1. Jordan Graves
  2. http://www.jordangraves.com
  3. PhD Student
  4. Code Crafters
  5. http://www.code-crafters.org/
  6. Georgia Institute of Technology
  1. Karen Royer
  2. Student
  3. Code Crafters
  4. http://www.code-crafters.org/
  5. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  1. Gillian Smith
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Code Crafters
  4. http://www.code-crafters.org/
  5. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  1. Anne Sullivan
  2. http://www.asdesigned.com/
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Code Crafters
  5. http://www.code-crafters.org/
  6. Georgia Institute of Technology
Public Discussion

Continue the discussion of this presentation on the Multiplex. Go to Multiplex

  • Icon for: Anne Sullivan

    Anne Sullivan

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 03:05 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting the Code Crafters project!

    We are an informal computer science education project, exploring the use of generative design software that invites adult quilters to investigate three core CT principles: algorithms and data, collaborative computing, and computing for creative expression. We want to meet people where they are and show them how computational thinking relates to their hobbies and interests.

    We will be running our first (virtual) workshop using the software discussed in the video in just a few weeks! We welcome all questions, feedback, or ideas, and are especially interested in any thoughts you have related to:

    • computer science education for adults from a diverse set of backgrounds
    • the use of generative design as a CS educational tool for adult creative practitioners
    • evaluation in informal learning environments where the goal is broadening public understanding of computing
     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shane Woods
    Fay Shaw
  • Icon for: Folashade Solomon

    Folashade Solomon

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 11:52 a.m.

    This is an exciting project. I love the idea of using quilting as a means for engaging adults in computer science.  Why did you pick quilting? What do you see as the connection between quilting and computer science learning?  I can imagine that the quilters may have particular "funds of knowledge" that they may apply to their use of the software. Can you share more about what you think the impacts of this work will be? 

  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 01:15 p.m.

    Thank you for your kind words!

    We chose quilting largely as an area that we already have expertise in. Anne Sullivan, in addition to having a PhD in CS and being a professor of Digital Media, is an accomplished quilter, has taught quilting workshops, and has judged quilt shows. I also have some background in quilting more as a hobbyist, and Karen Royer (one of our grad students) is a quilter as well, and Jordan Graves has background in textile arts.

    Definitely the quilters have a LOT of knowledge that's directly related to how they use the software! We ran a focus group two summers ago (pre-covid) where we learned a lot about how, even though quilting works as a metaphor for CS in many ways, the way that quilters think about their craft doesn't necessarily neatly line up to how they need to think for the computing metaphor, if that makes sense? Quilters would talk a lot about playing with color and have a more improvisational way of thinking about design, which we're trying to accommodate in the software even though it still has a very rigid structure (quilts are sets of blocks, blocks are sets of patches, etc.). One thing I really hope is that quilters will be able to pick up on how computers need some formal structure to be able to reason about quilts, and so using the software requires adopting that understanding of what the formal structure is.

    Long-term, at least, I'm really hoping to be able to use what we learn from this project to inform how to broaden public understanding of algorithms. Quilters have a lot of opinions about social media algorithms, for example! It's hard to figure out how to tie that all in to the workshops. A big takeaway for me from our time on this project so far is that there's a HUGE difference between how we approach teaching computational thinking in K12 settings vs. how we approach it for members of the general public, who probably won't go on to have careers that incorporate computing (though might!) but certainly are impacted by computing in their daily lives.

     
    4
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shane Woods
    Fay Shaw
    Rose K. Pozos
    Folashade Solomon
  • Icon for: Rachel Alatalo

    Rachel Alatalo

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:13 p.m.

    What an interesting project! Connecting to people through their hobbies and recreating a sense of community is a wonderful way to meet people where they are. Now that your workshop is remote, how has your outreach to participants changed? Are you working on connecting with people in a larger geographic area than before?

  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 12:43 p.m.

    Thank you! It's a great question about participant outreach. We'd originally planned to run workshops both with existing guilds, as well as run ad hoc workshops for local geographic areas (e.g. at local quilt shops). We are still planning to run workshops with existing guilds; many guilds have run other sewing workshops during the pandemic that are fully virtual. But, our ad hoc group will be much more geographically distributed than originally planned. We're really curious to see how that distributed group works, especially since the only thing connecting some participants will be their shared love for quilting as they will no longer have regional ties.

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    Project Director
    May 11, 2021 | 07:35 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this project. It's wonderful to see work that begins with learners' assets and leverages them to inform and iterate activity design. Did your team's own interest and experience with quilting make it easier to threshold computational thinking concepts with this community?

  • Icon for: Jordan Graves

    Jordan Graves

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 12, 2021 | 11:28 a.m.

    Thank you! Our experiences as crafters have made it easier to use quilting as a metaphor in computational thinking. I also think the connections between quilting and computational thinking is a bridge that can go both ways. I do not have a background in quilting, but when I first joined the project the connections the rest of the team had made between computer science and quilting made it easier for me to understand quilters' process of designing and sewing. 

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Facilitator
    Project Director
    May 14, 2021 | 06:48 a.m.

    It's great to hear about that authentic 2-way learning, which can be a powerful for lever for engaging new participants and communities. What are you all thinking in about the possibilities for and usefulness of scaling this work especially now that is happening online? It seems that if one quilters guild or group finds the activities worthwhile, that the word would spread among others?

  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 11:29 a.m.

    Yes, the distributed structure of quilting guilds means there's some promise for scaling the work up. Typically, guilds have local chapters with their own leadership structures and autonomy for planning their own events. Word of mouth is really powerful... anecdotally we've definitely seen that guild members and guild leadership will share activity ideas across guilds. So, we're aiming to develop our workshop materials so that others could facilitate workshops in the future, in different guilds. We'll be putting our final workshop materials online, including a guide for facilitators.

    The transition to virtual workshops also means we've had to redesign absolutely everything to run online, which we hadn't really thought to plan for at first. It's taken a lot of effort to rethink for online, but we're hoping this will bring some long-term gains that we're excited to investigate further! We designed the software to be browser-based, the workshops should work on Zoom as well as in-person (when it's safe to do so again). We've also started an offshoot project with developing asynchronous, game-like activities that use the tool (e.g. collaborating with others to make a "Sudoku" quilt with custom-designed blocks).

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jamie Bell
  • Icon for: Rose K. Pozos

    Rose K. Pozos

    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2021 | 12:56 p.m.

    What a great project! I was just talking with a colleague the other day about how crafting grandmas have been "coding" longer than any of us. How did you develop the software? Were there unique needs of quilters that you needed to take into account when designing how it would work? I was also wondering if your team had thought about e-textiles as an option, and if so what your thoughts were on using them with adult learners. 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Fay Shaw
  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 02:50 p.m.

    Thanks! Yeah, a huge inspiration for this project was spending time with quilters who would insist they are "bad at math" or "could never do the computer stuff" and then would turn around and solve some complex optimization problem in their head to figure out how to minimize fabric waste!

    Software development went through a lot of phases... Jordan is really the main person who has worked on software design. We tried to use quilting language and metaphors, minimize jargon, and highlight the collaborative nature of quilting by letting people see what others are designing and adopt those designs into their own. We found in our focus group that jargon is a significant barrier of entry to learning more about computing among this population. We also spent a lot of time trying to balance simplicity (in limiting the number of patches available, establishing a grid that people build their designs on) with expressivity -- we started out with just Half-Square Triangle blocks, and felt very limited. You're welcome to play with the software yourself here, if you're interested: http://livequilting.herokuapp.com/new/

    It does mean that workshop design is a bit more complicated (we'll find out soon how that goes!), because the computer science concepts can be somewhat hidden in the software alone.

    e-textiles would be really interesting! Out of scope for this project, but people on our team have worked with them in the past (e.g. I was part of a team that made a quilt-based board game for all ages: https://ebeeproject.net/main/). I think, in general, we've tried to focus on how to make this project relevant, motivating, and authentically interesting to the population -- they are already experts in their craft, so they are a different audience to work with than, for example, kid-focused e-textiles activities where kids may be learning the sewing skills alongside the electronics.

     
    3
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Shane Woods
    Fay Shaw
    Rose K. Pozos
  • Icon for: Perrin Chick

    Perrin Chick

    STEM Education Specialist
    May 12, 2021 | 08:51 p.m.

    This sounds like a great project. During Covid19 my daughter had lots of time to do some quilting. She would have benefitted from this project. How will you go about recruiting participants? 

    Perrin

  • Icon for: Anne Sullivan

    Anne Sullivan

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 13, 2021 | 03:05 p.m.

    Thank you! That's great that your daughter has been quilting! How long has she been a quilter?

