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CEED Project

CEED: Computational Empowerment for Emerging Technologies in Education

Computational Empowerment is an emerging field of research that focuses on how citizens and especially children and adolescents, with a deeper understanding of technology and computation, can engage actively in the design, construction and use of digital technology to support their personal agency in a digitalized society. We are interested in learning activities that include design, computational thinking, digital making, toolkits for emerging technologies, critical reflection, understanding people’s contexts and the societal impact of digital technology as contributing to computational empowerment. The candidates build on participatory design research, social research, computer science and learning sciences approaches and conduct experimental design research in Danish secondary schools to develop a framework and toolkits for computational empowerment for emerging technologies in education.

The Research Project

CEED is a 4-year research project exploring and building new practices of computational empowerment for emerging technologies in Danish secondary education. CEED addresses the core question: How do we empower coming generations to understand the complexity and impact of digital technology and become co-creators of our future digitalised society? While new technologies are rapidly transforming our everyday lives, investment in educating children about their impact and potentials has just begun, prioritizing a focus on coding skills and computational thinking over quality of life, agency and democracy. Based on ten years of research into digital design and making in education, CEED will address the next societal and educational challenge - of emerging technologies (IoT and AI/ML) - and their role in the digitalisation of society. CEED extends the current focus on computational thinking in education through a design-oriented approach that brings together humanistic, participatory and technical perspectives to develop a theoretical, technical and methodological framework for Computational Empowerment. The framework is developed through an integrated focus on ‘digital design literacy’, technological materials and toolkits, and human-centred principles for learning and designing with emerging technologies in secondary education. In this way, the research will contribute to developing sustainable best-practices at local and national level, while contributing to state-of-the-art in a global research community.

In the CEED project humanistic, participatory and technical approaches come together in engaging with, computational empowerment as an alternative agenda, focusing on how children can build their understanding of emerging technologies and their agency in a digitized world. The project brings together researchers from the humanities and computer science in addressing the following research questions:

• How can we provide computational empowerment to learning and designing with emerging technologies in secondary education?

• How can we support the development of practices, tools and infrastructures for computational empowerment for students and teachers in secondary education?

• How do we develop sustainable and long-term impact across educational contexts?

Such research agendas contribute to current state-of-the-art with an integrated humanistic and technical approach and framework for understanding, exploring and designing with emerging technologies as part of students’ educational practices. Through the specific focus on Computational Empowerment the project will develop and mature a distinctly Scandinavian and design-oriented approach to technology in education that can benefit Danish as well as international research and development.

The 4 sub-projects

The CEED project is structured in four complementary sub-projects that work across humanistic and technical research field to produce a framework for computational empowerment for emerging technologies in secondary education.

Project 1: Principles for Designing and Learning with Emerging Technologies

This project explores how to understand and approach emerging technologies from a human-centred perspective that enable children and educators to actively engage with these in secondary education. It addresses the need for understanding both the computational premises and qualities for AI and IoT and their integral relation to everyday and automated decision-making, personal and societal impact. The project will develop a set of human-centred principles for learning and designing with emerging technologies that cover all stages of an iterative design process.

Research questions:

• What are human-centred and design-based perspectives and understandings of emerging technologies?

• How can we develop principles for designing and learning with emerging technologies?

• How do we develop learning processes and tools that support a mindsets of students and teachers towards being co-designers of a digitalised future?

Project 2: Taxonomy and Conceptual Design of Emerging Technologies for Children

This project contributes to computational empowerment through making emerging technologies understandable, recognizable, explorable and manipulable for children. This happens through developing a taxonomy of and toolkits for emerging technologies in terms of how they can be part of children's learning and design processes. Based on a research through design process, the project also contributes conceptual design of specific emerging technologies including Machine learning and IoT.

Research questions:

• How do emerging technologies provide new challenges and opportunities for computational empowerment?

• How can we conceptualise emerging technologies such that they become understandable, recognizable, explorable, and manipulable for children?

Project 3: Design Principles for Tools for Digital Fabrication with Emerging Technologies

This project investigates how we can bring emerging technologies such as AI or IoT into the hands of children for them to explore, learn and contribute to shaping possible futures as well as critically reflect upon the impact of these technologies on their current everyday lives. Based on a research through design approach, where prototype toolkits are designed and evaluated, the project contributes design principles for tools for digital fabrication with emerging technologies.

Research questions:

• How can we design tools that allow children to do digital fabrication with emerging technologies?

• How can such tools be integrated into processes of learning and construction?

Project 4: Qualities and Criteria for Evaluating Digital Design Literacy in Education

This project develops a qualitative understanding of the state-of-the-actual in terms of students’ use, experiences and understandings of everyday digital technologies and their ability to deploy more advanced technologies as a means to proactively engage in the design of digital artifacts. The project will produce a taxonomy for students digital design literacy both in relation to understanding existing digital technologies and engaging in the design of future digital technologies, and deliver a conceptual model for educators to evaluate students digital literacy literacy as part of curriculum based education.

Research questions:

• Which competencies supports children’s ’digital design literacy’?

• What are the evaluation criteria that applies to digital design literacy with emerging technologies?

• How is digital design literacy supported in a progressive development through educational levels?


Ole Sejer Iversen

Professor School of Communication and Culture - Information Science

Marianne Graves Petersen

Associate professor Department of Computer Science

Rachel Charlotte Smith

Associate professor School of Communication and Culture - Information Science

Project Partner

This project is funded by VILLUM FONDEN.

Read more about it here (in Danish).