Jennifer Jenson, York University Professor creates synergy between Technology and Pedagogy while Advocating for Gender Equality in the Gaming Industry

Professor Jennifer Jenson

Jennifer Jenson is Professor of Pedagogy and Technology in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Institute for Research on Digital Learning at York University. Jenson is a pioneer in her research area, who strives to discover new approaches to the fusion of education and technology both online and off. A primary focus of her work is exploring digital gameplay through the lenses of gender and learning. Jenson’s research interests span digital game studies, new media, pedagogy and technology, gender and technology, multimedia technology, and the design and development of educational games.

In 2013, Jenson conducted a three-year mixed methods study of massively multi-player online games and their players in partnership with SRI International, Simon Fraser University and Nottingham University, UK. She has also completed two longitudinal studies of gender and digital gameplay, and currently has two funded projects underway to study learning through both playing and making games. She has published widely on education, technology, gender, design and development of digital games, online learning and technology policies and policy practices in K-12 schooling. Jenson has considerable experience working with teachers to advance technology-enriched pedagogy and curriculum, and co- authored a report for the Ontario Ministry of Education entitled “21st Century Skills, Technologies and Learning."

She is currently co-editor of Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association and President of the Canadian Game Studies Association. She is also the co-editor of Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Game Research (Peter Lang Press, 2007). Jenson, in collaboration with Professor Suzanne de Castell (University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Dr. Nicholas Taylor (NC State University) and a team of students in her CFI-funded Play:CES (Play in Computer Environments) lab, have designed a series of educational games including: “Contagion”, “Epidemic: Self-Care for Crisis”, “Baroque Adventure”, a classical music game, and “Compareware”, an iPad game for early readers (available free from the app store), which illustrate her commitment to innovation.

Recently, Jenson was granted over $2.4 million from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to lead an international partnership, “Re-figuring Innovation in Games” (www.refig.ca). The project enables and supports a timely re-thinking and “re-configuring” of the digital games industry, where innovation has been impeded by gendered inequality. Professor Jenson’s commitment to the improvement of digital learning and mitigating gender inequalities through her research illustrates ingenuity, gender rights advocacy and her role as a pioneer in the building and sustaining games scholarship in Canada and internationally.