Part of Robot Dairies project was delivery of series of workshops engaging young people and allowing them to experience potential & possibilities of self-expression through VR.
With over half of planned workshops under the belt here is the little post reflecting on the delivery so far. When I set myself off for a task of developing Robot Diaries workshops I initially wanted to involve few groups of the same young people in a series of workshops. I thought that in this way I’ll give participants an opportunity to deepen their learning. However, when running this idea through partnership organisations who were helping me to engage with schools and youth groups I’ve quickly realised how tricky it is to organise recurring group. It became apparent that the workshop has to be contained within one day.
Initially I thought it might be quite tough to be able to teach the essentials of 3D and world building in one day but as I started talking to other digital artists who worked in educational settings I realised that I’m wrong. Technology is native to young people nowadays and they are picking up skills much quicker than I’ve anticipated. Also it was down to workshop planning to develop content that would be easy enough to grasp but with option of adding complexity. Armed with this aim I’ve developed a one day workshop where in the morning students get to experience the immersive world of Robot Diaries and in the afternoon they get to create their own VR worlds. Throughout the morning I’ve planned to use one headset and rest of the group would use laptops while headset is being rotated through the group. It’s hard to manage several headsets at the same time, especially when someone is using it for the first time. Guiding through navigation and making sure that experience is loaded correctly requires assistance. I was looking to multitask a bit helping students with getting on with VR headset and crawd managing rest of the students in the immersive experience who were using laptops. In this way I had one student at the time to set up with VR while others with laptops got on with tasks set up for them in Robot Care Centre.
I’ve asked students to work together at the same peace walking through the labyrinth of the Robot Care Centre. I decided to gently guide them and pick their brains on how they are progressing through the story to aid their listening skills and to make sure they understand and follow the instructions. This has proved to work quite well. Depending on the group they were a bit shy at the start but the moment VR headset was going around the involvement and excitement escalated and made them more involved.
Once students experienced the world of Robot Diaries I started to introduce them to Mozilla Hubs Spoke online editor. After the intro to navigation of the tool I’ve tasked them with the first goal: creating their own room which would be a part of Robot Care Centre. Then I’ve introduced them to a few ways they can improve their space and make it their own. The exciting part of this task was the ability to view the creations in VR and showing them to fellow students and using these spaces to meet. They certainly were not bored and loved experiencing their own creations in VR. I’ve also shared knowledge with them how they can access the tool and their rooms in the future if they would like to keep working on it. Leaving them with opportunity to build on what they created.
Even though at the start I was worried about workshop content and delivery in such a short time it proved to work well. I also had opportunity to work with one group over series of workshops which made me realised how quickly they were able to progress through tasks and that new and more challenging tasks had to be provided. One day definitely works well but I keep learning and altering the content to keep students interested. For example recently I’ve added a bit of guessing game through which they learn about different roles within the gaming industry. A bit of an ice breaker to start with which showed that game developers are not the only ones that are involved in game creation and there is plenty of room for artists ;)
Creative producer, writer, immersive media artist founder of Sensosis
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