Power On!: A New Graphic Novel Written For and With Youth About Equity in Computing

Session Title: Power On!: A New Graphic Novel Written For and With Youth About Equity in Computing

Speakers: Jean Ryoo, Jane Margolis, Takeria Blunt, Natalia Gopar, Lilibeth Mora

Description: Computer science is power. The decisions made by computer scientists today—in the algorithms they design and programs they create—are profoundly changing how we communicate, work, think, learn, and determine fact from fiction. While the world is becoming more aware of the ethical complexities of technology, as well as how technology intersects with systemic inequality and racism, educators and students are rarely seated at the table to engage with these issues. This session introduces attendees to “Power On!” – a new graphic novel (Ryoo & Margolis, MIT Press, April 2022) that offers readers of all ages the insights they need to be able to engage with these issues directly. “Power On!” translates decades of educational research about the inequalities in computing education into graphic novel form, bringing to life why youth readers deserve and need the knowledge to be critical creators with technology, not merely users who are manipulated by it. In this session, educators will be introduced to the graphic novel and a teacher discussion guide (developed with educators) that support conversation about current issues of ethics and social responsibility in computing, the connections between identity and computer science learning, issues of equity in computer science education and the world at large, the importance of youth voice, and how youth can get involved to support positive social change through computer science education. Youth ambassadors of the book will speak on our panel. All are young People of Color from the West Coast and The South – who have either participated in giving feedback on the graphic novel as it was written or are excited about its purpose as a pedagogical tool. They will share about their views regarding how to advance change in computer science education and the tech world at large, using this graphic novel as a springboard.

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