DiSalvo, B., Reid, C., & Roshan, P. K. (2014). They can't find us: The search for informal CS education. In Proceedings of the 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '14) (pp. 487-492). Atlanta, GA: ACM.


Type: Empirical

Purpose: There were two purposes of this study. First, the researchers wanting to understand how marginalized parents with minimal computing, technology and education would help facilitate an informal learning experience for their child with interests in computing. Second, the researchers investigated common Internet search terms that low-income parents would access in an effort to find informal computing experiences for their child from different geographic areas across the United States

Findings: Of the fifteen parents that participated in this study, only one parent found a site related to educational resource around computing (i.e., simplecodeworks.com). Based on the search terms recorded from the parents, the researchers validated the terms they found with the parents and conducted statistical tests. One-way ANOVAs were conducted to determine if differences existed between the types of learning services offered (e.g., onsite, online, pointers) and city size (e.g., large, mid, small). Statistically significant differences were detected with F (2,33) = 37.66, p<.001. Tukey HSD post hoc test revealed that large cities (M=3.17, SD=1.34) were significantly different than mid-sized cities (M=1.83, SD=0.79) in terms of Onsite services offered. Small cities onsite (M=0.00, SD=0). Statistically significant differences were also detected with F (2,33) = 54.32 p<.001. Tukey HSD post hoc test revealed that large cities Pointers (M=4.33, SD=2.100) were significantly different than mid-sized cities Pointers (M=1.50, SD=1.47) and small cities Pointers (M=0.17, SD=0.39)in terms of Pointer services offered. There were no statistically significant differences between educational services (e.g., onsite, online, and pointers) by region (e.g., Northeast, Midwest, South, West).

Recommendations: 1. To increase equity and access for low-income parents to find informal CS opportunities for their children, steps should be made to create metadata that include more common search terms rather than terms unfamiliar with those outside of the CS community. 2. Create a shared vocabulary that parents and those not directly involved can use to access information of CS education


Sample Size: 15

Participant Type: Parents

Notes: 14 females and 1 male participated in the study. The age range was not specifically asked but researchers reported age was between early 20's to 50's.