Critical Computing

Critical Computing 

Critical computing brings together a group of people interested in the increasing digitalization of everyday practices.  By putting a focus on the relationships that unfold between humans and digital technologies we explore how the design of such technologies reflects and configures social practices and how their use shapes and contributes to the design of digital technologies.  The intellectual challenge that organises our work is that of developing a critical lens on computing, particularly in the areas of Educational Technology and Human-computer interaction.

Ph D students

Elin Sporrong, SU

Johanna Velander, LNU (together with my colleagues Nuno Otero and Marcelo Milrad, LNU)

Lon Hansson, SU.

Clàudia Figueiras, SU (together with my colleague Harko Verhagen, SU).

Chaminda Rathnayake, SU. & NSBM Green University Town.Sri Lanka (together with Somya Joshi, SEI)

Anne Pathiranage, SU & NSBM Green University Town. Sri Lanka.

Ongoing Post Doctoral Fellows

Chantal Mutimukwe,  Digital Futures

Past Postdoctoral Fellows

Karin Hansson, SU

Amanda Jiménez Aceituno, Stockholm Resilience Center.

Kristina Stenström, SU.

Current research projects  

Ethical and Legal Challenges in Relationship to AI-driven Practices in Higher Education

This project (2021-2024) is funded by the Program WASP-HS, an initiative for research in humanities and social science in AI and autonomous systems by Wallenberg Foundations. The project addresses fundamental ethical and legal challenges that AI technologies bring to learning and teaching in higher education. It will contribute knowledge about how to conceptually and empirically approach these challenges, but most importantly, how to deal with ethical issues in practice. Grounded in post-phenomenological investigations of human-technology relations, this project will contribute to a relational, dynamic, and situated understanding of ethics in everyday education. Bringing together direct and indirect educational stakeholders, the project aims to raise awareness towards responsible use of AI by setting up the Swedish Ethical Observatory for AI in higher education.

Principal investigator: Teresa Cerratto Pargman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University
Co-Principal investigator: Cecilia Magnusson-Sjöberg, Ph.D.
Professor of Law and Information Technology, Dept. of Law, Stockholm University

Project members:
Cormac McGrath, Associate Professor of Education, Stockholm University
Liane Colonna, Assistance Professor, Dept. of Law, Stockholm University
Jaakko Hollmén, Associate Professor of Computer Sciences, Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University.  Elin Sporrong, Ph. D. student, Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University.  Chantal Mutimukwe,  PostDoctoral  Fellow, Digital Futures

Digital Sovereignty 

This project is currently funded by Stockholm University and The National Autonomous University of (UNAM) Mexico. It is a collaboration with Associate Prof. Jenny Guerra (UNAM). The project seeks to map collectives that are in search of digital sovereignty via the development of open source digital infrastructure. The projects adopts a decolonizing perspectives of HCI.

Past Research Projects

 The use of Learning Analytics in Higher Education: Unpacking Ethical and Moral issues. Funded by Digital Humanities, Stockholm University. 2019. This is a collaboration with my colleague Cormac McGrath, CEUL, SU.

The project seeks to sensitive and contribute knowledge about the inherent ethical and moral challenges Big Data and Analytics bring into the quality and effectiveness of educational practices in higher education. Particularly and in connection with the field of Digital Humanities (DHV) our work aims, via a critical and systematic review of the extant research literature on Big Data and Analytics in Higher Education to elaborate on ethical and moral aspects that are deeply entrenched in the ownership, curation, storage and process of digital data. By engaging with such aspects we aim to create debate on social, cultural, and value-laden aspects of Big Data that have a natural place in discourses about the ongoing digitalization of educational practices.

Make IT happen introducing programming and computational thinking in mathematics and technology school subjects. It is funded by the Region Kronoberg and AV-Media. from January 2018 to 31 Dec 2019.

This is a collaboration with Prof. Marcelo Milrad from Linneaus University -main coordinator-. The aim is to strengthen teachers’ and children’s digital skills in Kronoberg County’s schools, especially with regard to programming and computational thinking. The project will provide teachers with the opportunity to develop curricula and syllabuses in elementary school  through competence-development activities in eight municipalities. Among the goals of the project there is the ambition to stimulate creativity with technology, support programmings kills and change youth attitudes toward programming, in particular the interest of girls. The project also aims at increasing the number of teachers using programming and computational thinking in the everyday classroom.

The project is a subproject of Mot Nya Höjer

Ground Truth – Sustainable citizen observatories for smart resources management funded by Horizon 2020 -EU. 2016-2018.

The main coordinator is professor Uta Wehn at UNESCO-IHE Delft- The Netherlands- Prof. Uta Wehn. From Stockholm University the researchers are: Somya Joshi (main), Tessy Cerratto Pargman and Love Ekenberg.

Citizen observatories enable citizens (and not just scientists and professionals) to collect and share data about the environment. Ground Truth 2.0 will strengthen the feedback-loop in the information chain: from citizen-based data collection to knowledge sharing for joint decision-making and cooperative planning. The overall objectives of Ground Truth 2.0 are to implement sustainable citizen observatories for the demonstration of their societal and economic benefits, and the global market uptake of the Ground Truth 2.0 concept and enabling technologies. The project uses a trans-disciplinary approach  which consists of a multi-actor innovation process to combine the social dimensions of citizen observatories with enabling technologies so that their customisation and deployment is tailored to the envisaged societal and economic impacts of the respective observatories.

It focuses on environmental indicators in urban and rural areas related to spatial planning issues, with a specific focus on flora and fauna as well as water availability and water quality for land and natural resources management. This is supported by an innovative web-based service for worldwide mapping and updating of land use.