    The role of community has been a pervasive thread in our focus group, survey, and interviews. To study how community may impact what we're doing, we are working on two different recruitment methods for our workshops:
    1. recruiting from a pre-existing quilt guild, so that participants will already know each other and can rely on pre-existing community
    2. recruiting via social media (Instagram and Facebook are most likely, as that's where the quilting communities we are aware of are most active) so that participants are less likely to know each other ahead of time

    Since we've needed to change our workshops to be virtual due to COVID, it opens up the ability to recruit with less constraints on participant location.

    Our hope is to refine and clearly document the design of the workshops to the point that other people can teach them as well, which would offer many more opportunities for people to participate!

  • Icon for: Danielle Harlow

    Danielle Harlow

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2021 | 03:29 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed seeing the intersection of two fields that seem so different.

  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 11:31 a.m.

    Thank you for visiting our project, Danielle!

  • Icon for: Shane Woods

    Shane Woods

    Facilitator
    Senior Director, STEM Center of Excellence
    May 15, 2021 | 02:13 p.m.

    Upon reading the abstract and watching the video, I immediately thought of the potential family impact this could have at a multigenerational event where participants are sharing their love for coding/gaming and quilting. This concept is simply brilliant. The connections are limitless. Have you been able to address some of the history of quilting across cultures to create a broader appeal to a BIPOC audience?

  • Icon for: Gillian Smith

    Gillian Smith

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 05:30 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your kind words! We are indeed both motivated by and interested in exploring family/multigenerational impact.

    We definitely have some more work to do to fully address appeal across cultures, and this is something we've been grappling with in both software and workshop design. We are trying to strike a balance between simplicity and expressivity with the software, to make sure that a broad range of potential quilts can be generated with the software (across multiple styles and traditions)... the patches (and subsequent blocks) span multiple cultural traditions in quilting. Right now, though, the software doesn't easily support more "improvisational" styles (e.g. alternative grid, improvisational piecing), nor does it support applique.

    We recruited to our focus group from a local (Central MA) African American quilt guild, and heard a lot from those participants about the importance of preserving traditional techniques, storytelling and activism through quilting, and fostering community. Our focus group participants also brought up their frustrations with cultural appropriation in quilting, e.g. the (predominantly white) Modern Quilt Guild's appropriation of Gees Bend quilts. We also have been discussing the need for attribution (e.g. in response to issues in quilting where male designers can take or receive credit for women's work).

    We are about to run our first workshops with this software, which will inform changes we make to the software and workshop facilitation guides, and I think it will be really important while we iterate upon their design for us to work with a diverse set of guilds to be able to really address broad appeal and applicability -- both in the quilting software, and in discussion topics related to computing! For example, seeing the impact of biased datasets is something that can easily come up in the workshops, since the generator can only create quilts that come from the blocks people have made.

  • May 17, 2021 | 09:27 p.m.

    So enjoyed this! Not a quilter myself (though I've tried with scraps leftover from making masks) but a knitter, and we've explored some quilting ideas with e-textiles layered on. 

    Appreciate that this is for adults. I wondered if besides helping people design with your tool you facilitate any analysis of designs of people's own quilts? 

    And... any thoughts on the quilt by Queen Liliʻuokalani? I realize that is a very specific question, but discovering that this year has been a way to link history, quilting, collaboration, and layers and layers of history and protest embodied in the quilt design. 

  • Icon for: Anne Sullivan

    Anne Sullivan

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 02:44 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your kind words! Knitting has so much in common with CS and Math as well; it's something I really want to get better at (although I have made one very wonky scarf so far!)

    When you talk about analysis of the design, do you mean with the software or us as facilitators? I love hearing about people's stories and why they made the design choices they did and often have conversations around that. I'm not quite sure if that's what you mean, though.

    The Queen Lili'uokalani quilt is such a beautiful piece, and the story behind it is incredible! Thank you for sharing it! Quilting (and other textile-based crafts) have a long history of being used for protest and activism. As a knitter you may already be familiar with the knitting espionage efforts during WWI. The AIDS quilt is another great example of this type of work, as well. You might be interested in the Social Justice Sewing Academy and the work they're doing if this is a topic that interests you! http://www.sjsacademy.org/

  • May 18, 2021 | 06:06 p.m.

    I'm just going to have a geek out crafter moment right now. :)  

    As for the design, I meant analyzing design of one's own handcrafted or passed down quilts rather than the software design. I realize that is probably far outside of the scope of this research, but from a funds of knowledge or tapping-into-local-knowledge perspective, I was just wondering if after doing software quilt designs people might be able to apply computational thinking to get further insight in their own designs.

    Thanks for all the tips on the Social Justice Sewing Academy!

  • To post to this discussion go to