Conference Agenda

F-P674-1: Teaching and Learning the Digital
Friday, 09/Mar/2018:
11:00am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Maija Paavolainen
Location: P674

11:00am - 11:15am
Short Paper (10+5min) [publication ready]

Creative Coding at the arts and crafts school Robotti (Käsityökoulu Robotti)

Tomi Dufva

Aalto-University, the school of Arts, Design and Architecture,

The increasing use of digital technologies presents a new set of challenges that, in addition to key economic and societal viewpoints, also reflects similar use in both education and culture. On the other hand, instead of a challenge, digitalization of our environment can also be seen as new material and a new medium for art and art education. This article suggests that both a better understanding of digital structures, and the ability for greater self-expression through digital technology is possible using creative coding as a teaching method.

This article focuses on Käsityökoulu Robotti (, a type of hacker space for children that offers children teaching about art and technology. Käsityökoulu Robotti is situated within the contexts of art education, the maker movement, critical technology education, and media art. Art education is essential to Käsityökoulu Robotti in a bilateral sense, i.e., to discover in what ways art can be used to create clearer understanding of technology and at the same time teach children how to use new technological tools as a way to greater self-expression. These questions are indeed intertwined, as digital technology, like code, can be a substantial way to express oneself in ways that otherwise could not be expressed. Further, using artistic approaches, such as creative coding, can generate more tangible knowledge of digital technology. A deeper understanding of digital technology is also critical when dealing with the ever-increasing digitalization of our society, as it helps society to understand the digital structures that underlie our continually expanding digital world.

This article examines how creative coding works as a teaching method in Käsityökoulu Robotti to promote both artistic expression and a critical understanding of technology. Further still, creative coding is a tool for bridging the gap between maker movement, critical thinking and art practices and bring each into sharper focus. This discussion is the outcome of an ethnographic research project at Käsityökoulu Robotti.

Dufva-Creative Coding at the arts and crafts school Robotti-101_a.pdf

11:15am - 11:30am
Distinguished Short Paper (10+5min) [abstract]

A long way? Introducing digitized historic newspapers in school, a case study from Finland

Inés Matres

University of Helsinki

During 2016/17 two Finnish newspapers, from their first issue to their last, were made available to schools in eastern Finland through the digital collections of the National Library of Finland ( This paper presents the case study of one upper-secondary class making use of these materials. Before having access to these newspapers, the teachers in the school in question had little awareness of what this digital library contained. The initial research questions of this paper are whether digitised historic newspapers can be used by school communities, and what practices they enable. Subsequently, the paper explores how these practices relate to teachers’ habits and to the wider concept of literacy, that is, the knowledge and skills students can acquire using these materials. To examine the significance of historic newspapers in the context of their use today, I rely on the concept of ‘practice’ defined by cultural theorist Andreas Reckwitz as the “use of things that ‘mould’ activities, understandings and knowledge”.

To correctly assess practice, I approached this research through ethnographic methods, constructing the inquiry with participants in the research: teachers, students and the people involved in facilitating the materials. During 2016, I conducted eight in-depth interviews with teachers about their habits, organized a focus group with further 15 teachers to brainstorm activities using historic newspapers, and collaborated closely with one language and literature teacher, who implemented the materials in her class right away. Observing her students work and hearing their presentations, motivations, and opinions about the materials showed how students explored the historical background of their existing personal, school-related and even professional interests. In addition to the students’ projects, I also collected their newspaper clippings and logs of their searches in the digital library. These digital research assets revealed how the digital library that contains the historic newspapers influenced the students’ freedom to choose a topic to investigate and their capacity to ‘go deep’ in their research.

The findings of this case study build upon, and extend, previous research about how digitized historical sources contribute in upper-secondary education. The way students used historical newspapers revealed similarities with activities involving contemporary newspapers, as described by the teachers who participated in this study. Additionally, both the historicity and the form of presentation of newspapers in a digital library confer unique attributes upon these materials: they allow students to explore the historical background of their research interests, discover change across time, verbalize their research ideas in a concrete manner, and train their skills in distant and close reading to manage large amounts of digital content. In addition to these positive attributes that connect with learning goals set by teachers, students also tested the limits of these materials. The lack of metadata in articles or images, the absence of colour in materials that originally have it, or the need for students to be mindful of how language has changed since the publication of the newspapers are constrains that distinguish digital libraries from resources, such as web browsers and news sites, that are more familiar to students. Being aware of these positive and negative affordances, common to digital libraries containing historic newspapers and other historical sources, can support teachers in providing their students effective guidelines when using this kind of materials.

This use case demonstrates that digitized historical sources in education can do more than simply enabling students to “follow the steps of contemporary historians”, as research has previously established. These materials could also occupy a place between history and media education. The objective of media education in school –regardless of the technological underpinnings of a single medium, which change rapidly in this digital age– aims at enabling students to reflect on the processes of media consumption and production. The contribution of digitized historical newspapers to this subject is acquainting students with processes of media preservation and heritage. However, it could still be a long way until teachers adopt these aspects in their plans. It is necessary to acknowledge the trajectory and agents involved, since the 1960s, in the work of introducing newspapers in education. This task not only consisted of facilitating access to newspapers, but also of developing teaching plans and advocating for a common understanding and presence of media education in schools.

In addition to uncovering an aspect of digital cultural heritage that is relevant for the school community today, another aim of this paper is to raise awareness among the cultural heritage community, especially national libraries, about the diversity in the uses and users of their collections, especially in a time when the large-scale digitization of special collections is generalizing access to materials traditionally considered for academic research.

Selected bibliography:

Buckingham, D. (2003). Media education: literacy, learning, and contemporary culture. Polity Press.

Gooding, P. (2016). Historic Newspapers in the Digital Age: ‘Search All About It!’ Routledge.

Lévesque, S. (2006). Discovering the Past: Engaging Canadian Students in Digital History. Canadian Social Studies, 40(1).

Martens, H. (2010). Evaluating Media Literacy Education: Concepts, Theories and Future Directions. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 2(1).

Nygren, T. (2015). Students Writing History Using Traditional and Digital Archives. Human IT, 12(3), 78–116.

Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263.

Matres-A long way Introducing digitized historic newspapers-205_a.pdf

11:30am - 11:45am
Short Paper (10+5min) [abstract]

“See me! Not my gender, race, or social class”: Combating Stereotyping and prejudice mixing digitally manipulated experience with classroom debriefing.

Anders Steinvall1, Mats Deutschmann2, Mattias Lindvall-Östling2, Jon Svensson3, Roger Mähler3

1Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Sweden; 2School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden; 3Humlab, Umeå University, Sweden


Not only does stereotyping, based on various social categories such as age, social class, ethnicity, sexuality, regional affiliation, and gender serve to simplify how we perceive and process information about individuals (Talbot et al. 2003: 468), it also builds up expectations on how we act. If we recognise social identity as an ongoing construct, and something that is renegotiated during every meeting between humans (Crawford 1995), it is reasonable to speculate that stereotypic expectations will affect the choices we make when interacting with another individual. Thus, stereotyping may form the basis for the negotiation of social identity on the micro level. For example, research has shown that white American respondents react with hostile face expressions or tone of voice when confronted with African American faces, which is likely to elicit the same behaviour in response, but, as Bargh et al. point out (1996: 242), “because one is not aware of one's own role in provoking it, one may attribute it to the stereotyped group member (and, hence, the group)”. Language is a key element in this process. An awareness of such phenomena, and how we unknowingly may be affected by the same, is, we would argue, essential for all professions where human interaction is in focus (psychologists, teachers, social workers, health workers etc.).

RAVE (Raising Awareness through Virtual Experiencing) funded by the Swedish Research Council, aims to explore and develop innovative pedagogical methods for raising subjects’ awareness of their own linguistic stereotyping, biases and prejudices, and to systematically explore ways of testing the efficiency of these methods. The main approach is the use of digital matched-guise testing techniques with the ultimate goal to create an online, packaged and battle-tested, method available for public use.

We are confident that there is a place for this, in our view, timely product. There can be little doubt that the zeitgeist of the 21st centuries first two decades has swung the pendulum in a direction where it has become apparent that the role of Humanities should be central. In times when unscrupulous politicians take every chance to draw on any prejudice and stereotypical assumptions about Others, be they related to gender, ethnicity or sexuality, it is the role of the Humanities to hold up a mirror and let us see ourselves for what we are. This is precisely the aim of the RAVE project.

In line with this thinking, open access to our materials and methods is of primary importance. Here our ambition is not only to provide tested sample cases for open access use, but also to provide clear directives on how these have been produced so that new cases, based on our methods, can be created. This includes clear guidelines as to what important criteria need to be taken into account when so doing, so that our methodology is disseminated openly and in such a fashion that it becomes adaptable to new contexts.


