We are at an exciting time in which innovative technologies, learning sciences research, and the changing educational ecosystems make possible the realization of transformative research-based learning innovations.
This grant supports the creation of a game-infused curriculum and network that provides ongoing, embedded, collaborative, flexible, personalized experiences supporting young women in unlocking the promise of digital learning. Across the various Challenges, Missions, and Quests, participating African woman and girls will build personal portfolios, unlock system badges, and share lessons learned as part of a social network and with support from peers and experts. Additionally, it supports learners, facilitators, designers, and researchers with actionable analytics that allow for tracking, optimizing, and incentivizing participation. This grant leverages our Thrive framework with a specific focus on building the necessary ability, confidence, and commitment for woman and girls in Africa to thrive in a complex, rapidly changing, digitally connected world. Using the Thrive Learning platform, participants unlock their own personal journey, creating possibilities and challenges that can be tracked in our platform, shared with others, and celebrated.
Being able to thrive requires building within the learner the capacity to continually build the capacity to take on new challenges across disciplines and throughout their life. We unlock this potential by providing an engaging curriculum that structures learning as a combination of aspirational goals, as well as carefully sequenced self-directed and facilitated activities designed to cultivate the critical dispositions and essential literacies necessary to unlock relevant and exciting futures. Particular activities will also be designed in a flexible manner, allowing for individual challenges to be completed outside of a Quest trajectory, potentially as gateway experiences or for ongoing practice of a particular skill or concept. Beyond their accomplishments associated with completing the particular Quest challenges, the system will connect girls into a local and global community network, as well as illuminating for them particular future possibilities that are now potentially accessible to them. We want young women to be able to self advocate for their information needs using the internet, whether that is around employment, education, healthcare, financial literacy, or simply connecting with other women.
In addition to the Intel Shewill Connect program, we are leveraging the same pedagogy and platform to support teachers as they embark on a journey focused on using project-based approaches. Here, teachers progress through multiple Quests as they build the ability, confidence, and commitment to implement project-based approaches within their classrooms. They begin with the development of a learning contract, and then move through activities and interactions with game characters and real people all in the service of increasing their potential to effectively use project-based approaches. Beyond the require inquiry-based learning challenges, players engage in real-world unlocks where they continue to apply and iterate their understandings as part of a supportive professional network.
About Sasha A. Barab PhD
Sasha Barab is a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, where he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Games and Impact.
Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact.