Skip navigation

Yasmin B. Kafai

Yasmin B. Kafai is Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the coeditor of Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming and coauthor of Connected Play: Tweens in a Virtual World (both published by the MIT Press). She is also coauthor of Connected Gaming.

Titles by This Author

What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

Over the last decade, video games designed to teach academic content have multiplied. Students can learn about Newtonian physics from a game or prep for entry into the army. An emphasis on the instructionist approach to gaming, however, has overshadowed the constructionist approach, in which students learn by designing their own games themselves. In this book, Yasmin Kafai and Quinn Burke discuss the educational benefits of constructionist gaming—coding, collaboration, and creativity—and the move from “computational thinking” toward “computational participation.”

Why Children Need to Learn Programming

Coding, once considered an arcane craft practiced by solitary techies, is now recognized by educators and theorists as a crucial skill, even a new literacy, for all children. Programming is often promoted in K-12 schools as a way to encourage “computational thinking”—which has now become the umbrella term for understanding what computer science has to contribute to reasoning and communicating in an ever-increasingly digital world.

Tweens in a Virtual World

Millions of children visit virtual worlds every day. In such virtual play spaces as Habbo Hotel, Toontown, and Whyville, kids chat with friends from school, meet new people, construct avatars, and earn and spend virtual currency. In Connected Play, Yasmin Kafai and Deborah Fields investigate what happens when kids play in virtual worlds, how this matters for their offline lives, and what this means for the design of educational opportunities in digital worlds.

Titles by This Editor

New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

Ten years after the groundbreaking From Barbie to Mortal Kombat highlighted the ways gender stereotyping and related social and economic issues permeate digital game play, the number of women and girl gamers has risen considerably. Despite this, gender disparities remain in gaming. Women may be warriors in World of Warcraft, but they are also scantily clad “booth babes” whose sex appeal is used to promote games at trade shows. Player-generated content has revolutionized gaming, but few games marketed to girls allow “modding” (game modifications made by players).