A compelling and convincing story is the catalyst to engage people in a project and to make them move in the same direction. Moreover, a professionally written story is a very effective self-assessment tool that helps not only to list all the people, events, resources required to transform the intent into reality, but also to figure out their mutual relationships and the human interactions that have to be in place.
The desired Happy Ending is the starting point to write the success story of a project. For the Crowddreaming: Youth co-create Digital Culture the main happy ending has been defined as part of the project proposal. Each teacher is invited to add his/her own personal angle to it.
Common (Max 1,500 chars)
Each school participating in the Europa Square Challenge organizes the inauguration of Europa Square at its headquarters in October, in the same week as the inauguration of the instance installed in Brussels. Europa Square is an augmented reality construct, a collective work of art, to which the students of the participating schools have contributed. Each school created a scene of thanksgiving to another people who inhabit or have inhabited Europe for their contribution to today's common culture. In this way, all together they created a modular and expandable digital monument, which represents the value of European transculturality. The presentation event is attended by the other students of the school, the teachers, the parents. Each one is asked to enrich the work with their own small act of thanks, using the augmented reality application that allows you to see the monument and interact with it. The success of the event allows students who participated to understand the value of their work and the multiplier effect to collaborate on a European level. They alone would have made a simple digital scene. Together with all the other schools they have created a monument exhibited in Brussels and capable of generating the attention of many people in their school and in their city. The school decides that it will repeat the initiative in the following years.
Personal (Max 1,500 chars)
In my school many students coming from families of African immigrants participated in the challenge. They realized that Europe is not just a geographical entity: European culture is the result of the contributions of the many nations that live within it.
What is the storyline of the success story that led to the desired happy ending of the change process?
The storyline is a short text, which can be imagined as the skeleton of a four-storey building (acts), each of which will then be divided into rooms (scenes), that are functional to meet the needs of the people (characters) who will inhabit it.
The Crisis (max 1,000 chars)
Briefly describe the "crisis" event that forces change, and the normal situation that preceded it. The term "Crisis" must be understood in an etymological sense: an event that forces you to make a decision with significant consequences.
Prof teaches in a high school. All things considered, it is not that bad: school has many problems, but in the end he is able to teach something to his students. And some of them give great gratification. You can't ask for more. Or maybe yes? The new digital dimension of reality is elusive. A piece that never wants to fall into place in the complex mosaic of the educational offer. It almost seems like a gaseous lifeform that makes fun of our efforts to grab it and force it into a container. Frustrating, but there are the thousand urgencies of everyday life that come before these existential ailments. Like his daughter's 18th birthday: she wants a big party and a lot of attention. The feeling of missing an important goal with one's students remains. He could just go with the flow and live a quiet life, but still it's an annoying buzz in his head. One day Prof receives an invitation to an European challenge: to imagine what a digital monument is and to build it with his students. Finally, someone who talks about culture and "digital thinking" instead of buying new computers at school! Things to do are so many already, and yet... maybe...
The Search (max 1,000 chars)
Describe the phase of research and ideation of the solution to the problem, which coincides with the phase of preparation of the actual activities with the students. Which students to involve? And how? Who to get help from? What school resources will be needed? How to insure them? What theme to propose to create the thanksgiving scene?
Prof decides that he might try to involve students from different classes in his school. He wants them motivated and it is good that there is an exchange between students of different courses and ages. He needs help from other professors, though. Many say no for many reasons. Luckily, he finds two interested ones. And they teach disciplines other than his. Great! Especially since one teaches English. It will come in handy. Unfortunately, the school is under assessment by the Ministry of Education and the Inspector believes that students should just sit at a desk and study on books what has been carefully prepared for them by the experts. The Inspector states clearly that he considers this project a waste of time and he will evaluate Prof negatively, if he insists on wasting his students' time on such nonsenses. That notwithstanding, Prof and his colleagues organize a presentation to all students with the support of the Dean. The curiosity is great, but only a patient work of collecting the adhesions class by class in the following days allows to create the team of 20 students. And in the meantime, Prof's daughter is not happy, because her 18th birthday party is not receiving enough attention by her father. In the meantime Prof and colleagues write the action plan, using the OER made available by the project and with the help of the tutors. It is less difficult than it seemed and in the end many problems - and solutions - emerge that he would not have thought of before. From a chat with the students also emerges a theme that they feel. Ready to go!
