Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleAvatar Effects in a STEM-Game Website
Presenter(s)Leticia Cherchiglia and Rabindra Ratan
SessionInnovation in STEM Games
TimeFriday, October 12, 2:30p-3:30p
LocationMSU Room
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionThe STEM Game Crew was developed as a portal to online STEM games. The website was used to test the expectation that science-related (versus non-science related) avatars and avatar customization would enhance users' STEM attitudes (i.e., STEM-learning self-efficacy and STEM interest). Data collected in a Midwestern public middle school (N = 53) partially supported this expectation. Science-related avatars were associated with higher STEM attitudes for boys only. Unexpectedly, avatar customization was associated with lower STEM attitudes across gender. STEM attitudes were positively associated with avatar identification and avatar embodiment, though gender differences were observed. This study illustrates the potential benefits and limitations of utilizing avatars in educational game websites, but also provides insights into the ways that avatars can be designed to enhance student learning and motivation.

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