Given the low number of African Americans in Computer Science, we recognize the need to take effective measures to build and sustain a pipeline between K-12 education and institutions of higher learning with the hope that more African American students will pursue careers in computing related fields such as gaming. To support this effort, we engage African American middle school students in a 4-day game design workshop with the intent of transitioning these students from being consumers to being producers of technology. We create and evaluate scaffolds to assist middle school students with designing their first video games using Scratch. Preliminary findings suggest that most of the students are able to define the formal elements of their games, including number players, game objectives, and rules, but struggle with the concepts of procedures and boundaries of the game. These same students also demonstrate a basic understanding of dramatic elements (e.g. challenge, play, and character), but struggle with the concept of storyline. Finally, African American students have very explicit ideas about the kinds of games they want to create, choosing to create games that promote a more inclusive gameplay experience.
Rankin, Yolanda A.; Thomas, Jakita O.; Irish, India; and Hawkins, Stevie-Mari, "From Consumers to Producers: African American Middle School Students as Game Designers" (2014). Spelman College Faculty Publications. 21.
In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games