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Ph.D. Defence MA Mariana Aki Tamashiro: Computational Empowerment into Practice: Expanding Human Approaches in K-12 Technology Education

Info about event


Friday 17 November 2023,  at 13:15 - 16:00


Store Auditorium, INCUBA (5510-103), Åbogade 15, 8200 Aarhus N

Photo: Mariana Aki Tamashiro


Assessment Committee

  • Associate Professor, Christian Dindler, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark (chair)
  • Professor, Netta Iivari, Information Systems, University of Oulu
  • Associate Professor, Alison Hardy, Design and Technology Education, Nottingham Trent University


  • Associate professor Rachel Charlotte Smith, Department of Digital Design and Information Studies, Aarhus University
  • Professor Ole Sejer Iversen, Information Science, Aarhus University
  • Senior UX Researcher Kasper Løvborg Jensen, Google

The dissertation will be available for reading in a digital version before the defence following a statement from the borrower promising to delete the file afterwards. If you wish to read the dissertation please contact Mariana Aki Tamashiro mariana@cc.au.dk.

The defence is scheduled for three hours and is open to the public. All are welcome.


This dissertation is about putting Computational Empowerment into practice in the context of emerging technologies in formal education. It compiles three years of research on how human approaches could be expanded in technology education. Guided by the research question "How can we put Computational Empowerment into practice by expanding human approaches in K-12 emerging technologies education?",  this thesis addresses three specific sub-research questions related to pedagogical approaches, tools, and practices that aim for sustainability in emerging technologies education. 


This research is situated in the research field of Child-Computer Interaction (CCI) and is based on participatory and design-based interventions with 10 teachers and 87 students in 7th and 8th-grade classrooms in Denmark. Through a participatory research process, learning activities were co-designed with teachers, focusing on the ethical and societal aspects of technology. From the results of the empirical studies, this dissertation contributes to CCI by addressing current calls to include more critical perspectives in technology education. This work demonstrates how contextualized approaches to coding and decoding can be used for designing activities that foster, for example, the argumentation and reflection supporting Computational Empowerment in the practice of the students. The co-design with teachers developed new educational practices for human aspects of emerging technologies, such as transparency, fairness, and privacy, which are grounded in existing practices of teachers and students, and therefore develop sustainable future educational practices. 


To develop these research contributions into educational and design practices, this study contributes to developing three directions for putting Computational Empowerment into practice: (I) pedagogical principles that use imagination-based approaches to support engagement, perspective-taking, and embodiment; (II) design recommendations for digital and unplugged tools to support learning activities about emerging technologies; and (III) participatory approaches for developing sustainable educational practices for K-12 education.