Critical computing literacy: Possibilities in K-12 computer science education

Cassandra Scharber, Lana Peterson, Yu Hui Chang, Sarah Barksdale, Ramya Sivaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We recommend the conceptualization of computing as a critical literacy, and ground this conceptualization in considerations of historical and current realities in computing. The frameworks of connected learning and computational participation are recommended as guides for doing critical computing literacy. We present the findings from an interpretive case study of the SciGirls Code (SGC) program. This program was piloted with 16 after–school programs for middle school girls that engaged them in computer science (NSF #1543209). This research investigated girls’ learning, attitudes, and participation involving 84 participants across 11 sites aged 10-14 and in 5th-8th grades. Through sharing a vignette from one site and highlighting findings from this study, we illustrate ways to do critical computing literacy and examine the potential of using connected learning and computational participation in designing more equitable computer science education offerings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-151
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1543209.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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