Category: Digital World Citizens



Digitale Verdensborgere

Jeg har netop holdt foredrag om hvordan pædagoger og børn i børnehaver i Norden kan blive digitale verdensborgere. Jeg kigger lidt tilbage på mange års projekter, forbi aktuelle og brændende eksempler og lidt frem. Der er mange, mange billeder og meget at snakke om som jo ikke fremgår af alle de mange stikord.  Så må I jo spørge…

Tak til Digital Arena Barnehage og deres utrættelige arbejde med at inspirere, diskutere og perspektivere…

Mit slidehow er lige her nedenfor. Enjoy.

Vh Klaus



The Permanent Laboratory

The Permanent Laboratory

Thoughts about how children and social educators could be creative thinkers in a global context

How do we as social educators prepare ourselves and the children for the future? In the Erasmus-project Mini-makers this question is part of the discussions and activities ( The attempt is to make a curriculum that mirrors the discussions and gives possible pathways to reflect upon this question.

Digital Natives

The term Digital Natives seems to indicate that children and young people know everything that is to be known about the use of digital media because they have grown up with them in their everyday life and it even seems to be a question of generations. The term was popularized among others by Marc Prensky and is part of an argument, where he talks about the difference between students and teachers (Prensky 2001). The students are part of a generation, that are used to digital media from their childhood and the teachers who are digital immigrants that have learned to use digital media later in their life. The teachers do not understand the children they are supposed to teach and their use of digital media.

Digital natives is a difficult term in several regards. First of all it is difficult to simply make it a question of generations. Such a point of view ignores the context in which any given group of people uses or encounters any given digital media, technology or narrative. Instead of assuming that somebody are digital natives and others are not, then one should instead ask what a group of people actually use a technology for and how they do it. Such an approach makes it possible to try to understand and use whatever knowledge and abilities there already exists and compensate for what might be lacking. Any teacher or social educator has to act as an anthropologist and analyze the social and cultural situation, children and young people are in when they operate using their devices in kindergarten, at school or at home.

The same goes for the teacher and the pedagogical methods she or he uses. It might be that the individual teacher or social educator is be both a digital native and a digital immigrant depending on the technology or narrative in question, but she or he as to adapt any new possibility to the teaching and at the very same time adapt the teaching to new changes in society including developments in technology and storytelling.

What the future holds

The term digital natives is also difficult looking at the future. When talking about technologies and digital media the only constant seems to be the word change. New technologies like Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality are emerging. Global communication through different social media on mobile phones or tablets is increasingly a real possibility. Narratives are told in a transmedial way across platforms, where one can interact and even possibly add to the stories. Robots and other autonomous systems are becoming part of and at the same time probably changing work, education and citizenship in ways we might not yet predict. Coding is so much more than programming, it is also a way of telling and communicating.

Technology, narratives and societal challenges intersect. Robots are the obvious example. They not only require, that we learn to program them. They also require, we talk about how work and education might change and in the long run we have to talk about what technologies we want to develop and for what purpose. It also requires we look at the way robots are pictured and understood in fiction and how we want to portray them in new short videos or images and posted online.

Internet of Things is a term, where digital technology moves away from the being centered around screens towards objects that communicate with each other without necessarily including people. The internet is in a sense turning into being a waste system entangling the digital and analogue, so it is impossible to separate the two, in principle covering more and more of this globe for us to use in ways we find meaningfull. Robots and Artificial intelligence are part of this waste and emerging system and so we also have to find out how to interact with these systems.

It is simply not possible to focus on a fixed number of skills, that lasts. It is simply not possible to imagine a future, where children or social educators in advance know what they need to know or do and then stick to it. Nobody are or can be digital natives, but we all are constantly digital immigrants, who need to find out how to use the possibilities. The point is not that we need to be victims in this situation, but that we can be and become the ones who decide a given use of technologies and narratives.  We can find new ways of using the technologies and narratives and in principle become the ones, who constant and permanently construct the very tools, we need to understand and live, the lives we want to live and not leave it to companies or politicians alone.

