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Afterschool Matters, n8 p26-35 Spr 2009

This article describes the Girl Game Company's involvement in teaching Latina girls to design and program computer games while building a network of support to help them pursue IT courses and careers. Afterschool programs like the Girl Game Company can fill an important gap by providing opportunities for underserved youth to build IT fluency. A focus on fluency, rather than mere computer literacy, is important because learning and working in any discipline now requires people to think critically and creatively with technology. However, the skill-focused technology education prevalent in U.S. schools has not engaged students in a sustained way, as shown by declining interest in IT careers. The early findings from the Girl Game Company suggest that computer game design and programming, combined with activities to explore identities and build a network of support that affirms cultural identity while promoting high academic expectations, appears to hold promise for engaging an underserved group of Latina girls and setting some of them on paths to IT-intensive careers.

Descriptors: Females, Hispanic Americans, Computer Games, Design, Programming, After School Programs, Information Technology, Career Development, Disadvantaged Youth, Technological Literacy, Gender Issues, Student Interests, Cultural Relevance, Vocational Interests, Early Adolescents, Cooperative Learning

National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail: niost[at]; Web site:

Autor: Denner, Jill; Bean, Steve; Martinez, Jacob


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