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Open Access Content loaded within last 14 days Computing for all?: Examining critical biases in computational tools for learning

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC licence.

Given the increased need for broadening participation in computing, there must be a focus not just on providing culturally relevant content but also on building accessible and inclusive computational tools. Most efforts to design culturally responsive computational tools redesign surface features, often through making nominal changes to add cultural meaning, yet the deeper structural design remains largely intact. We take a critical perspective towards novice programming environments to elucidate how the underlying structure privileges particular epistemologies and cultures. In this paper, we examine how the cultural practice of storytelling is supported and/or inhibited within novice programming tools. We draw upon the experiences of 38 Native American youth, who worked in teams to create place‐based, interactive stories and games for their community. Findings offer insights to the embedded cultural biases that exist in the structures of computational tools. We discuss insights for how to address cultural biases and promote deeper integration of cultural practices in future designs of culturally responsive computational tools.
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Keywords: computational justice; computing; culture; design; equity; learning technologies; storytelling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2021

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