Creating Apps for Community and Social Good: Learning Outcomes of a Culturally Responsive Middle School Computer Science Curriculum
This study examined student learning outcomes from a culturally responsive middle school computer science curriculum developed by the Project-Name project. The curriculum is based on students developing mobile apps serving community and social good. We collected and analyzed two sets of data from 294 middle school students in three urban districts: (1) pre- and post- student survey responses on their attitudes toward learning computer science and creating culturally responsive apps; (2) the apps created by participating students. The analyses of student apps indicated that students were able to create basic apps that connected with their personal interests, life experiences, class community, and the larger society. Paired sample t-tests of pre- and post-survey results indicated that students were significantly more confident in coding and creating community-focused apps after completing the course, regardless of gender and race. However, their interest in solving coding problems and continuing to learn computer science decreased afterward. Analyses of students’ attitudes by gender, grade, and race showed significant differences among some of those groups. Seventh-grade students rated more positively on their attitudes toward learning coding and creating culturally responsive apps than 8th graders. Students of different racial groups indicated significantly different attitudes and changes, especially the Southeast Asian and African American groups. Male students also reported stronger confidence and interest and more positive attitudes overall than female students in both pre- and post-surveys.