The RAVE method at its core relies on a treatment session where two groups of test subjects (i.e. students) each are exposed to one out of two different versions of the same scripted dialogue. The two versions differ only with respect to the perception of the gender of the characters, whereas scripted properties remain constant. In one version, for example, one participant, “Terry”, may sound like a man, while in the other recording this character has been manipulated for pitch and timbre to sound like a woman. After the exposure, the subjects are presented with a survey where they are asked to respond to questions related to linguistic behaviour and character traits one of the interlocutors. The responses of the two sub-groups are then compared and followed up in a debriefing session, where issues such as stereotypical effects are discussed.

The two property-bent versions are based on a single recording, and the switch of the property (for instance, gender) is done using digital methods described below. The reason for this procedure is to minimize the number of uncontrolled variables that could affect the outcome of the experiment. It is a very difficult - if not an impossible - task to transform the identity-related aspects of a voice recording, such as gender or accent, while maintaining a “perfect” and natural voice - a voice that is opposite in the specific aspect, but equivalent in all other aspects, and doing so without changing other properties in the process or introducing artificial artifacts.

Accordingly, the RAVE method doesn’t strive for perfection, but focuses on achieving a perceived credibility of the scripted dialogue. However, the base recording is produced with a high quality to provide the best possible conditions for the digital manipulation. For instance, the dialogue between the two speakers are recorded on separate tracks so as to keep the voices isolated.

The digital manipulation is done with the Praat software (Boersma & Weenink, 2013). Formants, range and and pitch median are manipulated for gender switching using standard offsets and are then adapted to the individual characteristics of the voices. Several versions of the manipulated dialogues are produced, and evaluated by a test group via an online survey. Based on the survey result, the one with the highest quality is selected. This manipulated dialogue needs further framing to reach a sufficient level of credibility.

The way the dialogue is framed for the specific target context, how it is packaged and introduced is of critical importance. Various kinds of techniques, for instance use of audiovisual cues, are used to distract the test subject from the “artificial feeling”, as well as to enforce the desired target property. We add various kinds of distractions, both audial and visual, which lessen the listeners’ focus on the current speaker, such as background voices simulating the dialogue taking place in a cafe, traffic noise, or scrambling techniques simulating, for instance, a low-quality phone or a Skype call.

On this account, the RAVE method includes a procedure to evaluate the overall (perceived) quality and credibility of a specific case setup.This evaluation is implemented by exposing a number of pre-test subjects to the packaged dialogue (in a set-up comparable to the target context). After the exposure, the pre-test subjects respond to a survey designed to measure the combined impression of aspects such as the scripted dialogue, the selected narrators, the voices, the overall set-up, the contextual framing etc.

The produced dialogues, and accompanying response surveys are turned into a single online package using the program Storyline. The single entry point to the package makes the process of collecting anonymous participant responses more fail-safe and easier to carry out.

The whole package is produced for a “bring your own device” set-up, where the participants use their own smart phones, tablets or laptops to take part in the experiment. These choices of using an online single point of entry package adapted to various kinds of devices have been made to facilitate experiment participation and recording of results. The results from the experiment is then collected by the teacher and discussed with the students at an ensuing debriefing seminar.


At this stage, we have conducted experiments using the RAVE method with different groups of respondents, ranging from teacher trainees, psychology students, students of sociology, active teachers, the public at large etc, in Sweden and elsewhere. Since the experiments have been carried out in other cultural contexts (in the Seychelles, in particular), we have received results that enable cross-cultural comparisons.

All trials conducted addressing gender stereotyping have supported our hypothesis that linguistic stereotyping acts as a filter. In trials conducted with teacher trainees in Sweden (n = 61), we could show that respondents who listened to the male guise overestimated stereotypical masculine conversational features such as how often the speaker interrupted, how much floor space ‘he’ occupied, and how often ‘he’ contradicted his counterpart. On the other hand, features such as signalling interest and being sympathetic were overestimated by the respondents when listening to the female guise.

Results from the Seychelles have strengthened our hypothesis. Surveys investigating linguistic features associated with gender showed that respondents’ (n=46) linguistic gender stereotyping was quite different from that of Swedish respondents. For example, the results from the Seychelles trials showed that floor space and the number of interruptions made were overestimated by the respondents listening to the female guise, quite unlike the Swedish respondents, but still in line with our hypothesis.

Trials using psychology students (n=101) have similar results. In experiments where students were asked to rate a case character’s (‘Kim’) personality traits and social behaviour, our findings show that the male version of Kim was deemed more unfriendly and a bit careless compared to the female version of Kim, who was regarded to be more friendly and careful. Again, this shows that respondents overestimate aspects that confirm their stereotypic preconceptions.


The underlying pedagogical idea for the set-up is to confront students and other participants with their own stereotypical assumptions. In our experience, discussing stereotypes with psychology and teacher training students does not give rise to the degree of self-reflection we would like. This is what we wanted to remedy. With the method described here, where the dialogues are identical except for the manipulation in terms of pitch and timbre, perceived differences in personality and social behaviour can only be explained as residing in the beholder.

A debriefing seminar after the exposure gave the students an opportunity to reflect on the results from the experiment. They were divided into mixed groups where half the students had listened to and responded to the male guise, and the other half to the female guise. Since any difference between the groups was the result of the participants’ rating, their own reactions to the conversations, there was something very concrete and urgent to discuss. Thus, the experiment affected the engagement positively. Clearly, the concrete and experiential nature of this method made the students analyze the topic, their own answers, the reasons for these and, ultimately, themselves in greater detail and depth in order to understand the results from the experiment, and try to relate the results to earlier research findings. Judging from these impressions, the method is clearly very effective.

Answers from a survey with psychology students (n=101) after the debriefing corroborate this impression. In response to the question “What was your general experience of the experiment that you have just partaken in? Did you learn anything new?”, a clear majority of the students responded positively: 76 %. Moreover, close to half of these answers explicitly expressed self-reflective learning. Of the remaining comments, 15 % were neutral, and 9 % expressed critical feedback.

Examples of responses expressing self-reflection include: “… It gave me food for thought. Even though I believed myself to be relatively free of prejudice I can't help but wonder if I make assumptions about personalities merely from the time of someone's voice.” And: “I learned some of my own preconceptions and prejudices that I didn't know I had.” An example of a positive comment with no self-reflective element is: “Female and male stereotypes were stronger than I expected, even if only influenced by the voice”,

The number of negative comments was small. The negative comments generally took the position that the results were expected so there was nothing to discuss, or that the student had figured out the set-up from the beginning. A few negative comments revealed that the political dimension of the subject of gender could influence responses. These students would probably react in the same way to a traditional seminar. We haven’t been able to reach everyone … yet ...

Steinvall-“See me! Not my gender, race, or social class”-194_a.pdf

11:45am - 12:00pm
Short Paper (10+5min) [abstract]

Digital archives and the learning processes of performance art

Tero Nauha

University of Helsinki

In this presentation, the process of learning performance art is articulated in the contextual change that digital archives have caused starting from the early 1990s. It is part of my postdoctoral research, artistic research on the conjunctions between divergent gestures of thought and performance, done in a research project How to Do Things with Performance? funded by the Academy of Finland.

Since performance art is a form of ‘live art’, it would be easy to regard that the learning processes are also mostly based on the physical practice and repetition. However, in my regard, performance art is a significant line of flight from the 1960’s and 70’s conceptual art, alongside the video-art. Therefore, the pedagogy of performance art has been tightly connected with the development of media from the collective use of the Portapak video cameras and the recent development of VR-attributed performances, or choreographic archive methods by such figures like William Forsythe, or the digital journals of artistic research like Ruukku-journal or Journal for Artistic Research, JAR.

This presentation will speculate on the transformation of performance art practices, since when the vast amount of historical archive materials has become accessible to artists, notwithstanding the physical location of a student or an artist. At the same time the social media affects the peer groups of artists. My point of view is not based on statistics, but on the notions that I have gathered from the teaching of performance art, as well as instructing MA and PhD level research projects.

The argument is that the emphasis on learning in performative practices is not based on talent, but it rather is general and generic, where the access to networks and digital archives serve as a tool for social form of organization. Or speculation on what performance art is? In this sense, and finally my argument is that the digital virtuality does not conflate with the concept of the virtual. On this, my argument leans on the philosophical thought on actualization and the virtual by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Alexander R. Galloway. The access to the digital archives in the learning processes is rather based on the premise that artistic practices are explicitly actualizations of the virtual, already. The digitalization is a modality of this process.

The learning process of performance art is not done through resemblance, but doing with someone or something else and developed in heterogeneity with digital virtualities.

Nauha-Digital archives and the learning processes of performance art-152_a.pdf