• Mads Friborg Retoft
  • Mischa Benjamin Szpirt
  • Nikolaj Frøsig
4. term, Techno-Anthropology, Master (Master Programme)
In this thesis we unfold the design process and test phase of a mediating technology, designed in an international project called SaveOurAir. The project was a research project funded by the European Union, with the purposes of designing creative solutions to the complex issue of air pollution.

During two data sprints, we both observed and actively participated in the design and development of a prototype, called “myAir teaching kit”. The prototype included a particle sensor, a teaching guide, and a web platform that merged data from the particle sensor with the pupils’ geolocation data from their smartphone device.

Air pollution has a negative effect on human health, ecosystem, and economics in society, wherefore we find it relevant how educational programs can be designed in a way that encourages pupils to be reflective on the matter. To do this, we unfold John Dewey’s theories about reflective thinking and how learning is best facilitated. Dewey’s approach to learning was based on pragmatism and constructivism and advocated that learning must be experienced rather than passed on. Dewey believed that empirical data could be manipulated or parts of it be neglected, to force the learner into reflection or experiments to account for the missing data.

Through a design thinking perspective, we analyse the design of the prototype. Through postphenomenological mediation theory we analyse and discuss how the prototype mediated new understandings of the air they breathe to the pupils.

We conclude that the pupils were susceptible to the educational programme and the concept of the prototype. From observations in the field and interviews with participant actors, we document how the pupils were able to mediate new understandings in the programme. The prototype offered the pupils a way of gathering empirical data about their own daily lives and challenged their understanding. The data gathered by the pupils were not always enough to draw conclusions, but in return forced them into reflective thinking and experimentation.
Publication date1 Aug 2018
Number of pages92
ID: 280254319