Dr. Jennifer Jenson



Dr. Jennifer Jenson (Ph.D. Simon Fraser University), is Professor of Digital Languages, Literacies & Cultures in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. Prior to coming to UBC (January 2019), Dr. Jenson spent 18 years at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she was Director of the Institute for Research on Digital Learning.

Dr. Jenson is co-editor of Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association and a past, long serving President of the Canadian Game Studies Association. Working with Professor Suzanne de Castell (UOIT), Dr. Nicholas Taylor (NC State University) and a team of students in her CFI-funded Play:CES (Play in Computer Environments) lab, she designed a series of educational games including: “Contagion”, “Epidemic: Self-Care for Crisis”, a Baroque music game, and an iPad game for early readers, Compareware. She has completed 2 longitudinal studies of gender and digital gameplay, and held a Partnership Development Grant, Feminist in Games, to support women and others who wanted to play and make games. She also completed a 3-year, mixed methods study of massively multiplayer online games and their players in partnership with SRI International, Simon Fraser University and Nottingham University, UK. She has published widely on education, technology, gender, design and development of digital games, and technology policies and policy practices in K-12 schooling. She has considerable experience working on and with teachers in relation to technology, pedagogy and curriculum, and authored a report for the Ontario Ministry of Education entitled “21st Century Skills, Technologies and Learning“ as well as completed a significant research project on games and learning for the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. She has also worked with school boards, colleges, and technology companies to support the integration and implantation of technologies in the K-12 sector and post-secondary sectors and she has considerable experience designing online learning experiences in higher education. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of an international SSHRC Partnership Funded Project, “Re-Figuring Innovation in Games”, which seeks to interrupt and re-figure the hostile, misogynistic cultures of game making and play.


Re-Figuring Innovation in Games, SSHRC Partnership Grant, 2015-2021

Refiguring Innovation in Games (ReFiG) is a 5 year project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Composed of an international collective of scholars, community organizers and industry representatives, ReFiG is committed to promoting diversity and equity in the game industry and culture and effecting real change in a space that has been exclusionary to so many.

Think, Design, Play: Re-Fusing the Digital Divide, 2014-2020

SSHRC Insight Grant. The “Think, Design, Play” project has three primary objectives: 1) THINK: to make games critically and ethically with a view to better design and the contexts of and for design; 2) DESIGN: to create opportunities for participants to engage in the design and development of digital games both individually and in collaboration; and 3) PLAY: to provide a context in which the powerful and playful possibilities of digital games can be enacted, documented, observed, critiqued and studied, especially with a view to how the games played are designed and played. “Play’, so seen, includes critiquing and modding games and game-related media as a means of talking about and learning from the game designs of others and as a means of understanding games of all kinds.

Selected Publications

Jenson, J., & Castell, S. de. (2018).
“The Entrepreneurial Gamer”: Regendering the Order of Play. Games and Culture, 13(7), 728–746. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412018755913

Jenson, J., & Droumeva, M. (2017).
Revisiting the media generation: Youth media use and computational literacy instruction. E-Learning and Digital Media, 14(4), 212–225. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753017731357

Jenson, J., Taylor, N., Castell, S. & Dilouya, B. (2015)
Playing With Our Selves, Feminist Media Studies, 15:5, 860-879, https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1006652