When beginning to plan co-design sessions keep the following in mind:
- If facilitating virtually, be prepared that teens may choose not to use their cameras – at least until relationships are established. Understand that for teens to “show” themselves takes a comfort level and trust that needs to be built. Allowing cameras to be off is a sign of respect and provides teens with agency. Over time teens may choose to turn on their cameras and/or adult facilitators may ask teens to turn on their cameras for certain portions of the session, for example during the QotD
- Before engaging teens in small groups and/or VR spaces, make sure to give out activity instructions ahead of time. Short demos are key.
- To mitigate some challenges that may arise with teens that are overly vocal and those that may be overly quiet, organize activities in which everyone can take on a specific role or task.
- When thinking about group sizes keep in mind that in the virtual environment smaller groups of 2 or 3 may reap greater conversation. Also, the size of the group and interaction within groups may vary if cameras are or are not in use.
- As you engage more with teens and learn about their interests and personalities, revise how rooms and activities are organized so as to embrace the interests and personalities effectively.
- When meeting in Discord along with a VR space, make sure to consider where full group discussions and debriefings take place. What will work best for facilitators and teens?
- Let teens know that if they are feeling uncomfortable during a session they can “walk away.” In VR teens may become overwhelmed and need a chance to refresh before joining back in with the group.
School and grades, seeing how big a role that plays in teens lives. Providing a space to escape that has been the role of librarians. Thinking out loud (in sessions) was really helpful. Broke down the pressure of sharing ideas and the thought process. Feedback (from teens) about wanting to have more unstructured social space.