Two HCC Talks: Teaching Kids Programming + Public Design in HCI – Københavns Universitet

Two HCC Talks: Teaching Kids Programming + Public Design in HCI

Friday 29 April at 15:00-16:00 there will be two HCC talks. The first by Martin Dybdal on 'Coding Pirates: Teaching kids programming and IT-creativity' and the second by Maria Menendez Blanco on 'Public Design in HCI'.

Coding Pirates: Teaching kids programming and IT-creativity

by Martin Dybdal, PhD student at DIKU


Coding Pirates is a Danish initiative teaching kids computing in its broadest sense. We believe that programming should not just be taught as an independent discipline, but should be taught along with creativity and design skills. Projects range from 2D/3D games, Arduino based 3D-printed submarine, computer generated music, stop-motion videos, to a creepy doll for a haunted house. Such projects not only requires programming, but also skills in graphics, 3D modelling, 3D printing, basic electronics, musicality, and especially creativity.

Coding Pirates is volunteer run and we host a Coding Pirates chapter here at DIKU, with most of our teachers being DIKU alumni. In addition to describing the general concept and ideology, the talk will also cover what we have learned so far, what we see as the difficulties ahead, and why I think it is important for DIKU and University of Copenhagen to participate in this movement.


  • 30+ code clubs all over Denmark
  • 1000+ kids on the waiting list
  • 300+ volunteers (teachers, IT-professionals, librarians, IT-students)
  • regular Hackathons and GameJams for the kids

Public Design in HCI

by Maria Menendez Blanco, PhD student Trento University, Italy, visiting DIKU


The last decade of HCI has been characterized by the emergence of the so-called third wave of HCI as a design movement characterised by broad contexts and intermixed application types. Public design can be considered a design perspective within the third wave of HCI that addresses collective conditions, uses participatory approaches to design and facilitates the formation of publics. In this context, publics are understood in Dewey’s terms as groups of people who get together to address a common problem. In the context of technology, the concept of public design has so far related to studies which use technology as a tool to articulate issues, contribute to the construction of publics, provide new ways of empowering communities, and stimulate reflection around issues of public interest. However, further research needs to be done to understand what it means to do public design in practical terms. During my PhD I focus on investigating what theoretical background can inform public design, mainly relying on HCI and STS literature, and on what practices can facilitate public design, following an action research methodology. Particularly, I have worked in two main projects: the first one was about a large-scale participatory development with university students; the second is about the development of a virtual and physical space that acknowledges and supports different kinds of learning, with a special focus on dyslexia. Both projects have entailed a process of articulation of matters of concern, which has contributed to the development and design of technological and non-technological artefacts. In addition, the research activities have yielded a large amount of quantitative and qualitative data. I expect that the analysis and reflection upon these data will contribute to the outcome of my PhD thesis: a set of methods that will theoretically and operationally inform public design.