I am interested in the theoretical and applied connections between coding, game design, and literacy. In particular, I would like to design online games and apps that support critical linguistic awareness among African American youth in the United States. Linguistic diversity is often used as synonym for multilingualism, where variation within named languages is omitted. Linguists contend that the differences between languages and dialects are politically rather than scientifically determined. While the shifts from Black English to African American Vernacular to African American Language signify important ideological perspectives, naming itself does not instigate attitudinal and structural changes.
The default focus on named languages has tangible effects on education policy as the diversity of English varieties within speech communities is ignored. There are neither critical linguistic awareness professional development for teachers nor pedagogical interventions for speakers of regional and world English varieties. Because of this void, I would like to create interactive technology that uses game design to teach youth what I have termed comparative American linguistic and cultural awareness (CALACA). Calaca is a Mexican and Central American term for ‘skeleton’ or ‘death.’ As skeletons represent the ancestors, CALACA builds respect for the multicultural and multilingual inheritance of the Americas. In addition, CALACA also promotes religious pluralism by centering indigenous and African traditional religions.