The Critical Big Data and Algorithmic Literacy Network (CBDALN) brings together a number of researchers and practitioners from different countries in one working group. The goal is to tackle the diversity of concepts and new educational challenges as well as the variety of practical requirements for empowering citizens together, in order to promote these digital literacies.

In a workshop at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum, Germany, in February 2020, different perspectives were shared and discussed, and the following objectives and projects identified:

(1) Dialogue of theories: Anglo-American and German discourses in education and media studies operate with different historical, philosophical and conceptual backgrounds and frameworks. How might the concept of “Bildung”1 enrich the discourse on “critical literacies”? How may blind spots in one discourse be observed through a change of theoretical perspective? Which questions do citizens need to ask/answer in order to make informed decisions with regard to data practices and sociotechnical algorithmic systems? CBDALN is committed to explore a combined conceptual approach together.

(2) Repository of good practice: So far, existing awareness-raising and learning materials have often been used in limited environments. There is no international structured overview on training or educational approaches for various target groups. What material about big data
and algorithmic systems is available for whom and in which setting? Which educational content can be transferred, translated and adapted? CBDALN has begun to build a database constituting a collective, international and multilingual repository of available educational material and didactic projects that aim to foster a critical understanding of the datafication of
our societies.

(3) Labs for experiments and new approaches: Working at the intersection of various disciplines, languages, theories and practical experiences can produce creative ideas and approaches for promoting these new literacies. CBDALN is engaged in continuing and expanding a joint working environment, e.g. through workshops, virtual meetings, conferences, etc.

1 : The German concept of Bildung refers to personal development and self-education throughout one’s life. It differs from a more specific understanding of ‘education’ that addresses defined goals in a utilitarian sense.