None of us are only digital natives or digital immigrants. We are possibly both at the same time as we might draw on hitherto experiences using technologies and digital media when we have to deal with new technologies and digital media, we need to find a use for. The kindergarten, the school, the university in whatever form, they might take in the future, might be permanent laboratories, where children, social educators, researchers and others examine and invent. A way to do this will be to leave space for a pedagogy where the question and the experiment is central and not the already given answer or an already given narrative and technology.

Mediaplaying the world

Digital natives as a term do have another problem as well.  When focusing on whether somebody knows all there is to know about technology it shadows the question whether children and young people might have other competences that could be important encountering an unknown future. The term Mediaplay or mediaplaying is one such approach to establishing a pedagogy, where the focus is on the ability to ask questions (Rönnberg 1983). The term originates from research in kindergartens in Sweden, where children were using characters, situations and sentences from TV in their roleplay. They were not only copying, what they had seen or heard, but improvising on basis of it in their play culture. During the recent years the term also included the use of technology and not only narratives. Mediaplay was seen as an activity that children did while playing being it with inspiration from TV or with technologies or other sources. It expressed a certain ability, children can activate while encountering the world. They repeat formulas, that they can improvise upon and in principle develop new formulas to use while playing. Digital media is in that sense only one more tool. The new and emerging technologies are the same.

Mediaplay also became part of a pedagogy, where the emphasis was on leaving space and time for self-organised play inside pedagogical settings in ongoing exchange with activities, where the social educator took an active part. The social educator forms experimenting communities, where both parties at the core of the community ask questions, play and experiment. Ways of playing and experimenting is exchanged between the children´s own play culture and the experimenting community to mutual benefit and inspiration.

So the central question in a kindergarten is to look at what the children actually do when playing and when playing with media – and what they do not do. One has to look at situations, where children themselves organize what they do and how they do it. When they actually repeat and change cultural expressions one can support them in doing this and enhance it to a level, where the social educator and the children together construct new uses of both technologies and narratives.

Creative Thinkers

Prensky´s real challenge to education goes beyond the question whether teachers are merely digital immigrants or not. Education has difficulties preparing children for the future (Prensky 2016). He actually calls for a way of thinking education where children are empowered attempting to find solutions to real world problems in the present. He talks about a shift: From educating individuals so that they can someday better their world, to actually bettering their world as their education. (Prensky, 6:2016). Dealing with digital technologies can be seen as such an attempt. Asking the question what technologies we want and for what purpose can be seen as such an attempt. The answers to the questions are new uses of digital media. Mitchell Resnick also calls for a new education, which he calls Lifelong Kindergarten (Resnick 2017). He describes the way children in a kindergarten experiment as a Creative Learning Spiral, where they …learn to develop their own ideas, try them out, experiment with alternatives, get input from others, and generate new ideas based on their experiences (Resnick 12-13:2017). Education should find ways to develop children to be creative thinkers so they can deal with life in a rapidly changing world. Resnick even argues that school should be more like kindergarten and even describes how students at MIT Media Lab, where he works, learn through the creative learning spiral. As such even a university should be more like a kindergarten.

Cultures of creativity

If we add David Gauntlet & Bo Stjerne Thomsen to the equation one can even talk about communication across time and space and include the permanent laboratory here. The term Cultures of creativity (Gauntlett & Stjerne Thomsen 2013) covers an understanding of culture where the center of a culture is meaning making and creativity and the encounter of cultures are based on the same.

The question is no longer if we are digital natives but if we are able to find new ways to use, change and develop technologies we need and stories we can use to understand and discuss our world and our values. We are all digital natives and digital immigrants at the same time but we are all first and foremost digital global and democratic citizens. We do have the possibility to form a global democracy producing, constructing and using all systems available to exchange and develop common creative cultures where we might find answers to the challenges we face as one world. We might have fun playing and discussing the life we want to live together. Are the social educators up for this expanding the pedagogical space not only into constant experiments but also out on the vaste internet and its many vibrating networks?


