ReCrafting Computer Science:
Concretizing Computational Thinking Through Tangible Fiber Crafts

Funded by NSF (Grant #2100401)

Project period: 2021-2024

Collaborator: Carnegie Mellon University

Carpet Weaving Loom

In this project, we build on previous work which demonstrates how textile production supports learning in computer science (CS) and mathematics, and show how moving the traditional CS curriculum beyond the screen and back to its tangible roots can positively impact domain learning, collaboration, and participation in CS. In this approach, the CS curriculum engages students in the construction, programming, and use of a robotic loom (i.e., DIY Jacquard Loom), foregrounding the inherently interdisciplinary nature of computational thinking in a formal computer science curriculum, a discipline that over-identifies computational thinking with computers themselves. As the project lead, Joey and her team propose that the narrow application of computational thinking as an activity that only occurs directly with computers may be a contributing factor to the under-representation of women and people of color in computer science. We theorize that the project activities that place computational thinking within a broader socio technical context will not only broaden participation and collaboration in computer science and STEM, but also expand definitions of what counts as a valuable learning activity in CS education.

Related Publications

Huang, J., Parker, M. (2022). Developing computational thinking collaboratively: The nexus of computational practices within small groups. Journal of Computer Science Education.

Huang, J. (2022). Exploring social interactions to promote computational thinking practices. In J. Oshima, T. Mochizuki, & Y. Hayashi (Eds.) International Collaboration toward Educational Innovation for All: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) Annual Meeting 2022. Hiroshima, Japan: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Huang, J. (2020). Exploring computational thinking practices through collaborative design activities. In C. Girvan, J. R. Byrne, B. Tangney, & V. Dagiené (Eds.), Exploring, Testing and Extending our Understanding of Constructionism: Constructionism 2020 (pp. 95-96). Dublin, Ireland: ACM (conference cancelled, proceedings published).

Huang, J. & Peppler, K. (2019). Studying computational thinking through collaborative design activities with Scratch. In K. Lund, E. Lavoué, G. P. Niccolai (Eds.), A wide lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings: International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019 (pp. 933-935). Lyon, France.