Aarhus Universitets segl

PhD Defence Kasper Skov Christensen

Digital Design Literacy in K-12 Education.

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Fredag 11. oktober 2019,  kl. 13:00 - 16:00


Aarhus University, Building 1584, Room 112, Langelandsgade 145, 8000 Aarhus C

Dissertation Abstract:

Kasper Skov Christensen will be defending his dissertation on Digital Design Literacy in K-12 Education, which is the result of a four-year research project within the FabLab@school.dk project which aims to utilize the new educational possibilities presented by the maker movement, digital fabrication and design thinking. Kasper investigates how the implementation of maker settings and technologies in K-12 schools might provide novel ways to combine constructionism, design, critical thinking and digital technology with the intend of having students develop digital design literacy. Hence, this dissertation is a response to the question of how to educate K–12 students to understand, use, critically reflect on, and design digital technologies.

The contributions presented in his dissertation are positioned within the turn toward making in education (an emerging sub-field within Child-Computer Interaction and Interaction Design and Children), specifically the new possibilities that this turn creates for K–12 students to develop competencies to design and critique digital technologies. Kasper's dissertation asks the following question: How can digital design be introduced, sustained and articulated as a new literacy through making in formal K-12 education? The question is investigated along three research trajectories: 1) conceptual (digital technology, design thinking and critical perspective as a way to understand digital design literacy), 2) measurement and assessment (qualitative and quantitative understandings of the state-of-the-actual in terms of students' current level of digital design literacy), and 3) educator (how digital design literacy requires new pedagogical approaches, new teaching practices, and poses new challenges to educators). Taken together, these three research trajectories, constitute the main contribution of the dissertation: The Digital Design Literacy Framework. The dissertation is comprised of five research papers and two reports framed by an overview that relates and summarizes the arguments made in the papers and how the contributions from these come together as a whole. Aside from the individual contributions made in the included papers, Kasper’s dissertation makes three contributions:

The first contribution is a conceptual understanding of digital design literacy. Kasper lay out a genealogy of traditional literacy toward new literacies to legitimize digital design as a new literacy in K–12 education. This includes defining central concepts such as skills, compentencies, and literacy and relate these to critical, digital, and design literacy. Kasper contribute an understanding of how design and digital literacies are interrelated, can mutually benefit one another, and be synthesized and articulated holistically as integrated digital design literacy.

The second contribution are quantitative measures of the state-of-the-actual in terms of students’ digital, design, and critical literacy and an assessment tool for quantitatively evaluating students’ stance towards inquiry, which is argued to be an important competence of digital design literacy.

The third contribution is an understanding of three crucial aspects which must be considered when developing teachers’ capability to teach digital design literacy. Kasper point to impediments for such teaching and to existing teachers’ limited possibilities to meet demands presented by teaching digital design literacy. Kasper contribute a framework for educating reflective design educators who can support students in developing digital design literacy based on theory-based lectures and workshops, peer-collaboration, and teachers’ practice in schools. This contribution overlaps with the first contribution, as it in-forms my articulations of digital design literacy by pointing out what competencies’ teachers lack and relates this to theory on design expertise.

The accumulation of these three contributions are has resulted in what is the main contribution of Kasper’s dissertation, the Digital Design Literacy Framework. The framework contributes articulations and operationalizes digital design as a new literacy.


Assessment committee:

Netta Iivari, Professor, Department of Information Processing Science, Oulu University, Finland

Michail Giannakos, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, NTNU.Trondheim, Norway

Rikke Toft Nørgård, Associate Professor, Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, Denmark (Chair)



Ole Sejer Iversen, Professor,  School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University


The defence is public, and everybody is welcome; the defence, scheduled for a maximum of three hours, will be held in English.


The dissertation is available for reading on location at this address:

School of Communication and Culture, Department of Digital Design and Information Studies, Building 5347,  Helsingforsgade 14, 8200 Aarhus N