Exploring the power of algorithms by inventing and creating – conceptualizing of digital technology in a school setting.

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A new school subject “Understanding Technology” has been introduced in Denmark, to teach students: “to participate as active, critical and democratic citizens in a digitized society...” (Læseplan 2018). Students must create, explore, program and design computer models to solve problems, and experience how the digital technologies influence our society and hereby learn to act responsibly in a digitalized world. Students are expected to think about technology based on what they can do with technology. However, students and teachers will be challenged if their understanding of technology is expected to develop solely from these experiences. (Skov Pedersen, Kathrine, 2020).

By programming, students learn about functionality and e.g. algorithms, and may experience that algorithms don’t understand context or nuance, emotion and empathy. Introducing concepts to expand and develop student’s perspective will lead to more abstract and critical questions - such as power-relations, handling of data etc. This will help students understand the context of technology and its implications for democracy.

Based on a discourse analysis of educational documents, the paper evaluates the instruments (concepts/metaphors) students are offered for constructing a relation between “doing” and ”thinking”. The analysis draws on the philosophical discipline: Philosophy of Technology, to evaluate the space given to students for developing “intelligent habituation” (J. Dewey, 1944 / J.Dewey 2005).'

The risk is, the nature and meaning of technology is not sufficiently dealt with, if technology primarily is seen as a practice sustained by engineers.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021
EventASSOCIATION FOR VISUAL PEDAGOGIES2021 International AVP Conference: International AVP Conference - Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), digital, Bergen, Norway
Duration: 9 Jun 202111 Jul 2021
Conference number: 3


ConferenceASSOCIATION FOR VISUAL PEDAGOGIES2021 International AVP Conference
LocationWestern Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), digital
Internet address


  • digital technology- knowledge construction – Philosophy of technology – democracy


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