In the MyTurn project, we will work with community partners to design and implement an out-of-school program for middle school girls to promote pathways towards studying and working in computer science (CS) or computing related fields. To meet this goal, we will develop MyTurn, an out-of-school social robotics program that 1) builds preparatory capital and bridges the gap between formal and informal computing education, 2) provides a flexible interest-based curriculum for students to build on existing knowledge, interests and values, and 3) broadens student perspectives of computing disciplines beyond software engineering. MyTurn will utilize an interest-based social robotics curriculum that partners students with mentors from surrounding colleges to design and program social robots for a variety of applications, including: artistic expression; companionship and assistance; and augmenting human work and play
In the first years of the project, we will utilize a participatory design approach, were we co-design with teachers and students about their needs for such a program, and design a curriculum based on that feedback. We will train college-aged mentors to facilitate the program and support the students feelings of belonging in CS. In year three we will test the program with across several sites around Chicago to examine how well participating influences their perceptions and interest in computing and computer science. We are just beginning our initial interviews, and plan to run the program in 2024.