Archive for the ‘Inga’ Category

Judy Robertson is the third author in our Guest Blogger series. She’s a lecturer in computer science at Heriot-Watt University, and is Principal investigator on the EPSRC funded Adventure Author project. Since 2003 she has lead many game making workshops for children at the Edinburgh International Science Festival and for Edinburgh City Council. She’s got a few things to say about kids and games.

We have just finished an eight week project where a class of thirty 10 year olds made their own computer games as part of their normal ICT lessons. At the end of the project we asked the children to tell us about their experiences. Euan said “It was the best thing I’ve done.”; Jack noted “It was an opportunity. Not everyone gets to do this”; and Nadine, who normally struggles a bit with school said “It was so cool. I love it!” Her teacher was surprised at how capable Nadine was at making her game, and also how good she was at helping the other pupils. The project allowed Nadine to shine, and for others to see her in a new light.

But why is it the best thing that Euan has done in his (albeit short) life? And why doesn’t everyone get to do it? I’ve decided to go all evangelical and declare that making games should be for everyone. What’s more, it should be a regular part of normal classes in school. Not everyone can be a professional games developer of course, but everyone can learn from making a game, however humble.



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The lack of women working in the video games industry reflects the low percentage of women working in the IT industry. It is widely recognised that there is a decline in the number of women studying computer science and engineering, and that there is a need to attract more girls into technology based subjects.

The HEFCE is funding several initiatives to increase the number of students studying science and technology and part of this campaign is to implement and support effective programmes to boost female recruitment to IT.

The long-term view is that girls of a younger age need to be encouraged to take an interest in technology. Initiatives such as the Computer Club 4 Girls, which makes IT appealing to girls through creative projects, is clearly a step in the right direction.

The upside of these schemes is they will influence at school level and result in an increased number of girls who wish to study technology and computer related subjects. However, because these initiatives are targeting 10-12 year-olds, it is going to take another six to eight years before a generation of technology-savvy girls will be ready to apply to university. In an era of transnational education, this presents an interesting challenge for institutions offering technology and games-related courses.


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