Gauntlet, D. & Stjerne Thomsen, B. (2013). Cultures of Creativity: LEGO Foundation. Localised 08.02.2018 at

Prensky, M. (2016). Education to Better Their World: Teachers College Press

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten: The MIT Press

Rönnberg, M. (1983). Skådelek och medialekar. I C. Bøgh, Småbørnsforskning i Danmark IX – Rapport fra seminaret: Børns leg i det moderne industrisamfund: Udvalget vedrørende småbørnsforskning

Kindergartens as global makerspaces? An open answer to some questions for a future curriculum

Kindergartens as global makerspaces? An open answer to some questions for a future curriculum


Dear Gerrit. You and I have on some occasions discussed the future curriculum of pre-school teachers in Europe and especially on how kindergartens and makerspaces can use the possibilities of the Internet. Here is an open answer with some reflections on the subject. You are leading the Erasmus+ project, Mini-Maker, where I take part. Not all users of this blogpost might know the project, so just a few words on it. The goal is to develop a curriculum for a course for pre-school teachers in Europe on digital media competences. Makerspaces play an important part in the development of this future curriculum. One can follow the project on among others this website (

My question to you and me is at the moment like this: What should the pre-school teacher know and be able to do when he or she together with the children in a makerspace situated in a kindergarten start to use the internet and its possibilities for communication, play and production?


When I started thinking about and trying out ways of making a kindergarten and a makerspace connect with the world outside, I started seeing one serious challenge on how to do it. The pedagogical space around the kindergarten was defined as the very physical space of the kindergarten itself. The kindergarten was a closed entity where materials, processes and purposes did fit together. The fence around the kindergarten was also the fence around the everyday activities, the space inside and the playground outside.

The challenge is when you introduce digital media, they open for a lot simultaneously. There is the question of how to actually use any given technology in itself, but also how to combine this technology with other existing or emerging technologies? The question is also how to combine the new elements with the elements already in place in the single kindergarten? How to combine with f. ex. drawings, drama or the existing use of cameras and the number of exercises, introductions, activities and traditions already going on?

What makes it even more complicated is, that the use of all the apps on a tablet or a mobile might change the very use of these new offerings. It is not only the existing possibilities that might change, it is also the new ones. Think of the combination of existing and new cultural practices as exactly that. Through experiments with materials and processes new cultural and pedagogical practices might emerge, where nothing is left untouched and nothing is left unnoticed.

Well, it does not need to be that complicated to combine analogue and digital, online and offline, screen and floor. Have a look here:


What makes it more complicated is the way digital media and technologies already are understood in the single kindergarten when focus starts to point towards how kindergartens or pre-schools might be situated in the world. Children and pre-school teachers are together in these spaces and according to the activity they use body, space and materials together. They move, run, play, draw, think, talk together. There is nothing wrong with all this in itself. The challenge seems to arrive, when all these everyday activities are supposed to connect to the outside world.

Especially when one think of communicating with someone somewhere else, one might get challenged. Here you include actual people in the world, who at first glance might think or act partially or completely different from yourself – or they even seem the same as you. But you know that in advance. They might understand pedagogy, children & digital media differently than you do and that is no matter if you are communicating with a kindergarten close by or far away or if you are communicating with someone outside any educational system. When you move outside your own familiar educational system, you meet people with viewpoints and practices around pedagogy even though they are not trained in any educational system.

The point is not that understanding is impossible or that any culture is static, but that you have reflect on differences and likeness when you meet. Both are there and in the process of encountering you see not only someone else but also yourself. If nothing else your own values and everyday practices might come to the foreground. You don’t need to change anything in your own life, but you start wondering and talk about it – and then you might start to change or get changed.  And that is maybe the main point here: If you meet somebody in a shared online universe, you and the ones you meet, might be able to build a common understanding and start supporting the projects of each other. If one understands culture as meaning making process, one also has access to a process, where the participants create the very culture, they are in (Gauntlett & Stjerne Thomsen 2013).


Skype or similar systems has often surfaced in the projects, I have been and is part of, when talking about communicating. Which is interesting, as there are so many others ways of communicating.  Maybe it has to do with that it seems to be similar to the communication, that goes on in a kindergarten. Which it is not. Skype or the alike is a communication system that shapes the encounter between us, if one is not aware of it. You can´t touch each other for one thing and you can´t easily get an overview of the space where the other side is situated. You can see each other´s faces, but depending on the hardware you choose, you can´t see much more than that even if you start moving the hardware you are using around.