The Solution (max 1,000 chars)
Describe the implementation phase of the solution envisaged in the previous act. How will the work with the students take place? How to declare the chosen theme in a thanksgiving scene? How to assist students during the production of the digital content of their scene? How to organize a first moment of presentation of their scene?
Prof and his colleagues organize two meetings with the students. In the first they discuss the topic in depth and with Metaverse Studio they compile the basic template for the AR experience together. They also decide that they will complete it with a short in-depth video. In the second meeting they examine together the template for the script of the story, draw up a first draft and divide the students into groups, to complete it. A group is created on Telegram to keep in touch and for quick requests for clarifications. An intermediate meeting is agreed to examine a first draft and then a second to see the final result. While the students work, Prof and colleagues from time to time contact the tutors for clarification. Prof and his fellow Teachers have to work miracles to dodge the Inspector, while they develop their activities. And Prof has to work often by night to get everything done: his daughter is driving him crazy, but she is a good girl and she deserves that party. In the end the miracle takes place and the thanksgiving scene in augmented reality takes shape in front of the cameras of the student's smartphones!
The Final Decision (max 1,000 chars)
Describe the moment and the consequences of the final choice that precedes the organization of the monument inauguration event at your school. Has the path followed so far convinced students and professors of the value of operating in a European network? Did you understand the profoundly transcultural nature of today's Europe, despite its wide diversity? For the characters who answer yes, describe their contribution to the organization of the inauguration. For the characters that give a negative answer, imagine the consequent actions.
At the beginning of the school year Prof and the students see their work inserted in Europa Square together with the ones of the other schools. They realize that they are part of an important project and the value of collaborating on a European level. The enthusiasm overcomes the doubts about the effort to organize a presentation event for students, teachers and parents: if the Inspector is not happy with it... well, better to feel proud of yourself rather than getting maybe a 13,2€ raise on their monthly wage sometimes in the distant future. Prof and colleagues with the support of the Dean involve other teachers in the organization. Students are assigned the task of acting as demonstrators. The general rehearsal is fine. The final event is also successful. The Dean and other colleagues are convinced of the effectiveness of the formula and decide to organize themselves to repeat the experience every year.
The Story must be looked at from four main perspectives.
Briefly describe the general context in which the story unfolds and which defines it. For example, the scenario of the first episode of "Star Wars" is the War between Empire and Rebels.
At a time of serious crisis in the growth of the European Union, many think that Culture is a much more important glue than Economy. A project for schools in Italy has proven to be an effective tool for promoting awareness of Europe's highly transcultural nature and the value of this feature. A partnership of social innovation organizations works together to improve and adapt this good practice to a European scenario.
Briefly describe the point of view of the protagonist, or of the one who promotes action and change in history. For example, in the first "Star Wars", Luke Skywalker wants to save Princess Leila.
Prof believes in Europe and wants to do everything possible to communicate his values to his students. In addition, he is always looking for new tools to engage students and make culture more interesting for them.
Influence Character perspective
Briefly describe the point of view of the character that forces the protagonist to change or influence the way he changes. For example, in the first "Star Wars", Obi Wan Kenobi pushes Luke to follow the Way of the Force.
Tutor G knows well that the worst enemy of innovation are the urgencies of the newspaper and wants to help the teachers participating in the project not to fall into the temptation to improvise fast solutions to achieve the goal with the students: they would solve immediately, but acquiring a method guarantees a better quality of results and pays more in the medium-long term.
Protagonist-Influence Character perspective
Briefly describe the dialectical relationship between Protagonist and Catalyst. For example, in the first "Star Wars" Obi Wan Kenobi trains a reluctant Luke Skywalker.
Tutor G and Prof know each other and collaborate thanks to a chat channel. Tutor G must be persistent and patient at the beginning in asking for the respect of tasks and deadlines, but soon this relationship evolves into a real peer-to-peer process of co-creation, where Prof and the other teachers make their own available to all knowledge not only for the pleasure of collaborating with people with the same interests and ideals, but also for the successes that come together.