Here a presentation of the Swedish case

Participatory Design: crossing PD methods and practices in academia and industry

Participants:  Karin Hansson ( main) and Tessy Cerratto Pargman. Funded by Stockholm University.

This project is about bringing together researchers and practitioners from academia and the industry sector to exchange about their current PD practices. The goal is to produce a repertoire of practices and methods that can serve, on the one hand to update courses’ curricula in relation to the realities of PD  as applied in industry and, on the other hand, to provide companies and organisations with a set of conceptual tools that facilitate them to identify and analyse critical aspects of PD as unfold in different contexts.

Digital Civic Participation – 2015-2018

Participants: Tessy Cerratto Pargman ( main) and Somya Joshi. Funded by Stockholm University.

This project is about discourses on participation, democracy and politics that are nowadays profoundly questioned and challenged. Internet and the entrance of open source software into the governmental sphere have much contributed toward the shift in understandings of citizen participation, their rights and representation. In the field of participatory design such an inquiry is reflected in a shift of focus regarding the study of the use of technologies within government. From being concerned by issues on transparency and equity researchers are nowadays more prone to explore issues regarding the transformative power or/and performativity of open source software in contexts such as government. This paper project scrutinises two cases, the case of the political Net Party which in 2013 introduced the platform “Democracy OS” into the legislature of the Ciudad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the case of Democracy Earth Foundation.  The question at the core of the project  is: Do open source tools redefine the political space and reconfigure citizen civic participation? And if so, how?

Critical Alternatives to the development of sustainable and fair high-tech. 2015-2017

Participants Somya Joshi ( main) and Tessy Cerratto Pargman. Funded by Stockholm University.

This is a project that deals with issues in the field of sustainable HCI. Specifically, the project is interesting in contributing to analyse alternative ways to develop, design and use mobile communication technology.  We look at a particular case that is both a high-tech company in the area of telecommunication and a social movement toward the development of sustainable and fair technology. We are committed to the study of alternative ways to consume and develop digital technology for the following reasons: As we move towards exhausting our finite natural resources, generating more waste than we can absorb, and as we stare at a future with knock-on climate change within a precariously interconnected ecosystem, the question that guides our work is “what role can technology design play in sustaining meaningful change?” The argument we advance in this investigation is twofold. The first relates to the temporality of sustainability, as seen a process. The second relates to the interconnectedness of the endeavour, where we, who are seeking change are part and parcel of the problem.

Project: PLACES- Purposeful Learning Across Collaborative Educational Spaces

Principal researchers: Tessy Cerratto Pargman (SU) and Marcelo Milrad (LNU). Other researchers from SU are Ola Knutsson, Jalal Nouri and Robert Ramberg,

Funded by The Swedish Research Council. The project collaborates with 4 Swedish elementary schools, Kista grundskolan and Husby skolan in Stockholm and 2 schools in Växjö, Sweden. 2013-2016

The project aims at understanding the intricacies and complexities of introducing mobile technologies into schools’ curriculum and established teaching practices; and analysing actual transformations that the use of mobile technologies in schools brings to contemporary forms of learning in the 21st century. The purpose is to develop a solid body of research on collaborative learning across formal and informal contexts, a better theoretical understanding of aspects related to new media literacies and their implications for curriculum design and everyday educational practice.

Project: SOLA – The use of social annotations in higher education

Principal researcher: Tessy C-Pargman, Ola Knutsson (SU) and Petter Karlström.

SOLA is part of the WIDE (Writing to learn in digital environments) project funded by Funded by The Swedish Research Council during  2010-2013.

SOLA deals with the challenge of introducing social tools into university students’ everyday peer-review practices. The purpose is thus to devise whether a social approach to peer-review would be beneficial -or not- for students’ development of critical thinking. This project is also interested in identifying epistemic implications of introducing social tools into the students’ co-construction of knowledge in specific domains as well as providing educational institutions with tools designed for the promotion of participatory and reflective literacy practices among young people.

Project: Digital Cultural Consumption and Education

Principal researchers: Mónica Pini (UNSAM) and Tessy Cerratto Pargman (SU). Funded by Linnaeus-Palme international programme. The project collaborates with UNSAM, University of San Martin, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2013-2015

The project aims to construct and describe students’ cultural consumption profile upon the assumption that media and technological devices function as socializing agents during children’s leisure and entertainment time. Through a qualitative study, we explore the representations and socio-technical practices of public school students of a predominately working-class neighbourhood situated in the periphery of Buenos Aires city. The outcomes allow us to portray children´s and teenagers’ interests and what they value outside the school with the ultimate purpose of making those characteristics visible for teachers. The research is conducted from a critical perspective drawing from a socio-educational approach grounded in the theory of cultural consumption.

Project: Sociotechnical practices in ecological communities

Tessy Cerratto Pargman (main), Daniel Pargman (KTH) and Bonnie Nardi (UCI). Funded by Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences. The project collaborates with the University of California Irvine in USA and KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. 2014-2015.

This project looks at ecological communities, that as part of social innovative initiatives, have voluntarily opted for alternative ways of living (e.g. ”simply living”). The goal of the project is to understand the sociocultural context, everyday practices and values embedded in such communities with the purpose to gain knowledge about how people enact sustainable behaviours and change on a daily basis. A design-oriented goal with the project is to contribute to the design of technologies that are less inclined toward instrumental purposes of efficiency and corporate profit and more prone to design for political mobilization (cf. Dourish, 2010). The project is inspired by Nardi’s ideas about the future role of human computation “Human computation should include using human cognitive capacity to understand how to deploy technical resources wisely with compassion and foresight” [Nardi, 2013, page 2,]

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