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Gender Differences in Student-Designed Games

Mauro André, Peter Hastie



 Given the concern of presenting physical education environments that promote equity, it is appropriate to study innovations that can achieve that goal. In this study, that innovation took the form of student-designed games (SDG). SDG is the process in which students create, practice, and refine their own games and in which the teacher acts more as a facilitator. In this project, we focused the influence of gender on two main topics with a cohort of 82 junior high school students in ten 75-min lessons over 5 weeks. These topics were (a) enjoyment and engagement and (b) game design outcomes. The research was conducted under case study design and involved three sources of data (field notes observations, focus group interviews, and survey). The quantitative data indicated that although all students appreciated the opportunity to design their own games, girls enjoyed the SDG process more than boys did. Further, from the interviews and observations, three themes related to students’ enjoyment/engagement were generated and a notable difference was observed in terms of game design outcomes. The students said that they “enjoyed being able to work with groups chosen by themselves,” that they did not believe that “boys and girls work well with the opposite sex,” and that “playing games with your own group members is preferable.” In terms of game design outcomes, girls created more ludic games, whereas boys created more strategic games. These findings show that SDG may be a powerful mechanism for empowering girls within physical education.

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student-designed games; models-based practice; gender; physical education

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