Participatory Competencies: Learning how to Participate in Digital Designs and Virtual Worlds

This study takes the form of an after-school Virtual World and Design Club for Intermediate and Upper level students in the Extended Day Program at UES. Club members will play on Scratch, a visual programming language that allows designers to create games, music videos, interactive art and more, and Whyville, a large-scale virtual world that encourages youth to play casual science games and design parts for their virtual avatar (personal representation). The study of interactions and impressions from these two clubs will provide the research team with preliminary information on what types of features related to technology fluency youth find engaging, and what issues may arise in connection with their use of online worlds. Both parental consent forms and student assent forms must be signed for students to participate. Participants will fill out a short survey on their previous engagement with technology, and will be interviewed about Scratch and Whyville so that researchers may understand their experiences and gather suggestions for improvement. Participants may also be videotaped at their computers. The study will be conducted primarily by Dr. Yasmin Kafai, associate professor of Psychological Studies in Education at UCLA. If you have any questions about the study, please contact Dr. Kafai at or (310) 206 8150. (Additional consent)