Text and Code

Over the last 500 years, our interaction with print text--literacy--has transformed how we think, the kinds of identities we inhabit, and the structure of our societies. How might interaction with code and computational media like Facebook have similar effects? How might we design schools to support emergent computational literacies?

This design-based research project led to the release of Unfold Studio, a web application for interactive storytelling. It is in active use in an introductory computer science curriculum.

My goal was to explore how textual literacy and computational literacy can support each other and combine to create literacies with new critical possibilities. The research questions are design-based: what kind of medium and pedagogy might support textual-computational multiliteracy, and what practices might emerge in such a literacy space? Previous work has insufficiently spanned the fields of learning sciences and literacies, limiting their ability to explore critical computational literacy. I developed a web application for interactive storytelling over three cycles of participatory design-based research, culminating with a study measuring the extent to which each literacy supported growth in the other. One new practice which emerged was the construction and use of critical discourse models simulating how discourse participants navigate subjectivities and ideologies. As computer science becomes a mainstream school subject, we have an opportunity to define what the subject will look like; this article offers a vision of a literacy-based approach which could contribute to literatory education.


Proctor, C. & Blikstein, P. (2018) Unfold.studio: Developing critical literacies of text and code. Manuscript submitted for publication. (PDF)

Proctor, C. (2018). Interactive Storytelling. Workshop at Computer Science Teachers Association annual conference, Omaha, NE.

Garcia, A., & Proctor, C. (2017). Worldbuilding for Safe, Secure, and Private Futures: Producing Internet-Related Roleplaying Games and Interactive Fiction. Workshop at MozFest 2017, London, UK.

Proctor, C., & Blikstein, P. (2017). Interactive Fiction: Weaving together literacies of text and code. Work-in-progress paper presented at Interaction Design and Children, Stanford, CA. (PDF)