The purpose of a story is to show the different points of view through which to evaluate an important choice. These perspectives are embodied by the archetypal roles of the characters in a story.
A character can cover multiple roles. For example, Guardian and Reason as Obi Wan Kenobi in the first "Star Wars", or Protagonist and Emotion as Luke Skywalker.
It is not strictly mandatory that all Roles are covered by a character, but in that case an important aspect is likely to be overlooked.
Replace the general description of each Role with its contextualization for your Story and assign it the Character that represents it. Definitions are extracted from the Dramatica: Theory of Story book.
Protagonist is the chief proponent and principal driver of the effort to achieve the story’s goal
Prof is a teacher who wants to make its students participate to the Europa Square Challenge.
The Antagonist is diametrically opposed to the Protagonist’s successful attainment of the goal.
The Inspector thinks that extracurricular activities are a waste of time and damage students. He will do all that he can to dissuade teachers to follow new paths.
The Guardian functions as a teacher/helper who represents the Conscience of the Story. This is a protective character who eliminates obstacles and illuminates the path ahead. In this way, the Guardian helps the Protagonist stay on the proper path to achieve success.
The Tutor knows that teachers need support, but also discipline to be able to focus on the project and resist temptation of cutting angles because of lack of time and everyday's small emergencies to manage.
This character works to place obstacles in the path of the Protagonist, and to lure it away from success. It represents Temptation. Because the Contagonist and Antagonist both have a negative effect on the Protagonist, they can easily be confused with one another. They are, however, two completely different characters because they have two completely different functions in the Story. Whereas the Antagonist works to stop the Protagonist, the Contagonist acts to deflect the Protagonist. The Antagonist wants to prevent the Protagonist from making further progress, the Contagonist wants to delay or divert the Protagonist for a time.
Prof's daughter is turning 18 and wants a big party. All that she wants is to be reassured that she will have her father's undivided attention in the most important moment of her life.
The Reason Character is calm, collected, and cool, perhaps even cold. It makes decisions and takes action wholly on the basis of logic. Reason and Emotion describe the conflict between our purely practical conclusions and considerations of our human side. Throughout a story, the Reason and Emotion Archetypal Characters will conflict over the proper course of action and decision, illustrating the deliberation between intellect and heart.
The Dean thinks that Prof is up to something good, but she knows that many elements have to be balanced to keep a school going on. She will support Prof to a limit and only if he can prove that it is worth it.
The Good Dean
The Emotion Character has its heart on its sleeve; it is quick to anger, but also quick to empathize. Because it is frenetic and disorganized, however, most of its energy is uncontrolled and gets wasted by lashing out in so many directions that it ends up running in circles and getting nowhere. Reason and Emotion describe the conflict between our purely practical conclusions and considerations of our human side.
A group of brilliant enthusiast we-will-change-the-world-now-and-here students can't wait to start building a digital monument. They think that enthusiasm is all that it takes to change the world and doing the right thing is all that counts.
The Enthusiast Students
The purpose of the Sidekick is to show faithful support. Sidekick and the Skeptic represent the conflict between confidence and doubt in the Story. The Sidekick notes the indicators that point to success. The interactions between Sidekick and Skeptic describe the Story Mind’s consideration of the likelihood of success.
Part of that same group of students are geeks who embrace digital technology as the way to leave their mark, by creating something that previous generation were simply not enabled to do. They are sure that they will accomplish the mission of creating the best digital scene ever, following the hints of Prof, whom they adore. A few colleagues of Prof believe too that digital technology can facilitate students' approach to culture and are willing to experiment with him.
The Enthusiast Students, The Fellow Teachers
The nature of the Skeptic is nicely described in the line of a song… “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” In the Story, it is the function of the Skeptic to note the indicators that portend failure.
Many students have still a low self-esteem or just feel cozy in their comfort zone. Their mantra is "We can't change anything, so why bother". A great excuse not to prove themselves and to avoid to manage potential failure. Something they don't feel ready to do.
The "I don't care" Students
Transforming the storyline into a script allows you to identify the key moments of history and define their place, moment, participants and their interactions, significant events and necessary resources. For a story all this is necessary to write a credible and coherent story. At the same time it allows to identify all the resources necessary for a Production project.
