Author Archives: Uttishta Varanasi

Unconference: Algorithmic Literacy among Young Learners

An Unconference is a more informal, participatory form of convening, where rather than a one way dissemination of information through talks and lectures, we create a shared understanding of a topic through open discussion. We used the Unconference as a means to engage with a community of researchers, and practitioners working in and around topics of algorithmic literacy. With participants from backgrounds ranging within design, computer science, sociology, education and entrepreneurship, a vast variety of topics were unpacked during our sessions.


We began with discussions on social media and children. Some of the topics from the discourse included discussions around the internet as a public digital space, questioning the corporations that own that space and how the internet materialises in the physical world. As the sessions continued, so the conversation evolved around regulation, human-like AI agents, and  misinformation in social networks.

“Who is the digital cartographer of the algorithms we must navigate?”

The second day began with a fishbowl exercise around digital citizenship. Concepts around citizenship, identity, community were explored as we pondered the value of embodied action and digital inclusion, and the role of more-than-human forms of citizenship in an increasingly digital age. We explored these alternative, more complex forms of citizenship, alongside the importance of data rights and activism, commenting on the effects of digital excess on the physical world.

As we began winding down the Unconference, we took note of the broad range of topics that fall under the umbrella of algorithmic literacy and digital citizenship. As we continue in the project, we look to focus on using participatory methods to create digital tools to improve the understanding of algorithms in civic society. This expands to exploratory and experiential learning approaches for the AI age.

As part of this project, we plan on conducting workshops in the Indian context early next year. If you’d like to collaborate or join our pilot, feel free to reach out at uttishta.varanasi[@]

Promoting Algorithmic Literacy in Indo-Finnish contexts: Talks by Umakant Soni and Eva Durall

We hosted our first Indo-Finnish collaborative session on the 2nd September.

We had have talks and discussions led by –
Umakant Soni, CEO of ARTPARK, a nonprofit organisation based in India which promotes technology innovations in AI & Robotics.
Eva Durall from the INTERACT research group at Oulu University on “Sustainable Entrepreneurship Education meets AI: An exploration into children’s imaginaries”.

A recording of the session can be found here:

Promoting Critical, Playful and Inclusive Algorithmic Literacy and Digital Citizenship among Young Learners

The project Promoting Critical, Playful and Inclusive Algorithmic Literacy and Digital Citizenship among Young Learners explores how new forms of digital pedagogy and participatory engagement with algorithmic and data-centric concepts and technologies can promote critical, playful, and inclusive digital citizenship and algorithmic literacy among young learners.

The project is a transnational collaboration between researchers at Aalto University, University of Oulu, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology  and ARTPARK. The project will support collaborative research and exchange using two doctoral researchers based at Aalto University and at IISC, Bangalore (co-funded by the ARTPARK), with fieldwork, mutual visits, workshops, and pilot educational and participatory design programs hosted in Finland and India over a two-year period. Outcomes of the pilot project will inform recommendations for best practices, novel curricula, and scaled-up programs that promote algorithmic literacy and digital citizenship among young learners in Finland and India.

Promoting Critical, Playful and Inclusive Algorithmic Literacy and Digital Citizenship among Young Learners is seed-funded as part of the India Pilot initiative from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. Aalto is coordinating the India Pilot Network FICORE (Finnish Indian Consortia for Research and Education) which involves 38 higher education institutions from Finland and India.

For more information about the collaboration between Aalto and ARTPARK read ARTPARK Foundation India to partner with Aalto University in co-creating digital citizenship | Aalto University