StoryTeach is a project that was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal Science Learning (AISL) program from 2014 – 2017. StoryTeach was an exploratory project that investigated the role of story in promoting girls’ engagement with and learning from educational games. Our vision of Gram’s House rests on the importance of a motivating and appealing story as a means of making computer science concepts meaningful and relevant to the girls we seek to reach. Yet we know little about the actual value of story when combined with games for enhancing learning in computer science or in other fields.
Investigating the full range of different approaches to integrating story and games was beyond the scope of an exploratory study such as this one. Instead, we designed and assessed the impact of games to teach CS concepts in two different story conditions. The first was games contextualized within a fictional, or story setting, and the second was games integrated with an actual story-line with a plot and dramatic arc. We compared the impact of these game conditions to that of games alone, to determine whether either story condition significantly enhanced players’ learning and engagement.
While our ultimate goal is to develop a digital game, the resources required to design and create digital versions of games under these three conditions would be significant. Instead, for this project we designed and tested analog, or nondigital games. Developing and testing nondigital prototypes is a widely accepted and even recommended strategy in game design, allowing designers to focus on core design issues without the complications of technical constraints and tools. In addition, the analog games we developed are useful products in themselves, that can be used immediately in a wide range of informal learning settings.
PI: Elisabeth Gee, Arizona State University
CO-PI: Carolee Stewart-Gardiner, Kean University
Consultant: Gail Carmichael, Carleton University
Consultant: Lorraine Hopping Egan,, Hopping Fun Creations
PhD Research Assistant: Kelly Tran, Earl Aguilera, Dani Kachorsky, Priyanka Parekh, Arizona State University
Undergraduate Research Assistants: Stephanie Eordanidis, Stephanie Baron, Carla Casal, Maitri Chakraborty, Abidemi Olaoye, Kean University
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1421806. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.