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(Archive) Little Big Futures

A classroom interactive game to enable healthy debate, welcome difference of thought and bring to the table the world’s most pressing issues.

This project was part of DDW 2023
Teenagers in Badalona mapping their perceptions — © Little Big Futures

An interactive board game using digitally fabricated tools that allows children from 12 years and above to map their perceptions and attitudes. The project was developed during the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF), a program offered by IAAC - Fab Lab Barcelona and Elisava.

Combatting echo chambers and navigating global affairs

Given the surge in popularity of social media and its proven effect of creating echo chambers and filter bubbles, children are increasingly exposed to opinions that already echo what they might hear from their parents or peers. However debate has historically been proven as a way to foster difference of thought, welcome active listening and showcase how our own thoughts can evolve over time.

In addition, children and adolescents are taught about the World’s climate crisis but are seldom given tools to ideate futures that are desirable, inclusive and also bold. Children may get drowned on the complexity of the problem and may lack the imagination and skillsets to actively co-create futures.

As designers, the challenge lies in creating a set of DIY digitally fabricated tools that teachers all over the world can incorporate in 1-hour sessions to foster debate, talk about global state of affairs and teach children to welcome difference of thought.

The question is, how can we design an integrated system of tools that allows teachers to facilitate healthy debates regarding the future in the classroom?

Replicable, scalable and accessible tools for teachers

Digital tools such as social media instead of welcoming challenging opinions and showcasing diversity of thought foster the creation of echo chambers. As children grow into adults with the proliferation of social media as the communication norm, tools to combat these filter bubbles are not only required but necessary in education settings such as classrooms.

Additionally there exists an opportunity to leverage technology in the classroom to teach children about futures literacy, creating designated spaces within class time to co-create and imagine futures with their peers.

There is an opportunity to make a set of tools that is easily replicated, accessible and scalable for teachers that can be fabricated at a local level using Fab Lab tools. From the content perspective, we also imagine co-creating continually with education leads, principals and stakeholders to incorporate topics that are relevant from an academic perspective and also considering Emergent Futures.

Our research process and pilot co-creating in schools in Badalona

For our research process, we combined a blend of digital fabrication that allowed us to build to think as we refined our physical prototypes and community engagement that allowed us to co-create with teachers and children in classroom settings with a variety of workshop formats.

To evaluate our concept, we partnered with a local school in the Badalona district in Barcelona, conducting a pilot in the form of a collaborative workshop. The objective of this workshop was to gather feedback from students regarding their sentiments on using the Perception Board as a classroom tool. To assess the viability of our idea, we created and distributed a printed paper version of the perception board for testing purposes. Our ultimate goal with this tool is to foster critical thinking skills among students.

By actively engaging with the Perception Board, students are encouraged to go beyond passive acceptance of information. Instead, they learn to seek out evidence both in favor of and against various issues, enabling them to form their own judgments. We engaged with 90 students simultaneously to stress test our proposition and evaluate if the dynamic was scalable.

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Cardboard version of Perception Board for Pilot — © Little Big Futures

Students designing futures through collage-making — © Little Big Futures

Building first prototype of Perception Board — © Little Big Futures

Speaker Mic to be used with Perception Board