I, Pseudocoder: Reflections of a Literacy Teacher-Educator on Teaching Coding as Critical Literacy

May, 2018

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 18(2), 255-270. 2018
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper describes the experiences of a literacy teacher educator, who learned computer programming and also learned to bridge her understandings of teaching English to teaching a critical literacy of code.

The author used autobiographical narrative inquiry approach to describe her experiences.
This approach requires a balance of rich storytelling and reflection that connects back to other literature in order to analyze themes that arise through the inquiry. The author shares stories of her experiences taking a computer science course and then situate these stories within the context of existing research and literature in connected learning, computer science, and game design.

The author described her final assignment, which was to design a computer game.
By the time the author finished designing the project and completed the course, she felt that she was learning how to make tools for social change. This understanding is what critical literacy educators hope their students will learn in English education; that learners see the power of words in shaping themselves and the world around them. The author argues that this understanding came as a result of making and reflecting on that making, using the connected learning framework as a lens.

The author argues that the integration of code into literacy education under the framework of connected learning has several important implications for education. First, she found that incorporating multimodal forms of texts and experience into literacy instruction offers the opportunity for teachers to make more critical connections to the lives and literacies of youth and give youth more tools to express their stories and ideas.
The author also found that new forms of digital communication and media-making also afford opportunities for students to participate more actively in civic discourse and work.
Finally, she noted that the integration of coding into humanities disciplines like English may help to address not only the gender gap in STEM, but also the lack of representation of People of Color in in STEM and technology.

The author concludes that bridging critical literacies of English and computer code has potential to foster greater civic participation and agency. 

Updated: Dec. 05, 2018