Virtual future workshop
Contribution to the learning process
The virtual workshop is a very sophisticated method for structured discussions. In the criticism phase, the students leave their roles as actors in the FyR project, exchange their observations, and create a basis for further communication. In the utopia phase, they draft the future in a very creative and cooperative way (construction). They can deconstruct the conventional perspective (there are several kinds of futures, which can be wished, imagined, or created). In the planning phase, they can prepare themselves for further steps as actors, to learn by doing.
See how virtual plan games re integrated in the FyR project, see "Online cooperation in your river project".
To enable the students to carry out political action, e.g. participative planning of a cooperative common action.
Forum, Chat, Documents, URLs, html:
- Book of the River > My book (login) > our partnerships > Work spaces with partner schools > (select your work space) and there the tools:
Your workspace is a closed area, not open to the public. Only you and your partner group have access.
Required time for preparation and realization
1-3 weeks with a few hours per week
8-30 participants from several places or schools.
Requirements and preparation
Clarify the topics, method, time needed, and rules with all participants in advance (in the local learning group ore via E-mail).
It is very important to limit the topic and the expectations! The students can plan their own actions in the future workshop but not the actions or reactions of other people.
The moderator starts with a welcome and answers any questions before the activity begins.
- Criticism phase: to "draw" a critical and realistic picture of the present situation.
- Using virtual brainstorming, the students point out the positive and negative aspects of the present situation. This step is based on existing knowledge (e.g. results of investigations of the river), no further research should be carried out
- The tutor takes the minutes and structures the points of criticism. The minutes are then published in the forum.
- Using a vote, the participants make a list of the top positive and negative elements.
- The tutor records the results and publishes them in the forum.
- Utopic phase: Now, we want to draw a picture of a wishful future! The students should be free of any restrictions in the creation of this future vision - no objections or questions asking, "is it possible?"
- The students form small groups (5-8 people who may come from different places). Each group recieves a name to make it easier to identify threads in the forum or folders in the photo gallery.
- Using the brainstorming method, students describe their dreams. “If any scenario was possibile, what would be the condition of of our river or our river project)?"
- Each group member selects his/her favorite idea from the brainstorming and describes it in the forum with a short statement. (For that, a new thread has to be created there by the tutor; all participants from all groups use this thread together.)
- All participants of the future workshop come into the forum. They read the postings of the favorite visions vote to select their top favorites. If two or more students described the same vision, the votes for these statements should be added together.
- The students form small groups again. Each group has to work out one of the top favorite visions. The students can for example create a fairytale, write a (fictive) report, or create a collage. The results will be published on the platform via the html-Editor.
- Now, the tutor summerizes the future visions in the forum and draws out the messages within the visions, bringing out any points for action, success factors, etc. It takes some time; this is break time for the participants.
- Realization phase: Now, the students prepare for practical action. After the future workshop, every participant should be aware that it is possible to change the situation. And he/she should now know what his/her own contribution will be.
- The students form small groups and develop concrete steps for practical action. (e.g. Fore-Chat)
- The small groups publish a draft in the forum. That makes the work transparent allows groups to find synergy between the groups’ work.
- The groups finish their work and publish the results in the forum or with the html-editor.
Chat with the virtual flashlight and small talk.
The tutor has to sum up the results and to create a detailed plan for action.
After the future workshop, the participants carry out the actions they have planned. If possible, the learning groups should now cooperate as well.
Experiences / results
This is a well-used method for workmeetings, which also can be carried out online. The future workshop can give rise to very active participation. It give structure to even complex problems while allowing ways to find creative and useful solutions.
The single steps of a future workshop are highly interdependent, and we have both synchronous and asynchronous steps. That’s why it is absolutely necessary to be very careful in the preparation (to make the timetable).
Such a sophisticated method allows the creation of a lot of varieties, e.g. it is possible to carry it out over two full days.