Dr. Elisabeth “Betty” Hayes one of the principle champions of the game-based learning movement was recently featured on the White House Champions of Change blog. Dr. Hayes’ post titled Using Games and Digital Media to Engage Girls in Computing discusses the importance and role of video games in shaping the science interests of school aged boys and girls. Hayes argues games do not offer girls the same opportunities that exist for boys. Girls have less opportunities for access to sophisticated games and peer networks that support technology based learning in and around the sciences.
“Simply playing games is not the crucial factor, but having the opportunity to create new content for games, modify the underlying software code, and in the process gain an understanding of how computers work as well as a desire to learn more about them. Games become exemplars for the amazing things that can be done with a knowledge of computing”
Dr. Hayes’ played an integral part in creating two after-school programs that have attempted to make these opportunities more available to young women. Some of her projects include: TechSavvy Girls, funded through the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative and Compugirls, funded by the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Hayes spent many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Education where she held faculty appointments as full professor in the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She is one of the original Games+Learning+Society faculty members. Dr. Hayes was also the advisor for Clinical Playground, LLC founder and managing member Dr. Eric B. Bauman. Dr. Hayes is currently a professor at Arizona State University. Her research interests focus on gender, digital technologies and learning, particularly the development of IT fluency.