Code Crafters is a project that investigates the connection between quilting and computational thinking, via design-based research to develop instructional workshops for an adult population of quilters. Through leveraging pre-existing social structures, skill sets, and engagement in quilting, we are able to build a scaffold for improving engagement in computer science and teach computational thinking. In doing so, our long term goal is to broaden public awareness of computational thinking and build links between computer science and other areas of interest. Improved literacy in computational thinking is crucial for successfully navigating our increasingly computer-driven society.
The project also has the goal of broadening participation in computing, through reaching a diverse population that is underserved by current outreach efforts, yet who have a wide variety of motivations for engaging in computer science. Quilters, the majority of whom are women, come from a diverse range of backgrounds in terms of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education level. Through running Code Crafters workshops for these diverse, adult audiences, we build knowledge in how to effectively broaden public engagement in computational thinking, and how such efforts have potential for ongoing impact in the participants' lives as well as the lives of their family members, including children and grandchildren.
The StoryCraft Lab conducts research at the intersection of computational craft and narrative as it exists in interactive digital media. Current projects explore leveraging parallels between crafting patterns and programming in CS education, possible roles of creativity and materiality in games, crafted and personalized representations and semiotics of digital identities, and using Tarot as a corpus for narrative generation.