AERA 2013!

Members of the Tiltfactor team attended the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco and presented research on games designed for our BIAS project!

Geoff introduced our work by discussing the goals of our lab and the theories behind our BIAS research. We then talked about our games Awkward Moment and buffalo and played a few rounds of each game with the audience. The attendees were receptive of our games and eagerly joined in to play! Geoff finished our discussion by presenting data to show that our games can help players think of themselves and others in ways that reduce the effects of implicit bias. The audience seemed particularly interested that we presented evidence of some transformation in players’ thinking – we love evidence-based research, too! We had a wonderful and engaged audience and thank them for attending our session and for their thoughtful questions about our work.

In addition to Tiltfactor research, presenters in our session discussed topics such as art and social justice, aesthetic reading and inquiry, and the use of comics as a medium to unite visual and verbal information. We enjoyed learning about the unique ways in which scholars use various forms of media for skill-building and inquiry. As our discussant noted, the papers varied widely in many ways, but presenters shared an openness to exploring education and related issues through novel media.


Along with presenting our research, Geoff and I also attended other paper sessions and lectures – many of which involved games in some way. For example, we attended a discussion by James Paul Gee, Henry Jenkins, S. Craig Watkins, and Constance Yowell about the realities of leveraging social media and games in learning environments, especially for students from underresourced backgrounds. We also went to a session about augmented reality, mobile devices, and learning by Kurt Squire, Christopher Dede, Eric Klopfer, and others. Before returning to Dartmouth, I attended sessions about the STEM pipeline and about academic identities. I particularly enjoyed a paper about multiple stereotype threat, working memory, and math performance – not only because the authors were from Dartmouth, but also because the work is so applicable to our work at Tiltfactor!

As an undergraduate intern, I feel quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend AERA and to learn from and meet prominent scholars in the field of education research. The presentations that I attended reinforced my belief that the research we do at Tiltfactor and game research in general can measurably impact disadvantaged populations. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed introducing educators and researchers to our games and learning how to adapt the games to the conference setting. We encourage both the attendees who have the games as well as our other friends near and far to tweet us or comment here on our blog with your thoughts about our BIAS games!