A collaborative, NSF-funded research and development effort led by Hofstra University, the iDesign project seeks to develop technological fluency and raise interest in STEM-related activities and careers among underrepresented minority youth by supporting them in the creation of interactive, “serious” computer games that are culturally and socially relevant. Ten public secondary schools in New York City and suburban Long Island are partnering on the project, most serving high-needs, low-income communities. These schools have indicated that they are motivated to create rich new learning environments that will improve their students’ strategic thinking, communication skills, intellectual understanding, and appreciation for STEM learning.
The project’s overall aim is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and motivation they will need to participate productively in the STEM workforce. The three-year project will involve hands-on, interactive after-school activities for students, a dynamic summer camp experience to train student leaders, a summer institute in which teachers will work with college faculty to acquire understanding of game-based pedagogy, and activities in which students will learn about future career paths in game design and other STEM majors.
EDC researchers manage the process, formative, and summative evaluations for the iDesign project. EDC’s responsibilities include quantitative and qualitative data collection, data management, data analysis, and reporting. Three questions guide the methods, procedures, and analysis for the 3-year evaluation of the iDesign project:
1. Due to their participation in the project, what changes, if any, occur in middle-school–aged students’ technological fluency, specifically in the area of computer programming skills learned through video game design?
2. To what extent do students’ perceptions of and knowledge about STEM-related careers change as a result of their participation in the program?
3. In what ways do differences in teachers’ implementation of the culturally responsive game-based learning curriculum affect student-related outcomes?