DIAS Professor Nina Bonderup raises DKK 5.9 million to project on algorithms

DIAS Associate Chair, Professor Nina Bonderup Dohn from Department of Design and Communication at SDU has just received a grant of DKK 5.9 million from Independent Research Fund Denmark for the project: ‘Designing for situated computational thinking with computational things’.

By Susanne Siig Petersen

The grant will be implemented in the new project that examines how students will learn about algorithmic thinking, critical understanding of the roles that algorithms can play positively and negatively, and creative development of new, ethically and socially acceptable algorithms.

”I am really happy to get this funding. The project allows us to showcase the significance of the Humanities in contemporary society and for the future (a significance which is – surprisingly – sometimes questioned).

Professor Bonderup states – and she explains:

The project draws on core humanistic disciplines of philosophy and pedagogics. We put these disciplines to use in analyzing knowledge and cognition and in creating and testing didactic designs to support learners in developing reflective, creative, critical, and value-sensitive ICT-competences. Sustainable development and use of ICT now and for the future depend on such ICT-competences. Furthermore, the project is a great boost to the Center for Learning Computational Thinking which we have recently established (with me as Head) at Department for Design and Communication in collaboration with Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and Department for the Study of Culture”

About the project

Society is characterized by ever-increasing digitalization and integration of technology into everyday life. Quite a lot of processes and decisions in both working and leisure life involve algorithms and computer calculations. It calls for a strengthening of citizens’ competences in what is called ‘Computational Thinking’.

The research points to the fact that computational thinking is taught and formed both from the specific subject area and from the context in which learning takes place. Research also shows that it is easier and more motivating to learn abstractions if you use physical models and things.

Computational thinking is – contrary to popular belief – not an abstract and general way of thinking that can be practiced in one discipline and used unchanged in other disciplines.
Therefore, it is central to the project to develop and test didactic designs that support the situated learning of computational thinking using physical things that can be programmed.

The intention is that the project will result in focal points for didactics for computational thinking, which can create better and motivational learning and knowledge of how computational thinking can be used to teach other subjects.

The project will involve employment of two postdocs and a PhD – and it is carried out in collaboration with researchers from Australia, USA, Netherlands, Germany as well as AAU, AU and IT Vest – Co-finanzed by UC Syd

Read more about Professor Nina Bonderup here