1. Denise Nacu
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. DePaul University
  1. Sheena Erete
  2. Assistant Professor
  4. DePaul University
  1. Evelyn Flores
  2. http://eveflores.com
  4. DePaul University, Digital Youth Network, Northwestern University
  1. Nichole Pinkard
  2. http://digitalyouthnetwork.org/staff/nichole-pinkard/
  3. Associate Professor and Co-Founder of Digital Youth Network
  5. Northwestern University

Digital Youth Divas

NSF Awards: 1433838

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8

Many efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented populations in computing fields involve the implementation of short-term, informal programs for youth. One challenge for these types of approaches is being able to recognize and leverage youths’ interests to better support their learning, engagement, and persistence along STEM pathways. These issues are especially pertinent for educators, who often have little or no familiarity with youth when they begin a program, and little time to build this knowledge organically.
Digital Youth Divas is an out-of-school program that engages middle school girls, especially those from non-dominant communities, in design-based engineering and computer science activities driven by a narrative story. The program supports girls to develop STEM identities by participating within face-to-face and online spaces to design, create, and re-imagine everyday artifacts (jewelry, hair accessories, music) and activities (dancing and talking to friends) using techniques including collaboration, critique, circuitry, coding, and fabrication.
In this video, we share our efforts to help mentors in the Digital Youth Divas program understand and leverage girls’ interest and engagement to creative a nurturing environment. Using a variety of data sources--such as weekly mini-surveys for girls, platform log data, and attendance data--we are working with mentors to develop data visualizations to be used during professional development sessions. We share how these visualizations are helping to anchor conversations about engagement and practice.

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