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Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

Title"She's Just Like Me!": How to Develop Character Designs Reflective of Diverse Children
Presenter(s)Momo Hayakawa, Linlin Li and Laura Beukema
SessionDiversity in Games
TimeThursday, October 11, 3:00p-4:00p
LocationMSU Room
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionTwin Cities PBS is developing educational games for a new property, "Hero Elementary(w.t.)," supported by the U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn grant. As the targeted audience for the games are located in low-income communities, we want to ensure that the character designs are relatable to these children. Numerous studies have indicated that racial minority group members are underrepresented in the media - regardless of the specific ethnic subgroup examined (i.e. Asian, African, American, Native American, African-American) (e.g. Klein & Shiffman, 2006). The present study describes the iterative and interdisciplinary methodology used to design and test diverse superhero characters (Black, biracial: Asian-American and White, Mexican-American and White) that represent diversity in various educational settings throughout the country. We summarize our findings from three iterative testing sessions and provide concrete recommendations for testing children with character designs.

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