It is a bad replacement for the activities going on in a kindergarten, but if you use the channel for what it can do well or try to find other ways of using it than intended, then Skype can become a useful tool for communicating.

Why look at faces? Why not fingers or objects or dolls and make some kind of doll theatre together, where each side controls one doll? Why not make a hide-and-seek game out of the situation that it is difficult to get an overview? Why not combine Skype with something else like when children are playing a computer game or Minecraft and simultaneously talking to each other through another channel?

Why not combine the synchronous communication with the asynchronous and produce DIY-videos, that others can comment, use, change or make new DIY-videos based on and then talk about with others through Skype? It is maybe here that the makerspace in a kindergarten comes in and has its distinct place. One can build, tell and film as much as one wants. One can look at videos, images and texts made by someone else, even the ones, one does not know in advance, get inspired, dazzled and challenged to do the same or something different. You make something, remake what you see and support other´s if needed be in understanding what you do. (Gauntlett 2015).

Talking in itself seems to be the hardest to do. Doing something together is much easier. It is not only the software or the hardware that frames our use of a given technology, it is also the users and their expectations, that frame this use. It could be part of a European curriculum to experiment with on how to use asynchronous and synchronous communication together with body, space and play and make this approach part of any activities in a makerspace or in a kindergarten. Reflections, questions and suggestions for pre-school teachers can be found here:


I suggest that a curriculum for the future must contain the ability to act in it and potentially change it as the only constant. I have framed this as Next Practice Labs (Thestrup & Sandvik 2017, Thestrup et all 2015). The laboratory is understood as a laboratory for the next practice and is situated in the very practice it is there to change. It can be at a certain defined place but it can also be a way of thinking and acting activated in the very moment needed by the group of people involved. The lab can be anywhere, also partly or totally online.

The next practice lab is based on two other terms: The experimenting community (Caprani & Thestrup 2010) and the open lab (Robinson & Thestrup 2016, Thestrup & Robinson 2016). The experimenting community has to do with that the community is together in experimenting and not only repeating already existing practice and that both pre-school teachers and children are inside the process and ask questions and look for answers. The open lab is open to combine and transform in principle all materials, all media and all narratives into new cultural practices – and open to the world outside the lab, the makerspace or the kindergarten.

The next practice lab is inspired by the idea of the third space, a certain space, that is between school and home, where rules and actions more easily can be defined by the users (Potter & McDougal 2017), Deweys position on experience  a center for the learning process and school as part of life (, Lave & Wengers position on situated learning where the learning process takes place in a certain social and cultural context (Lave & Wenger 1991), taking the term Communities of practices to the very core, where a group of people on a regular basis wants to learn from each other ( The potential of this position is that any group of people have the agency to decide for themselves what they want to investigate, when, how and what they need to be able know and do, including using digital media and technologies.

These Next Practise Labs could be the constant in the curriculum and in the future practice in a makerspace in a kindergarten. Any new technology or narrative with existing practices around it could be exposed to these labs. Through these labs pre-school teachers and children could together establish their own way of communicating, playing, experimenting and producing. It relates directly to the fact that connecting with the world outside the makerspace is nothing new. It is directly mentioned in the fablab-charter, that all the Fab labs together is a global network consisting of local labs ( It was part of the early history to let labs across the globe design and produce together (Gershenfeld 2012). In recent literature on makerspaces one can find several different examples of makerspace going online (Peppler, Halverson & Kafai 2016). So the sails for showing, testing and discussing examples in a future curriculum are already set.

