To understand the digital divide as a matter of social justice, I identify access to computational fluency as a civil rights issue. "Access" refers to material as well as social resources, including meaningful learning opportunities that create the conditions for urban youth to engage in computational thinking. In this article, I explore how a critical pedagogical approach facilitates the engagement of urban youth in a mobile app development project within an after-school program. Drawing on field notes and video data over a semester-long project, I provide qualitative reflections on student engagement using the theoretical perspective of situated cognition. Findings reveal that the affordances of critical pedagogy for student engagement include the opportunity to situate computational activity within a sociopolitical context, as well as an allowance for multiple pathways into meaningful participation.
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