Workshop “Faster than the Algorithm”

This workshop by Naz Al-Windi and Fanus Ghorjani introduces young people to the topic of algorithms. It aims to draw attention to the fact that algorithms fundamentally change and structure the democratic public sphere and have great influence on opinion-forming and decision-making processes.

Fanus Ghorjani, Author

Naz Al-Windi, Author

© El Boum


At the beginning, participants will work on the definition of democracy with the help of statement cards about representation, elections, rights, and freedom. In this first module, the historical relevance of political participation in democratic systems will be pointed out and the mechanisms that hinder political participation will be discussed. In the second module, students will be introduced to how algorithms work by using three data sets on fictional people to create Instagram profiles for these people. This is intended to create an awareness of how easy it is to tailor suitable products, accounts, advertising, etc. to a person based on just a few data/information. In the third module, the connection between algorithms and democracy is addressed and phenomena such as filter bubbles, information dependencies and consequences for society as a whole are discussed.

Duration: 160 minutes

Format: digital & on site

Target group: Young people aged 14 and older

Zum Material

The workshop was developed as part of our Media & Democracy Fellowship in cooperation with SPIEGEL Ed. All materials are accessible as an Open Educational Resource.

The authors and we as Understanding Europe would like to encourage teachers, young educators and educational multipliers to use it for their work.

An English version of all materials will be publsihed as soon as possible.

Workshop Manual
PDF — 4 MB
Presentation: faster than the Algorithm
PDF — 1 MB
Cards: fictional people for exercise in module 2 (in German)
PDF — 6 MB
Cards: statements for exercise in module 1 (in German)
PDF — 26 MB