Digital storytelling with a mobile phone should be taught on a mobile phone. That pretty much works even if your workshop participants are somewhere else including data-poor environments.
The pandemic has sped up the digital transformation. Unfortunately that does not really help in data-poor environments. Apart from that there is a certain "Zoom fatique" after hours and hours of fruitful and fruitless videocalls. While apps like mmhmm or the Snap camera show ways how to optimize or further develop speaking to each other and working together (do not force me to get on another Jamboard with you, i do not want Miro and no Whiteboard) could be achieved before we all meet im the Metaverse workspace and move around our digital selfs, copies or avatars.
After having planned and conducted and joined quite some online workshops via Zoom, Google Meet and Teams i was intrigued by the idea of Claire Wardle to run a free two-week text message course in July. Besides the messy and doomscrolling world of social media a gold old SMS or Whatsapp or email (newsletter!) seemed like a rather pleasing idea. And it worked. More or less. Just like a "Zoom workshop" despite the a/synchronous aspect of it. After having followed the course for a couple of days i came to the impression that a smaller and more defined group of people that introduce each other at the beginning and continue working together might even work better.
I was very happy when i learned that Grassroot, a civic technology organization based in South Africa with the help of the MIT Governance Lab, had developed a first-of-its-kind training course entirely on WhatsApp to improve the leadership skills of community organizers. Chloe from Kubatana told me in a TTeT (Train the eTrainer) course run by Deutsche Welle and MISA Malawi.
After having carefully studied the "How to guide for designing and delivering an interactive training course through online messaging" i came up with a first concept and material for a single training module on "How to shoot a proper selfie-report". We tested the 30 minutes input, exercise and feedback solely via WhatsApp. And what can i say? It worked. And it was fun.
Thx to my dear colleagues George, Sellina and me know where to improve and change things. It became clear that structure, context and connection are key. The usage of emojis worked very good. We want to test voice messages next. And there is always a mixture of prepared dialogue and spontaneous feedback.
We will have a first iteration by the end of september. Let´s see how that goes. Either way designing rich online content for data-poor environments is a hell lot of fun because the limitation, the urgency and practice of messaging in a group situation with interaction and discussion and GIFS and Emojis directly in the palm of your hand wherever you are brings in so many possibilities for new ways of knowledge transfer.