Decisions about participation in computer science and engineering opportunities are often made prior to high school, and these decisions are frequently mediated by prior experience, interest, and sense of fit with community. In this article, we investigate how the Digital Youth Divas, an out-of-school program for middle school girls from non-dominant communities, engaged participants in computational thinking linked to their broader interests, home networks, and continuing opportunities. Results indicate increases in knowledge measures for girls with and without prior learning experiences and provide evidence that through project work and a strong focus on building community, girls engaged in computational practices in ways that shifted or provided new computational perceptions about themselves and the domain. This exploratory study of the Digital Youth Divas program emphasizes the importance of understanding and supporting computational perceptions alongside deepening knowledge and experience.
- Computational thinking
- learning ecologies
- out-of-school learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications