Organizers

    Yasmin Kafai

    Yasmin Kafai, an associate professor at UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, just organized in 2004 the Sixth International Conference of the Learning Sciences, a meeting for over 300 international researchers. She has conducted extensive research and policy work on gender issues in IT and produced the report Under the Microscope: A Decade of Gender Equity Interventions in the Sciences for the Educational Foundation of the American Association of University Women (2004) and participated in the report Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the Computer Age (AAUW, 2000) and many research papers on educational games and learning. She is author of the book Minds in Play: Computer game Design as a Context for Children’s Learning and Constructionism in Practice (1995) co-edited with Mitchel Resnick. She currently has two NSF-funded studies pertaining to the workshop: (1) a study of a multi-player online science site for children and (2) a development of a media-rich design environment for underprivileged youth.

     

    Carrie Heeter

    Carrie Heeter is a professor of Digital Media Design in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University where she also directs the Communication Technology Laboratory and is Creative Director for Virtual University Design and Technology.  Heeter has been creating and studying interactive media experiences since 1989.  In 1995 she won Discover Magazine’s software innovation of the year award for the Personal Communicator software.  The associated web site continues to attract more than 9,000,000 visitors per year.  Her recent design projects focus on games for learning.  She currently has two NSF-funded studies pertaining to the workshop: (1) design of a science learning game with several variations for use in experimental research on the relationship between gender, play style, and learning outcomes and (2) extending conceptualization and understanding of play patterns, gender, and learning in educational games through interviews with 25 game designers about their observations throughout years of playtesting learning game products. Heeter was PI of the NSF-funded Girls As Designers study comparing process and products of girl and  boy-designed games.

     

    Jill Denner

    Jill Denner is a Senior Research Associate at Education, Training, Research Associates, a non-profit agency in California. She currently has NSF funding to develop, implement, and study an after school and summer program that puts middle school girls in the role of game designers and programmers. Her initial publications from that project will appear in the Encyclopedia of Gender and IT and the journal Frontiers. She has been invited to present her work at national conferences and workshops on positive youth development, with a focus on gender. She is also editing a book of research on the positive development of Latina girls in the US, to be published by NYU Press in 2006.

     

     

    Jen Sun

    Jen Sun is President and one of the founders of Numedeon, Inc, the company that launched Whyville.net.  Whyville is an educational virtual world targeted at children ages 8 to 14 with 1.3 million registrants and 25,000 unique visitors daily, two-thirds of which are girls.  NSF has funded two research studies on Whyville.  She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Caltech and has published in Natureand Nature Neuroscience on visual perception.  Prior to Numedeon, she was a founder of Learning.net and the director of educational development at Electric SchoolHouse.