“Power On!” Book Chat with Authors

Date: February 5, 2024
Time: 3:30 am - 4:45 am
Location: Online

Join NCWIT Counselors for Computing for a free, online event hosted in partnership with Millersville University on Monday, February 5th, 2024 with the authors of “Power On!” — a graphic novel following a diverse group of teens as they discover that computing can be fun, creative, and empowering. The virtual presentation and discussion will start at 3:30 pm ET and end at 4:45 pm ET, and it is open to all.

Register: bit.ly/PASMART_BookChat
Resources for Educators: Facilitator Guide + Sample Lessons
Video: Watch the trailer on YouTube

Blue and green graphic with ncwit.org | Counselors for Computing and Millersville University logos, color photos of Dr. Jane Margolis and Dr. Jean Ryo, authors of

About the Authors

  • Dr. Jean J. Ryoo is an avid reader of manga and manhwa, as well as an educational researcher/writer committed to ensuring that all students experience meaningful and empowering learning, both in and out of school. She is the Research Director at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Center X.
  • Dr. Jane Margolis is an educational researcher at UCLA and an author who has been a longtime advocate for ending inequality and segregation in computer science education, for which she won the 2016 White House Champion of Change award. She is the coauthor of Unlocking the Clubhouse and Stuck in the Shallow End, both published by the MIT Press.

About the Book

A diverse group of teenage friends learn how computing can be personally and politically empowering and why all students need access to computer science education. This lively graphic novel follows Taylor, Christine, Antonio, and Jon, who seem like typical young teens —they communicate via endless texting, they share jokes, they worry about starting high school, and they have each other’s backs. But when a racially-biased artificial intelligence system causes harm in their neighborhood, they suddenly realize that tech isn’t as neutral as they thought it was. But can an algorithm be racist? And what is an algorithm, anyway?

In school, they decide to explore computing classes, with mixed results. One class is only about typing. The class that Christine wants to join is full, and the school counselor suggests that she take a class in “Tourism and Hospitality” instead. (Really??) But Antonio’s class seems legit, Christine finds an after-school program, and they decide to teach the others what they learn. By summer vacation, all four have discovered that computing is both personally and politically empowering.

Interspersed through the narrative are text boxes with computer science explainers and inspirational profiles of people of color and women in the field (including Katherine Johnson of Hidden Figures fame). “Power On!: is an essential read for young adults, general readers, educators, and anyone interested in the power of computing, how computing can do good or cause harm, and why addressing underrepresentation in computing needs to be a top priority.

From the Authors

In today’s world, technology is impacting every aspect of our lives. We wrote Power On! to fill a gap in current computer science classrooms and out-of-school programs by providing an accessible educational tool for discussing pressing issues of equity and ethics in tech, while motivating all youth to learn about computer science, regardless of their career path. Our hope is that this graphic novel can serve as an engaging way to learn about current research in computer science and computing education.
We also hope this book can spark conversation, introducing a wide range of topics for people to pick up, discuss, and learn more about together. The book will be published with a free educator guide that is available online, providing discussion questions such as:

  • What are ways that technology is creating social good as well as harm in today’s world?
  • Can robots be racist?
  • Why does underrepresentation of students of color and girls matter?
  • What can be done to change this underrepresentation?
  • What ideas do you have for a technological innovation that could address a social problem you care about?
  • How can we help support all students in getting the education they deserve and need?
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