary Hanel
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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