What is Critical Computing?

Although elementary school-aged children use and have interest in technologies with integrated Artificial Intelligence applications, they rarely critically investigate the sociopolitical contexts in which people consume and produce AI technology. Without engaging in this form of critical computing, elementary school students will not be prepared to participate ethically in a digitally reliant society and tackle the increasingly discriminatory affects of algorithmic decision-making as they continue their schooling and careers.

For examples of how AI applications can harm marginalized population and what advocacy groups are doing about it, visit the Algorithmic Justice League.

S.P.O.T. -- A hybrid role-playing game for elementary students to engage in Critical Computing

In S.P.O.T, learners interact with ML within real-life sociopolitical contexts and examine how ML predictions impact their daily lives and communities. Through the immersion of stories that mirror children’s lived experiences, S.P.O.T. provides elementary school aged children with opportunities to learn how machine learning applications function and develop children’s abilities to critically examine, question, and reimagine the consequences of ML decisions in the real world.

Related Publications

Adisa, I.O., Thompson, I., Famaye, T., Sistla, D., Bailey, C., Mulholland, K., Fecher, A., Lancaster, C., & Arastoopour Irgens, G. (2023). "S.P.O.T: A Game-Based Application for Fostering Critical ML Literacy Among Children."" Proceedings of the International Design for Children Conference (IDC) 2023.

Famaye, T., Bailey, C.S., Adisa, I. O., & Arastoopour Irgens, G. (June 2023). "The design of a critical machine learning program for young learners." Paper presentation International Conference of Learning Sciences (ICLS). Montreal, Canada.