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Featured ACM Speaker: Jakita Thomas

October 20, 2016
9:00 am - 10:00 am
GRB General Assembly C

Track: Special Sessions
Type: Presentation
Level: All

Supporting Computational Algorithmic Thinking: Exploring Social Change and Complex Cognitive Capability Development in the Double Bind 


In spite of the exciting new initiatives being launched to expand access to Computer Science (CS) at all levels (e.g., President Obama’s CS For All initiative), the United States still faces challenges it has faced for decades concerning equity in CS education and technology-focused opportunities. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2044, more than 50% of the populations of the United States will be made up of people of color, with no one race or ethnic group holding a majority. At the same time, the U.S. anticipates significant job growth in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science (STEM+CS). A review of the literature in broadening participation research in CS reveals that, while research is being conducted focused on students of color (including black students) and women in CS, there is very little research investigating the unique intersection of gender and race experienced by girls and women of color, the double bind, and specifically, black women in Computer Science. Further, there is little research that focuses on how black girls and women develop complex cognitive skills and capabilities like, computational algorithmic thinking (CAT), which is the ability to design, implement, and assess the implementation of algorithms to solve a range of problems. CAT is an important scaffolded on-ramp as students develop more advanced computational thinking (CT) capabilities and apply CT to solve problems that are more constrained and require greater and greater expertise. This talk will present Supporting Computational Algorithmic Thinking (SCAT), a longitudinal between-subjects research project exploring how African-American middle-school girls develop CAT capabilities over time in the context of designing games for social change.

Speaker(s)

Jakita Thomas, Philpott Westpoint Stevens Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Auburn University