African American men constructing computing identity

Authors: Betsy James Disalvo, Sarita Yardi, Mark Guzdial, Tom Mcklin, Charles Meadows, Kenneth Perry, Amy Bruckman


Many young African American males have a passion for video games, but they don’t often translate that passion into learning about computing. Part of the problem is that they do not identify with computing as a social norm within their peer group. This disidentification with computing can negatively impact academic performance and limit opportunities for upward mobility. We developed a job training program called Glitch Game Testers in which young African American men are trained to ‘Sbreak open the black box’ of their game consoles to learn about computing. Perceptions of peers’ technical competency were measured before and after the summer 2010 program. Results showed that participants were more likely to view their peers as technical resources and their overall access to technical resources increased. Broader implications for motivating technology adoption in HCI are discussed.

Disalvo, Betsy & Yardi, Sarita & Guzdial, Mark & Mcklin, Tom & Bruckman, Amy. (2011). African American men constructing computing identity. 2967-2970. 10.1145/1978942.1979381.

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