Makers are mostly rich white guys: Broadening participation in computing requires formal education

December 17, 2014 at 7:59 am 3 comments

“I’m tired of organizations being set up to tell young women and young brown and black men that they should aspire to be young white men.”

Leah Buechley makes a compelling case in the below video that the Maker movement is not reaching the kind of audience that we might have hoped for.  It’s mostly talking to “rich white guys.”  This is another example of what Fields and Kafai were talking about at WIPSCE 2014 (see my description here) — informal education mostly attracts the most privileged groups.  Here’s an interesting blog post on how to create Maker spaces that bridging gaps.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alfredtwo  |  December 17, 2014 at 8:12 am

    We do know that learning outside of school does generally benefit students whose families are well off. That is one of the reasons that charter schools that serve low income and minority students often have extended days just so they can provide the sort of thing more well to do parents give their children.

    Bringing the maker movement into the schools and incorporating it into the curriculum is probably want is necessary to bring the benefits to underserved students. This is one of my wife’s goals. She is the library/media person in a public school in an area with a lot of poverty. Many of her students have a chance to be the first in their family to graduate high school let alone make it to college. She has been raising money to bring things like 3D printers into her library. She is also working with teachers to make making cross curricula. I think it has great potential. But this sort of thing seems to take an evangelist of some sort who is willing to go beyond the usual scope of their job to make happen.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  December 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      That sounds great, Alfred! Let us know how it goes!

  • […] about understanding a system, then modifying and augmenting it. The class sounds great, but as Leah Buchele has pointed out, “maker” curricula can be overwhelmingly male. I was surprised that this award-winning […]


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