Germany and Turkey, each in their own way, are currently facing the challenge of integrating refugees into their societies. They both face the question of how to establish contact with refugees in an everyday situation. To find possible answers, a … Continue
The bigger the conference, the more challenging it is the interactive involvement of all participants. The more ideas come up during a workshop, the more chaotic the pile of moderation cards becomes. Our solution: a browser-based, secure miniature social network … Continue
170 participants who work in European Schools, administration and youth education gathered at Berlin’s European House. planpolitik in charge not only of moderating, but also of pretty much everything else, from registration management to defining objectives. The discussion around the … Continue
“Forget about the West – after Trump’s election more than ever” – this is how an Indonesian expert began his talk about South East Asia’s economic prospects, just one of many new insights during our first trip to Malaysia and Indonesia. Following an invitation from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation we had developed a simulation game on the TTIP negotiations. Playing this game during workshops in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, we noticed that Donald Trump having been elected the next President of the United States just a few days before had absolutely no dampening effect on the general atmosphere during the game. On the contrary, it was the participants’ first experience of playing a simulation game, and their enthusiasm was boundless! During our classic opening exercise, the “Getting-To-Know-Each-Other Bingo”, we already knew that this game would practically be playing itself without any further input from us.
What’s more, comparing both destinations was very interesting. While Kuala Lumpur seems like a very functional and tidy city, Jakarta is complete urban chaos. The fact that there is not a single subway line for a metropolitan area with a population of 30 million tells you all you need to know. “You learn to be patient here”, a colleague from the Ebert Foundation shrugged, following an hour-long car journey covering just one kilometre.
Once again, planpolitik are visiting lecturers at the European University Viadrina. In October, the fictional simulation game “Peace for Fontania” marked the start of the seminar. The game scenario is based on the war in Syria: terror groups, militias and an autocratic regime are a threat to peace in an entire region. The neighbouring states are influencing the conflict parties and the EU states must agree on a common position.
In the game (just as in reality), all efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement fail. This is how the students for a “Masters of European Studies” experience just how long-winded and complicated negotiations on a European and international level really are. After the game has ended, the actors mapping provides background information on the causes of the war. The next instalment is to follow in December when we focus on anti-terror measures as well as internal and security-related consequences.
Paternity leave is, of course, no holiday. Nobody knows this better than our longest-standing colleague Christopher Haarbeck. But he will, of course, take the opportunity to leave work for a few months and be with his second son around the clock. We wish him all the best, a great time with as little screaming as possible, constantly beaming baby’s eyes and, last not least, a few hours to himself every day.
For the rest of us, Christopher’s leave means a little restructuring. Alexander Kuschel and Sandra Holtermann are taking over some of his jobs, such as preparing the simulation games for the Kirchentag 2017 or our German-Czech youth project. Klaus Schneider, on the other hand, will expertly stand in for Christopher in his role as chief operator and maintenance supervisor of the office deluxe coffee machine.
Figurative bridges can be built with symbolic acts and well-written speeches. Alternatively, playing games is a good way to connect, because everywhere people like to play, no matter in what language. Thus, the project Global Playgrounds saw many bridges being built. With the Deutsch-Türkische Jugendbrücke having commissioned the project, the focus was on facilitating exchange between 12 German and 12 Turkish youngsters. But we also wanted to develop games that built bridges to other groups, namely young refugees. A team of game developers from Bilgi University in Istanbul addressed the basic questions – what comes first, the game or playing? – and had everybody go through a game marathon. Following that, our heads full of ideas and our hands (and computers!) full of materials, we went about the actual developing phase, resulting in six game prototypes that will be fine-tuned and finalised by the end of December. You will soon find the downloadable versions in our download area, complete with instructions in various languages.
Thanks to our relationship with agencies such as denk:lokal, we had the opportunity to test the games at Cafe THF, located in Germany’s largest emergency shelter at the former airport terminal building in Berlin-Tempelhof. For the participants in the project, this was quite an eye-opener, their only prior knowledge of the experiences of refugees being from TV reports – again, new bridges were built. Following this great project with Jugendbrücke, we are very much hoping for another instalment next year.
Following a German-Czech project and our workshop in Lebanon (see “Interest Representation!”), Global Playgrounds was the third project in quick succession to involve two languages and interpreters. We noticed one interesting aspect in particular: you have more time to think what you want to say, but a lot less time to then actually say it …a great way of training oneself to stick to the essentials.
At last, our platform for online simulation games has a name: Senaryon! What’s more there is now also a website containing information and demo versions, www.senaryon.de.
