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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Re-mastering the Master's Tools: Recognizing and affirming the life experiences and cultural practices of urban youth in critical computational literacy through a video game project

  • Author(s): Lee, Clifford
  • Advisor(s): Faulstich-Orellana, Marjorie
  • Morrell, Ernest
  • et al.

This study examines how a video game project that focuses on students' lived experiences and cultural practices teach critical literacies and computational thinking. Specifically, this research looked at how the pedagogy, processes, and student products demonstrated culturally relevant pedagogy practices, critical literacy, and computational thinking. This design-based research study utilizes critical literacy, sociocultural learning theory, and culturally relevant pedagogy in the framing, structure, design, and instruction of the class. This study took place in a 10th grade Computer Science elective course in a Los Angeles public high school. Data were collected with: field notes, audio and video recordings, small group interviews, and student-produced artifacts. Data were analyzed using grounded theory and a multimodal social semiotics approach. Findings suggest that locally based, historicized content relevant to students' lives and their communities resonated with them through critical literacy development. Similarly, culturally relevant pedagogies that fostered and nurtured students' choice in the selection of personally meaningful topics while producing a multimodal composition to an authentic audience supported development of voice and agency in their work. Findings also showed the affordances of combining critical literacy and computational thinking in producing a critical computational literacy framework. The research showed students' seamlessly use their computational thinking to design and produce a multimodal serious video game with personally meaningful messages that explicitly pushed against dominant narratives of marginalized populations and their communities.

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