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Case Studies
Published: 03-07-2014

Designing a Culturally Responsive Computing Curriculum for Girls

Arizona State University

Kimberly Scott

Dr. Kimberly A. Scott is an Associate Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Arizona State University (ASU) and Founder/ Executive Director of a National Science Foundation-funded program, COMPUGIRILS.& Recently, she received the White House Champion of Change for STEM Access Award due to her COMPUGIRLS activities.&&


Gregory Aist

Gregory Aist is an expert in natural language processing and computer-assisted learning with nearly fifteen years' experience in research and development. He has held faculty positions at Iowa State University and Arizona State University, and has also held visiting and research positions at the University of Rochester, NASA Ames Research Center, and the MIT Media Lab. His Ph.D. is in language and information technologies from Carnegie Mellon. He is currently working in industry in Silicon Valley.&
gender culturally responsive technology minorities


Computer science as a discipline faces challenges in recruiting students, particularly young women, who have been underrepresented from the United States’ economically stressed areas (e.g. African American, Latina, and Native American) continue to remain in the minority of the computer science population. One of the many explanations for this disparity is culturally irrelevant computer science activities that fail to consider women’s intersecting cultural identities or potential for making a social impact through their innovations. We attended to these issues by designing and implementing culturally responsive computer science exercises for a multimedia program, entitled COMPUGIRLS, targeting adolescent girls (ages 13—18) from the United States’ under resourced settings. This case study describes COMPUGIRLS’ original iteration, the curriculum design, and the lessons learned in embedding a discipline that historically has not considered cultural issues or social justice within a framework that prioritizes these concepts — a culturally responsive framework. In the end, we consider how instructors might adopt and adapt our process and exercises for various underprivileged communities.

How to Cite

Scott, K., Aist, G., & Zhang, X. (2014). Designing a Culturally Responsive Computing Curriculum for Girls. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 6(2), 264–276. Retrieved from