Best Klaus


Caprani, O. & Thestrup, K. (2010). Det eksperimenterende fællesskab – Børn og voksnes leg med medier og teknologi in Vol. 3, Number 5, p. 1-39

Gauntlett, D. (2015). Making Media Studies: Peter Lang

Gauntlett, D. & Stjerne Thomsen, B. (2013). Cultures of Creativity:, accessed on 08.07.2017

Gershenfeld, N. (2012). How To Make Almost Everything: Foreign Affairs, Vol 91, number 6, p. 43-57

Lave, J.; Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning – Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Peppler, K., Halverson, E. R. & Kafai, Y. B. (ed.) (2016). Makeology: Routledge

Potter, J. & McDougal, J. (2017). Digital Media, Culture & Education: Palgrave Macmillan

Robinson, S. & Thestrup, K. (2016). Inside the rainbow. Accessed on 02.07.2017

Støvelbæk, F. & MediaPLAYINGcommunities (2009). mPc – is what you see: MediaPLAYINGcommunities. Accessed on 10.08.2017 on

Thestrup, K. Andersen, M.A., Jessen, C., Knudsen, J. & Sandvik, K. (2015). Delaftale 3: Dannelse I en digital og global verden – digitale redskaber skal understøtte barnets lærings- og dannelsesproces. Accessed on 07.07.2016

Thestrup, K. & Robinson, S. (2016). Towards an entrepreneurial mindset: Empowering learners in an open laboratory. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Kap. 8, s. 147-166 (Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 2)

Thestrup, K. & Sandvik, K. (2017). Challenging Makerspaces: Paper, Nordmedia, aug. 2017

Digital verdensborger – hvordan?

Digital verdensborger – hvordan?

Hvordan kan pædagoger og børn være og blive digitale verdensborgere? Det er et godt spørgsmål og her er ét til: Hvordan kan pædagogikken metodisk og principielt åbne sig mod den omverden, der kun er et klik væk og som allerede er en del af børnenes og pædagogernes liv? Og her er et til: Hvordan kan pædagoger og børn forberede sig på en fremtid, hvor ingen kender teknologierne, kompetencerne eller problemerne? 

Men selvom spørgsmålene står i kø og kan gøre enhver pædagog, forsker, forældre og barn svimmel, så er der også nogle svar. I 2015 var jeg projekt- og forskningsleder på delprojektet Dannelse og læring i en digital og global verden, der var en del af et større projekt ledet af Ministeriet for Børn, Undervisning og Ligestilling og KL, kommunernes landsforening. Det store projekt hed: Forskning i og praksisnær afdækning af digitale redskabers betydning for børns udvikling, trivsel og læring.

Dannelse i en global verden

I vores delprojekt havde vi 17 børnehaver, 275 børn og 31 pædagoger og konsulenter igang med at lege, eksperimentere og kommunikere. Plus en gruppe af forskere og dokumentarister.Hvis du går ind på linket her, så kan du se rapporterne fra alle 3 delprojekter, vores delrapport og 5 små videoer, som viser eksempler på en sprælsk og ligetil hverdagspraksis, der er lige til at kopiere og udvikle videre. Kig her: Digitale redskaber i dagtilbud.

Jeg har netop holdt et veloplagt foredrag om at være digital verdensborger på NKUL – Nasjonal konference om bruk av IKT i utdanning og læring i Trondheim i Norge. Her skitserede jeg både metoder og principper. Hvis pædagogikken er konstrueret til at stille spørgsmål og lede efter svar og ikke blot til at formidle svar, så ser det ud til at virke. Hvis undersøgelserne af teknologier og fortællinger bygger på det fælles eksperiment, så ser det ud til at virke. Foredraget kan du se lige her: Digital verdensborger – foredrag.

Next Practise Labs

Helt grundlæggende foreslår vi i delrapporten og jeg i foredraget en kombineret forskningsmetode, en kursusform og en pædagogisk strategi: Next Practise Labs, hvor alle får mulighed for at bidrage. Forskere, pædagoger og børn – og andre – mødes i laboratorier for den næste praksis og stiller spørgsmålet om hvordan digitale medier skal bruges. Det er det, vi er sammen om at finde ud af uanet hvilken teknologi eller hvilken fortælling, der måtte dukke op lige om lidt.

Ja, jeg mener faktisk, at disse Next Practise Labs er nøglen til at fange hvad som helst op, transformere det og sende det ud på internettet igen til andres mulige fornøjelse. Hvis vi ikke kender fremtiden, så må vi jo selv skabe den.

God fornøjelse med dine egne eksperimenter. Wherever you are and whoever you are.