Mentors explain the challenge to the students and point them to the resources (books, videos, articles, studies) so they can explore the topic and deepen their understanding of the problem.

The problem / topic should be a real-life problem that students are aware.

Examples:

  • Better Access to Quality Food – Ideate 2015
  • New technology Addiction – Ideate 2016
  • Youth employability
  • European emigration crisis

In 2016 mentors decided to go with a rising problem that majority students are feeling in their own lives – New technology addiction. We have published the challenge in Moodle (any other similar platform, e.g. Facebook Group could do) and informed the participants over email. The tasks and it’s deadlines were clear and students knew exactly what to do.

You can frelly use this challenge as it is or as a template for creating your challenge.


“New Technology Addiction” (Challenge used in 2016 cohort)

To autonomously explore the topic, each student chooses two from the below tasks and responds to them, thus finding the actual problems/opportunities within the topic. Immediately after going online for the first time and choosing the tasks, s/he creates an own forum (Preparation Forum) topic and creates a post, in which s/he names (can be copy-paste) the chosen two tasks. (Try not to repeat task choices of others, already posted!)

Within a week’s time, s/he presents the findings under this (own) forum (Preparation Forum) topic, and critically engages with the findings of others (minimally, respond to at least three inputs of other students); last original entries are to be placed online by Mon, Feb 22 , the discussion may be then lead on until Fri, Feb 26.

In the first forum (Preparation Forum) post the student also presents her-/himself through a brief bio-note (CV statement, 100-200 words) and a course-motivation statement (100-200 words), including any relevant links to own work, portfolio, website… Immediately also, the student’s Moodle profile is to be edited with a personal picture, and the bio-note text.

Now choose two out of these tasks, and start IDEATing:

How many people are actually addicted to new technology? Find articles, statistical data from as many sources as possible and produce a 1-page report with statistics and comments on that information. Can be text, bullets, an infographic, a drawing, a mind map… Link to the most relevant sources, create a short list of used resources in small font… Remember source criticism and try to use scientifically and/or professionally valid information sources rather than ‘anything that is out there’.

How does addiction arise? How does one know that a pleasant and constructive habit has become a harmfull addiction. Explore addiction stages and create a one-page response (text, bullets, an infographic, a drawing, a mind map…) Link to the most relevant sources, create a short list of used resources in small font… Remember source criticism and try to use scientifically and/or professionally valid information sources rather than ‘anything that is out there’.

What are the recent new-technology addiction trends? Which different new-tech addictions are out there now? Some ebbing, others arising? Which kinds are important for your environment/family/friends/career? Explore current addiction trends and create a one-page response (text, bullets, an infographic, a drawing, a mind map…) Link to the most relevant sources, create a short list of used resources in small font…

How are the new technologies changing human brain, mind and body? Explore neuro-science, psychiatry, biology, psychology behind the phenomenon. Find plausible articles and explanations and come out with a 1-page fact sheet, preferably using bullets and simple text formatting. Link to the most relevant sources, create a short list of used resources in small font… Remember source criticism and try to use scientifically and/or professionally valid information sources rather than ‘anything that is out there’.

Talk with 7-10 different people about the topic. Are they addicted? Do they feel it as a problem? Create a 1 or 2-page report (text, bullets, an infographic, a drawing, a mind map…). Describe your interviewees in generic (non-disclosing) terms — age/sex/education/job/study — try to find interesting patterns…

Create a mind-map of all issues related to new technology addiction.

Is new technology addiction good or bad? Discuss in a few paragraphs…

What are the responsibilities of the designers or developers of new technology with regard to ethics? Is it ethical to create something which can be potentially addictive? Why? Use bullet-point lists to answer, and/or discuss briefly in a paragraph or two..

Read http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/technology-addiction/ more than once. Pick one article you agree with and make a bref summary, or discuss in a few paragraphs one of the articles you disagree with.

Find a fiction film treating the topic, create a brief summary and discuss the ways in which particular sub-topics are treated.

Find a documentary film treating the topic, create a brief summary and discuss the ways in which particular sub-topics are treated.

Find at least two different media items of TV news and/or popular-science show coverage of the topic, discuss the ways in which particular sub-topics are treated (differently), link to the video archives, if online.

Find a good blog covering of the topic, define most relevant topics and show the way they are treated.

Write an imaginary secret diary of a new-tech addict (3-5 entries, 1-2 pages) for 10-12 days; or perhaps (simulate) this person’s public (video or text) blog…

Create a short audio or video piece “Confessions of a new-tech Addict”, can be “fakeumentary”, fiction, experimental, whatever…

Is media addiction a thing of the TV and internet ages — or was it there before as well? Media technology history goes back a couple of thousand years… Create a one-page report of your findings, naming/linking the sources…

Find out information about addiction as a medical phenomenon. Remember source criticism and try to use scientifically valid information sources rather than ‘anything that is out there’. Select one of the topics below and create a one-page short response/summary. It can be a piece of text, bullet list, mind-map, drawing or anything you consider the best way of presenting the information you have found:

– What exactly happens in the brain, when people get addicted? How? When? Why?

– Are there known differences between addiction to chemical compounds (drugs, pharmaceuticals, alcohol etc.) and addictions, which are more psychological in nature (new-media content or social phenomena, shopping, sports etc.)? If yes/no, what is the possible explanation?

– Why are some people more prone to addictions than others? Is it the genetics, environment, or both, or what?

– Are there any known pharmaceutical interventions on-going or planned to prevent / cure addictions? Either for chemical or psychological addictions? What are the future trends there?

– Can new-media addiction lead to undesirable consequences? Either from individual or societal point of view? What could these be? Are these consequences something that can be tackled by health care or medical interventions? By what else?