In this section it is requested to create a list of the significant scenes, obtaining it from the re-reading of the plot. If executed correctly, this task allows to obtain a list of all the milestones of the history and therefore also of the project. Re-read the storyline and extrapolate the key scenes you have identified.
List of Main Scenes
Present the project to the Dean and selected fellow teachers
Present the project to the students
Develop the Action Plan
Choose the subject
Develop a draft AR experience with Metaverse Studio
Outline the story with students and assign their tasks
Online Chat session with Tutors
Online chat session with Students
The Final Check
The Final Decision
The preview of Europa Square
The Final Decision
Meet the Dean
The Final Decision
Meet the Students to organize the event
The Final Decision
The Final Rehearsal
The Final Decision
The Big Day
The Final Decision
Committing to renew the Challenge
After listing all the key scenes, it is time to detail them. For each scene of the list briefly describe the character's behavior based on the role. Make sure to describe how the Protagonist reacts to each of the other characters. Obviously not all the characters must be present in all the scenes, apart from probably the protagonist.
As an example the form for Scene n. 2 is filled below.
Present the project to the students
School's Lecture Hall
Mid March 2020
All students of the school are invited to the Lecture Hall. The Dean explains why the students are there. Prof opens his presentation with a short emotional video, followed by some explanatory slides and a very short speech. He decided that he only wants motivated and curious students to live a new experience, therefore in his speech he underlines the difficulty of the challenge, but also the possibility of learning something uncommon. Many students are quickly distracted with their smartphones, but a couple of small groups become very careful and start exchanging glances. Prof receives a phone call from his daughter, but does not notice it because the phone is muted. Prof's colleagues speak to emphasize that it is a multidisciplinary project and that they will give all their support. At the end of the meeting Prof notices the missed call and calls the daughter back. She is angry because they have to go and order the cake for the birthday party and Prof is getting late.
Prof - Protagonist
Prof wants to use the presentation to select 20 curious and truly motivated students to have a new and challenging experience.
The Dean - Reason
The Dean is participating because he sees potential in the initiative and wants to make sure students understand it's important.
The Fellow Teachers - Sidekick
The Fellow Teachers want to give their support to Prof.
The Enthusiast Students - Sidekick, Emotion
At first they pay attention only because they respect Prof, but slowly they get excited when they understand that they can live a new and different experience.
The "I don't care" Students - Skeptic
They participate because they are forced, but do not want to get involved in anything new or oppose in principle to refuse the authority of adults.
The Daughter - Contagonist
She knows very well that her father has an important event that day, but she wants to make him feel guilty to reassure herself that she is at the top of his priorities.
It is very important to tell a consistent story and to make sure to have all main angles covered. The following questions help to do that. Once again, they have been extracted from the excellent Dramatica: Theory of Story book.
What is the Protagonist Resolve?
Does your Protagonist Change his way of dealing with the problem at the heart of the story or remain Steadfast in his convictions?
Prof embarks on the project because he is convinced of the need to find new training methods. In the end he is confirmed in the decision that this research is the most important aspect of being a teacher.
What is the Protagonist Growth?
Does your Protagonist grow by adopting a new useful trait or by outgrowing an old inappropriate one?
Throughout history, Prof improves his ability to plan his activities and to engage students, learning the Art of Crowddreaming.
What is the Protagonist Approach?
Is your Protagonist a Be-er who mentally adapts to his environment or a Do-er who physically changes his environment?
Prof is a thinker always looking for new ideas to apply to his work, which he lives like a mission.
What is the Protagonist Problem-Solving Style?
Will you use a Linear problem solving style or a Holistic problem solving style?
Prof sees young people as the center of a complex system of relationships, which must be managed delicately to help them grow into adults capable of entering positively into society and living a good life. Therefore, his approach is holistic. This is why he is comfortable with the Art of Crowddreaming.
What is the Story Driver?
Is the overall story driven by Actions first (such as the time travelers arriving in The Terminator) or Decisions first (such as Daniel Hillard’s decision to impersonate a woman in Mrs. Doubtfire)?
The evolution of the story is driven by Prof's decision to participate in the Europa Square Challenge to experience a new way of letting students discover culture through digital technologies.