Yasmin B. Kafai

Yasmin B. Kafai is Lori and Michael Milken President's Distinguished Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, coauthor of Connected Gaming, Connected Code, and Connected Play (all published by MIT Press) and other books.

  • Designing Constructionist Futures

    Designing Constructionist Futures

    The Art, Theory, and Practice of Learning Designs

    Nathan Holbert, Matthew Berland, and Yasmin B. Kafai

    A diverse group of scholars redefine constructionism—introduced by Seymour Papert in 1980—in light of new technologies and theories.

    Constructionism, first introduced by Seymour Papert in 1980, is a framework for learning to understand something by making an artifact for and with other people. A core goal of constructionists is to respect learners as creators, to enable them to engage in making meaning for themselves through construction, and to do this by democratizing access to the world's most creative and powerful tools. In this volume, an international and diverse group of scholars examine, reconstruct, and evolve the constructionist paradigm in light of new technologies and theories. Taken together, their contributions show that constructionism has advanced in educational research and practice—and also that, in turn, researchers and practitioners can learn from constructionism how to foster learning in ways that respect learners' creativity and communities.

    The contributors examine how constructionist design can function within contexts ranging from school and home to virtual spaces; explore ways to support learners who have been under-resourced, overlooked, or oppressed; discuss learning by collaboration; and consider the implications of learning as a creative process of construction, exploring ways to support creative enterprises within the constraints of formal classrooms. Finally, leading visionaries imagine where constructionism, design, and research will go next


    Konstantin Aal, Dor Abrahamson, Edith K. Ackermann, Michael Ahmadi, Emma Anderson, Edward Baafi, Stephanie Benson, Laura Benton, Matthew Berland, Marina Umaschi Bers, Paulo Blikstein, Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, Karen Brennan, Leah Buechley, Angela Calabrese Barton, Teresa Casort, David Cavallo, Kiera Chase, Alison Clark-Wilson, Sequoia L. Dance, Joshua A. Danish, Sayamindu Dasgupta, Michael Eisenberg, Noel Enyedy, Deborah A. Fields, Andrea Forte, Gayithri Jayathirtha, Brian Gravel, Sara M. Grimes, Idit Harel, Erica R. Halverson, Nathan Holbert, Celia Hoyles, Raquel Jimenez, Yasmin B. Kafai, Ivan Kalas, Anna Keune, Susan Klimczak, Eric Klopfer, Maximilian Krüger, Chronis Kynigos, Tim Kubik, Breanne K. Litts, Benjamin Mako Hill, Amon Millner, Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Richard Noss, Seymour Papert, Kylie Peppler, Judy Perry, Mitchel Resnick, Rebecca Reynolds, Ricarose Roque, Piers Saunders, Kristin A. Searle, Kimberly M. Sheridan, Arnan Sipitakiat, R. Benjamin Shapiro, Gary S. Stager, Gunnar Stevens, Vanessa Svihla, Edna Tan, Orkan Telhan, Naomi Thompson, Nalin Tutiyaphuengprasert, Anne Weibert, Michelle Hoda Wilkerson, Volker Wulf, Uri Wilensky, Jianwei Zhang

    • Paperback $50.00
  • Connected Gaming

    Connected Gaming

    What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

    Yasmin B. Kafai and Quinn Burke

    How making and sharing video games offer educational benefits for coding, collaboration, and creativity.

    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.”

    Kafai and Burke point to recent developments that support a shift to game making from game playing, including the game industry's acceptance, and even promotion, of “modding” and the growth of a DIY culture. Kafai and Burke show that student-designed games teach not only such technical skills as programming but also academic subjects. Making games also teaches collaboration, as students frequently work in teams to produce content and then share their games with in class or with others online. Yet Kafai and Burke don't advocate abandoning instructionist for constructionist approaches. Rather, they argue for a more comprehensive, inclusive idea of connected gaming in which both making and gaming play a part.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat

    New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming

    Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun

    Girls and women as game players and game designers in the new digital landscape of massively multiplayer online games, “second lives,” “modding,” serious games, and casual games.

    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). Gender equity, the contributors to Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat argue, requires more than increasing the overall numbers of female players. Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat brings together new media theorists, game designers, educators, psychologists, and industry professionals, including some of the contributors to the earlier volume, to look at how gender intersects with the broader contexts of digital games today: gaming, game industry and design, and serious games. The contributors discuss the rise of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and the experience of girl and women players in gaming communities; the still male-dominated gaming industry and the need for different perspectives in game design; and gender concerns related to emerging serious games (games meant not only to entertain but also to educate, persuade, or change behavior). In today's game-packed digital landscape, there is an even greater need for games that offer motivating, challenging, and enriching contexts for play to a more diverse population of players.

    ContributorsCornelia Brunner, Shannon Campe, Justine Cassell, Mia Consalvo, Jill Denner, Mary Flanagan, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Elisabeth Hayes, Carrie Heeter, Kristin Hughes, Mimi Ito, Henry Jenkins III, Yasmin B. Kafai, Caitlin Kelleher, Brenda Laurel, Nicole Lazzaro, Holin Lin, Jacki Morie, Helen Nissenbaum, Celia Pearce, Caroline Pelletier, Jennifer Y. Sun, T. L. Taylor, Brian Winn, Nick YeeInterviews with Nichol Bradford, Brenda Braithwaite, Megan Gaiser, Sheri Graner Ray, Morgan Romine

    • Hardcover $60.00
    • Paperback $30.00