Future Session #1: VR and AR fit for purpose

There are a lot of possibilities with new techniques such as Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, at least more than storytelling alone.

There are a lot of possibilities with new techniques such as Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, at least more than storytelling alone. The challenge is: How to implement these in the work of NGOs? That is what Jeanine Reutemann (researcher at the Centre for Innovation’s New Media Lab) told a small group of participants during the first Future Session by HumanityX & The Spindle.

This first Future Session took place on the 27th of February at the Humanity Hub in The Hague. It was the first session of a monthly series of inspirational working sessions that The Spindle organized in collaboration with HumanityX (Centre for Innovation of Leiden University). In these future sessions, participants explore new techniques and methods, to see what it can do for NGOs in international development.

Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in new ways
Reutemann started by enlightening the participants with more information about the differences between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). According to her, both forms have a lot of potential for NGOs in storytelling. These tools can give people a sense of presence and shine a new light on the story that you want to tell. A good example is the project Clouds over Sidra, that used a 360 degrees camera to make the public aware of the situation. Another organsation that is using VR is Terre Des Hommes to tell their story. See below for more examples of VR projects in development cooperations.

There is a lot potential for these new media in the work of NGOs. The challenge is to fit it for purpose.

Fit for purpose
After Reutemanns presentation, the participants started to think about applications of VR and AR in a working session with three consecutive rounds. In the first round, all sorts of themes were gathered where VR or AR could add something to the work of NGOs. It was interesting to see that a lot of ideas came up, other than storytelling. Next to this, other target groups came up than just donors. For example, beneficiaries can also use VR for informing purposes. In the next round, the participants were divided in smaller groups to think about a concrete application of one of the ideas. They thereby faced the difficulty to use the technique for something unique. What can VR or AR bring to the targeted groups that is more unique than other ways of communication, such as text or video?

The last round was about convincing other groups of your own idea. The participants were divided in the roles of the innovation manager, the funder and the target group. This brought forward deeper questions about how the target group could benefit from the invented applications and why a funder should support the idea. In conclusion, there is a lot potential for these new media in the work of NGOs. The challenge is to fit it for purpose.

Next session: online learning!
In the next Future Session you will get the chance to work on a learning challenge, and design and prototype a learning solution. Will it be a MOOC, SPOC or rather a chatbot? You can work on your own learning challenge or help a team by another organization. The session will be facilitated by Joitske Hulsebosch from EnnuOnline, writer of the book ‘Leren in tijden van tweets, apps en likes’.

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