From Interests To Values

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Citation: Betsy DiSalvo, Amy Bruckman (2011/08) From Interests To Values. Communications of the ACM (RSS)
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): From Interests To Values
Tagged: Computer Science (RSS) cs education (RSS), african-american (RSS), vertical integration (RSS)


The paper describes Glitch, a program from Amy Bruckman's Electronic Learning Communities Lab and Betsy DiSalvo's dissertation wrok at the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Glitch hires African-American men in high school as game testers during the school year, including an hour daily of CS classwork taught by African-American undergraduate men. The program attempts to motivate them to consider the study of CS at the college level by making the high-school pursuit of such skills both financially feasible (the young men are hired for the program and paid as testers) and socially acceptable (gaming and competing for a computer is "ok" among that social group, whereas "studying" may be less so).

Early results are promising, but the sample size is still small. "Out of the seven students who graduated from high school in 2010, six are attending college -- 5 of them in computing-related majors... Of the seven students who will be graduating in 2011, all intend to attend college -- four have declared their major as CS and the other three are considering CS as their major. Before the program started, of the 14 only one had an interest in CS and one in computer engineering as a major."

"Why did it work... Being a computer programmer was no longer a mystical quality that was out of their reach but a natural progression from what they were already doing as game testers. They communicated with developers daily, and felt that developers really listened to them... They already felt like a valuable part of the software development process, so imagining themselves as a bigger part of that process was easy."