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Bridging the Gap: Promoting and Retaining Adolescent Girls in Computer Science

Varacalli, Lauren E (2022) Bridging the Gap: Promoting and Retaining Adolescent Girls in Computer Science. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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For the past forty years, under-represented girls in computer science have been a worldwide issue. Research has indicated strategies and practices teachers can implement to help shape adolescent girls' identity in computer science. These strategies include inclusive curricular practice, collaborative learning opportunities and supportive learning environments. This study aimed to explore how a student's computer science perception influenced their identity and how incorporating art into coding can shape their identity. Using qualitative data collection, the findings from this study were used to develop further a curriculum unit that can shift adolescent girls' computer science identity. The following research questions were used for this study: How have the identity-based curricular interventions shifted my teaching? Over the course of the focal unity, how and to what extent do adolescent girls in the Applications (Apps) and Gaming course indicated a change in their computer science identities? This study aimed to determine if a computer science curriculum that incorporated art into coding can help develop adolescent girls' identity in computer science.
The study design incorporated an analysis of lesson plans, classroom observations, reflective open-ended questions, and teacher journals to determine an identity development in computer science for adolescent girls. The participants included five high-school aged girls from a Mid-Atlantic urban high school. Over the course of five weeks, the students participated in the study that including drawings of what a computer scientist looks like to them, open-ended reflective questions, and other various everyday classroom tasks. The drawings of the computer scientist and open-ended reflective questions were analyzed to determine a change in their computer science identity over the course of the five-week study. The findings from this study indicated a shift in identity for some participants and may also be interpreted as a basis for elementary and middle schools to incorporate identity-based curricular activities into the classroom to help shape adolescent girls' computer science identity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Varacalli, Lauren Elev24@pitt.edulev24
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQuigley,
Committee MemberRainey,
Committee MemberFuller,
Date: 31 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 May 2022
Approval Date: 31 August 2022
Submission Date: 4 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 94
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computer science, curriculum, adolescent, girls, STEM, K-12
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 18:14
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 18:14


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