Culturally relevant and sustaining education in tech

Rachel Scales | May 10, 2023
Categories: Insights

Technology is shaping our world. It’s vital that technologies—and industries powered by technology—reflect the world we want to create: one that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing a culturally relevant learning experience.

What does “culturally relevant” mean?

Culturally relevant teaching draws from the cultural, linguistic, and social funds of knowledge of our students. Culturally relevant teaching can look like reading books about characters from similar cultural backgrounds as students or discussing the scientific accomplishments of people of color. In addition to culturally relevant teaching, we strive to provide a culturally sustaining education—one that helps students to build pride in their identities and shape a future with their communities and cultures in mind. Here at Mission Bit, we teach computer science through a culturally relevant and sustaining lens.

Did you know? In the tech industry, only 15% of workers are Black or Latinx. At Mission Bit, 64% of our students are Black or Latinx.


How does Mission Bit provide culturally relevant computer science education?

All of our students learn about too-often unsung figures in computer science like Ada Lovelace, Clarence Ellis, and Roy L. Clay Sr. They have discussions about the work of Timnit Gebru, Joy Buolamwini, and Fei Fei Li. In our Python class, students learn how to write a program that finds Black-owned restaurants in their neighborhood. In our Web Design workshop, students create a website to amplify the accomplishments of women of color in STEM like Katherine Johnson. In their capstone projects, students create projects that will have a positive impact on their communities, like a virtual Black History museum and a website that helps students navigate applying to college. Join us Friday, May 10th from 5:30-7:30 PM to see this semester’s students present their culminating project at Demo Day!

Interested in learning more about Mission Bit’s impact? Check out the annual report for more insight into the work that is being done at Mission Bit and how you can contribute. Join us in our commitment to shaping a better world. Donate now or volunteer with our classes to be a part of the impact Mission Bit is creating with Bay Area youth.