Since developing the platform and launching it in 2014, over 50 simulation games have been played by over 1.200 participants in schools and universities in Germany and abroad. In the coming months, there will be plenty more use of existing games as well as two large new projects.
What’s special about Senaryon is its flexibility and modularity. Topics, functions and number of participants can be adapted to each individual simulation game. Senaryon offers two different modes of facilitation. The blended learning mode combines online simulations with on-location events. If participants are spread across various locations, the games are played in full online mode. If a visit to the Senaryon website has whetted your appetite, we look forward to speaking with you directly. We are also happy to give you a free and personal introduction to all of Senaryon’s functions. Just contact us at email@example.com.
After three years of development and many test runs, Junait, our unique online game for kids aged 8-12, is finally here! Since the beginning of November, every school in Germany can use the website for free. In just 90 minutes, pupils learn to act responsibly when online. They are prepared for using social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) while playfully gaining media literacy. The game can be played in a school computer room. Additional material is provided to accompany discussion in class.
In the game, the kids create a user account and add personal data to their profile. They become friends with fellow pupils, use the chat function and publish posts. But something is wrong. Who are these strangers? Why are there messages containing viruses? And who is trying to sell my data? The game takes on a dynamic of its own, and the kids soon find themselves fighting for their own private data. This way, the kids can check out how social media work, and they can train the secure handling in a protected space. For teachers, preparation and supervision are easy and self-explanatory. No prior training or knowledge is required.
Thanks to the support from Ein Netz für Kinder, this innovative format on digital media literacy is free of charge. For more information, visit www.junait.de!
One of our classics is the workshop “Flight and asylum – global background, local challenges”. Within an intense seven hours, we provide interested citizens with compact sets of information on causes of migration, on European and German asylum policy and future integration issues. A short simulation game on “welcoming culture” (and the aggressive rejection thereof) allows participants to become active themselves and understand different perspectives. At the end of the day-long workshop, politicians and refugee workers answer questions. When, as was recently the case in Flensburg, these actors include Stefan Schmidt, former Captain of the Cap Anamur and Commissioner for Refugees in Schleswig-Holstein, this exchange really comes to life. The mix of input, interaction and exchange with politicians and civil society representatives continues to make our one-day events an intense and enriching experience for both us and the participants.
No matter what topic we throw at him, our colleague Klaus Schneider gets down to the task, does a lot of research, thinks about it briefly, rubs his nose and then puts a new simulation game down on paper in no time. Following his Bayer game on medication for haemophilia patients and his games on European refugee policy, “No (B)Orders!?” as well as on the crisis in Syria, he has recently created a simulation on energy network expansion for Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V. as well as a game on sustainable development goals for Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw). Naturally, Klaus enjoys seeing his games connect, with participants having a great time while gaining new insights. We, on the other hand, enjoy continuing giving Mr Simulation Game new topics to get his teeth into. Keep it up, Klaus!
Amal, Berlin! That is the name of a two-month training course for refugee journalists from Syria and Afghanistan, taking place at the Evangelische Journalistenschule Berlin. It provides the media professionals with insights into German society, politics and media – in both theory and practice. Following the invitation of initiators Conny and Julia Gerlach, we were delighted to contribute one day to the programme by facilitating our simulation game on gentrification. This simulation sees the participants directly enter local municipal negotiation processes, discussing a topic currently hotly debated in German cities. It soon transpired that there are no easy answers, no clear wrongs or rights, making the discussions all the more heated and leading to many a behind-the-scenes deal. After all, it was all about looking after one’s own interests. Following the simulation game, the group visited the Agora collective in Berlin-Neukölln, seeing for themselves how gentrification and displacement are changing the streets and neighbourhoods.
The training course runs until the end of November. By then, there will be an online information platform where the participants publish news from Germany and the rest of the world in Arabic and Farsi.
Printing our simulation games, booking train tickets and hotel rooms, ordering office supplies, filing travel expenses etc etc. Our everyday work life includes many jobs that really need to be done but tend to take a lot of time and keep us from developing or facilitating content. Now we finally hired Yana Bergmann-Duquesne as student assistant in charge of all organisational work. After only a few days we realised we had chosen the right person to provide much-needed relief. Always in a great mood, she takes on her assignments and tackles them very, very fast. So fast, in fact, that there is enough time to take her along to various events – not because we are trying to exploit her but because Yana is keen to know what exactly we get up to outside our office. But she doesn’t just watch, but actively takes part – a clear win-win-win-win situation Bienvenue Yana, it’s great to have you with us and thank you for all the hard work!
If you wish to be informed about our activities on a regular basis, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.