Code Crafters is a research project that investigates connections 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 aim to build a scaffold for improving adult engagement in computer science.

We are developing software that generates quilts designs for workshop participants to manipulate and modify. 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.

Quilters, the majority of whom are women, come from a diverse range of backgrounds in terms of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education level. Code Crafters workshops are made for these diverse audiences to better understand how to effectively broaden public engagement in computational thinking, and the potential for ongoing impact in the participants’ lives as well as the lives of their family members.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1811233/1811130.

This research also received financial support from the Women’s Impact Network at WPI and the WPI Department of Mathematical Sciences as part of the WPI Early Research Experience in E-Term (EREE) program.