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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Blending Computer Science with Culture

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Victor Hicks, creator of Coding with Culture.

"Once students learn the coding skills, we create the final project, and generally, that’s where the cultural piece comes in." -Victor Hicks

Credit: St. Thomas More Catholic School

Since mid-2020, the Coding with Culture program has offered project-based courses that incorporate cultural elements and computer science–based instruction. Participants from grades K–8 may, for instance, design a historically Black college and university (HBCU) campus, create a video game featuring a superhero of color or undertake other hands-on digital skill exercises.

In an interview, Victor Hicks—the program's founder and a STEM teacher at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Decatur, Ga.—shares the ways culture and computer science intersect, the benefits of including information about HBCUs in coding courses, and the tech tools he is using to help kids learn about computational thought.

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