In her talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain. (Filmed atTEDxPSU.)
Why should you listen to Ali?
A former third-grade teacher, Ali Carr-Chellman realized that traditional elementary classrooms weren't for her, in part because she was frustrated by the lack of innovation, agility, and readiness to change in traditional schools. She's now an instructional designer, author and educator, working on how to change and innovate within schools to make education work better for more kids. She teaches at Penn State University in the College of Education, working primarily with doctoral-level students to help produce the next generation of faculty with inspired research ideas and methods.
Carr-Chellman also teaches online courses focused on helping practicing teachers learn how to improve their own instructional design practices and how to improve their classrooms.Her recent research projects include "Bring Back the Boys," looking at ways gaming can be used to re-engage boys in their elementary education. Another projects asks prisoners and homeless people to think about how to reform schools, bringing new voices to the policy-making table.
Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning
Ali Carr-Chellman spells out three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain.
Carr-Chellman, A. (2011, Jan). TedxPSU. Ali Author: Gaming to Re-engage Boys in Learning. Retrieved from
The statistics on boys in schools keep getting worse. The latest show that boys in 65 countries scored significantly lower than girls in literacy tests. Other research shows that boys are far more likely to be held back a year in school, to be suspended or to drop out of school altogether.
Scholar Ali Carr-Chellman tells Here and Now‘s Robin Young that the problem is not boys. The problem, she says, is that schools no longer welcome the competitive, physical culture of boys, and boys are getting the message that school is not for them. Carr-Chellman says to reach boys, schools should start with what boys like, including video games, and incorporate that into teaching.
Fox Business News
John Stossel reports on Business News on several differences between boys and girls. He begins with his 20/20 report on a class of first graders on differences between boys and girls in the classroom. In his report he saw a clear difference in the way that boys and girls behaved as he read a book to the class. The boys were more eager to engage him directly with ideas and thoughts of their own as the girls passively sat in their places. Upon interviewing the students he discovered that the boys were more likely to talk more in class, have more energy and are likely to take risks on being wrong.
Stossel then follows with an interview with physician/psychologist and author of "Boys Adrift", Dr. Leonard Sax. He reports that school takes boys motivation away with no tolerance policies and punishing normal boy behavior. This is followed by a panel discussion on the boy biases in education, title IX and the effects of gender biases in the workplace. Lastly this video finishes up with a facts on common gender myths.
John Stossel: Battle of The Sexes
On the issue of the Battle between the sexes John Stossel has a panel discussion on why boys are cheated by American Schools, the need for government to force schools to provide equal sports, the effects of gender biases in the workplace. Stossel takes questions from social media as well as the audience to challenge the panelist ideas. This battle spills out into finding out the truths about several gender myths.
Interviews and Podcasts
Paul Darvasi: Ludic Learning and Games in Education
Paul teaches out of the Royal St. Georges College for boys in Toronto Canda, and has a unique approach to instruction as an English and Media arts educator. His blog about using the game "Gone Home" shows the power and importance of video game play for boys. As an educational technologist and avid gamer, Paul designed a new game that calls on his experiences with multimedia, gaming and boy culture to create "The Ward Game", and an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) to instruct high school students on privacy and surveillance.
Engerman, J. A., Carr-Chellman, A. (Interviewers) & Darvasi, P. (Interviewee). (2014). Ludic Learning and Games in Education with Paul Darvasi [Video file]. Retrieved from
In this interview Paul speaks to us of video games like "Gone Home" in his English and Media Tech courses at Royal St. Georges College for boys. He discusses the difficulties of choosing appropriate gaming content that amplifies his instructional content. This process is indeed a hinderance for many public school educators interested in engaging their boy population.
Paul even touches on the sensitive topic of violence in video games and how his perspective and uses can benefit boy development. Although outside of commercial violent games, "Gone Home" has elicited a powerful experience for boy learners that is supported learning in meaningful ways.
This interview more over speaks to the importance of responsible cultures that support boy development. These types of responsible cultures of acceptance, encourage boys to develop naturally within a proactive environment that responds to boy needs.
Known to many in the academic world as a pioneer of gaming in education, Dr. James Gee began his career in linguistics. He has long worked in the field validating the use and promoting the potential of video game use in education. Using his wealth of knowledge and background in linguistics, he gives us a look into uncovering why gender matters.
This candid interview discusses the importance of nuances in individuals that have a profound impact on their development. Gee would argue that gender is an important aspect of a much larger concern for individual identity. He draws on various works from colleagues such as Kurt Squire and Constance Steinkuehler to ellaborate the importance of expectations and access especially among the poor and dissadvantaged youth. Dr. Gee gives us food for thought as we tackle the issues surrounding boy engagement both in the classroom and in society.
James Gee: Identity Matters
Known in the academic world as the most well known pioneer of games in education, James Gee gives an interview on "Why Identity Matters" which includes gender. His insights on the matter of gender in education reveals that individual characterstics are imperative components of ones ability to learn. This podcast interview reveals a scholarly perspective on the direction reserachers and designers must go to improve opportunities boys including re-engagement and motivation.
Engerman, J. A. (Producer), Gee, J. (Interviewee) (2014, June 14). Why Identity Matters with James Gee. [Audio Podast]. Retrieved from
Games Teach! So What's Gender Got to Do With It?
Kurt Squire has been a prominant figure in the games and learning movement within education today. His research has not only involved the understanding of what games can teach, but also has extensive involvement in the development of games for learning. His research has lead him to become founder and Director of Games, Learning and Society. With the collection of top researchers and developers, this organization brings together cutting edge research and innovative design for the infusion of games-based learning experiences.
This interview discusses the his findings and experiences as they relate to the gendered patterns of games. He describes examples from his life including stories about his own son and experiences with gender within his design studio. Furthermore he gives us a comprehensive view of how he envisions the use of game-based environments with a four point plan of implementation to improve learning.
Kurt Squire: Games Teach! So What's Gender Got to Do With It?
We sat down with Kurt Squire, a prominent researcher in games based learning, and asked him about his discoveries of the impact gender has on the field of games and learning. His extensive research into games based learning has lead him to become founder and director of Games Learning and Society. This organization is responsive to the growing research on games and learning. With the help of industry leaders and cutting edge research, this organization pushes the envelop of innovation in game development with its GLSstudio and annual GLS conference.
Engerman, J. A. (Producer), Carr-Chellman, A. (Interviewer), Squire, K. (Interviewee) (2014, June 14). Games Teach! So Whats Gender Got to Do With It?. [Audio Podast]. Retrieved from .