Glitch game testers: the design and study of a learning environment for computational production with young African American males
DiSalvo, Elizabeth (Betsy)
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The implementation of a learning environment for young African American males, called the Glitch Game Testers, was launched in 2009. The development of this program was based on formative work that looked at the contrasting use of digital games between young African American males and individuals who chose to become computer science majors. Through analysis of cultural values and digital game play practices, the program was designed to intertwine authentic game development practices and computer science learning. The resulting program employed 25 African American male high school students to test pre-release digital games full-time in the summer and part-time in the school year, with an hour of each day dedicated to learning introductory computer science. Outcomes for persisting in computer science education are remarkable; of the 16 participants who had graduated from high school as of 2012, 12 have gone on to school in computing-related majors. These outcomes, and the participants' enthusiasm for engaging in computing, are in sharp contrast to the crisis in African American male education and learning motivation. The research presented in this dissertation discusses the formative research that shaped the design of Glitch, the evaluation of the implementation of Glitch, and a theoretical investigation of the way in which participants navigated conflicting motivations in learning environments.