Research is play for Jennifer Jenson

Left: Jennifer Jenson with her CFI certificate

The Canada Foundation for Innovation recently sent a certificate of congratulations to Prof. Jennifer Jenson, one of several York faculty members who have received CFI grants during the past year.

Jenson, professor of pedagogy and technology in the Faculty of Education, thinks computer-based educational resources are great tools. But something crucial is missing, she says – mostly, they aren’t designed by and for educators.

To remedy that, Jenson is building a studio dedicated to the research, design and development of play-based multimedia learning environments and tools, which educators will be able to use. And, just as importantly, she adds, they will be invited to get involved in their design and production.

The studio, operating in partnership with the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies at York, will be housed in the new Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) building scheduled to open on the Keele campus in fall 2003.

Jenson argues that the development of computer-based educational resources by technology specialists alone has been a significant barrier to making those resources student-friendly.

An active proponent of incorporating “play” into learning experiences, her project, “Ludus Vitae,” co-developed with Suzanne de Castell at Simon Fraser University, builds on entertainment-oriented computer games to provide educators with strong models for the design of educationally rich play-based learning activities.

Using broadband networks already in place in most schools across Canada, and working directly with teachers and students, this project seeks to create an on-line educational gaming environment for junior secondary students that supports content learning across the curriculum.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI ) is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997.