NSF INCLUDES: WeC4Communites (We Compute for our Communities): Community-Focused Computing for Minoritized Youth
This NSF INCLUDES pilot addresses the challenge of broadening participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among minoritized youth in grades 5-8 and their access to computer science (CS), which is recognized as integral to all STEM disciplines. This project will specifically focus on developing and understanding computing experiences intentionally designed to strengthen mathematical skills utilizing culturally responsive pedagogy. Culturally responsive pedagogy integrates knowledge relevant to students' identities and communities with computational learning activities, and maximizes the potential for increasing engagement, competence, and belonging of underrepresented youth in computing. This pilot will be situated in community-based organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs and Public Libraries, with the support of industry partners and the local Department of Education. Given the role of community-based organizations and libraries across the nation for community engagement and educational enrichment, this work represents an exciting opportunity for spreading into thousands of libraries and community centers across the nation, thereby having collective impact that materializes CS for All.
This project will engage minoritized youth in grades 5-8. The overarching vision is to establish a scalable model for providing these students with recurrent opportunities to create computational artifacts that are culturally-responsive to their community contexts. In addition, there will be an explicit and simultaneous focus on strengthening students' mathematical skills. The project has four goals: (1) facilitate culturally-responsive learning of key CS concepts and practices; (2) build youth and community knowledge around positive impacts of computing on local communities; (3) increase participants' knowledge, confidence and interest in becoming creators of computing innovations; and (4) strengthen mathematical skills through intentional computing experiences. The project will adapt and implement CS modules from the NSF-funded Exploring Computer Science curriculum, and will intentionally reinforce mathematics skills and community engagement. It will design and implement a culturally-responsive training model for establishing community instructors who can support CS project learning. Finally, it will create instruments for monitoring project goals and participant outcomes. Due to the collaboration with community-based organizations present in cities across the nation, the model has strong potential to scale up regionally and nationally.
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