Tech-minded women invited to panel, networking event


November 25, 2014

Women interested in computer science careers are invited to a networking event at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 10, in the University Club at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The event is an inaugural gathering for Women Who Code, which has just launched a chapter in Phoenix. Hosted by several ASU professors, it will feature a short panel discussion by women who use computers prominently in their research. Download Full Image

The event will include refreshments and a raffle for a Samsung tablet. RSVP by Dec. 1 to saadia.khan@asu.edu.

Women Who Code (WWC) is a global nonprofit dedicated to providing women an avenue into technology careers, empowering them with skills needed for professional advancement and providing environments for networking and mentoring.

"We hope to draw faculty members and graduate students who use technology deeply, and also those who want to be mentors," says Mina Johnson-Glenberg, director of the ASU Embodied Games for Learning Lab. "Participation in computer science by women has declined over the past two decades. Women have a different voice, a different way of looking at the world, and we need them to create a different kind of software product. Half of the consumer base is female."

Panelists will include Johnson-Glenberg, whose team creates embodied games to teach fourth- through 16th-grade students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); Erin Walker, assistant professor in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, who uses technology to develop intelligent tutoring systems for applications ranging from robotic learning environments to dual language learning iPad apps; Tahnja Wilson of ASU Online; and Danielle McNamara, senior research scientist in the Learning Sciences Institute, who is developing technologies for natural language processing and game-based intelligent tutoring systems for learning comprehension and writing strategies.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

When it comes to learning, does screen size matter?


November 25, 2014

Do students grasp science concepts more deeply when they experience them in an immersive, giant-screen format?

Mina Johnson-Glenberg, director of the Embodied Games for Learning lab at ASU, will help examine that question as co-principal investigator on a project funded by a $2.7 million National Science Foundation AISL grant. Mina Johnson-Glenberg Download Full Image

“Amazon Adventure” is a giant-screen IMAX film currently being produced that will tell the story of the discovery of biological mimicry, the critical proof for natural selection and in turn, evolution. It details the story of Henry Bates and his travels through the Amazon rainforest more than 150 years ago.

As her part of the project, Johnson-Glenberg will create a novel tablet-based video game that will assess the knowledge gains, interest and science identity of audience members before and after viewing the film, and in a later follow-up. She will gauge whether watching the film in different formats – small screen versus 2-D and 3-D giant screen and planetarium domed formats – leads to different knowledge gains.

For more than two decades, the National Science Foundation has been investing in the development and evaluation of giant screen films in science centers and museums, which have been highly successful in terms of audiences reached and impact on learning. Less well understood is how such “immersive” viewing may affect learners in different ways.

The film and related outreach via science centers, social media and the Web are expected to reach large public audiences. Workshops and Web resources will assist science instructors nationally.

A strategy for reaching underrepresented audiences through science museums and partnerships is also part of the effort. Johnson-Glenberg has been a leader in creating games that attract girls to STEM topics and mentoring women in technology.

Her lab’s assessment game will also be produced as a stand-alone game, available in museums and downloadable from her ASU spinout company Embodied Games. Johnson-Glenberg is seeking a subject matter expert on natural selection to work with her on the project.

Principal investigator on the grant is Diane Carlson, vice president of guest services and theater operations at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Mary Nucci, research assistant professor of human ecology at Rutgers, is a second co-principal investigator.

For more information on the Embodied Games for Learning lab at ASU, go to egl.lsi.asu.edu. Many of the learning games produced by Johnson-Glenberg are available at embodied-games.com.