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  • Writer's pictureTitiksha Vashist

The Unboxing Tech Toolkit goes to Re:Publica Berlin!

At Re:Publica 2023 Berlin, The Pranava Institute hosted a session on Unboxing Tech Toolkit at the Makerspace, organised by the Global Innovation Gathering (GIG).

We at The Pranava Institute were thrilled to present our work on the Unboxing Tech Toolkit: The Materiality of the Smartphone at the Re:Publica 2023 conference, hosted in-person in Berlin this year. Re:Publica, now in its 16th edition, is Germany's premier festival for digital society that brings together academics, thinkers, industry experts, creative artists and makers from across Europe and other parts of the world. Our attendance at this three-day festival of digital society was made possible due to the support provided by the Political Dialogue Asia program of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Singapore.

Our hands-on session was hosted on the second day at the Makerspace convened by the Global Innovation Gathering(GIG), a worldwide community of innovation hubs, makerspaces and technologists. They are as interesting as they sound, so check out their work here!

The Session: Hosting our toolkit @Makerspace

Since we put out the rather catchy title of "Mines, Maps and Minerals: Trace the complex material flows of your smartphone to make more sustainable choices", our session had a full-house of over 30 participants from diverse geographies and backgrounds - educators, technologists, civil society activists, makers and media. Given that we were at the Makerspace, we took a quick ten minutes to present the vision and pedagogical design of the toolkit and opened out most of the hour-long session for guided hands-on engagement with the toolkit. Given that our participants were a full decade older than the young adults we designed for, they raced through the toolkit in about 30 minutes.

Feedback from Participants The final 20 minutes of the session were used for creative reflection and open conversations on their experience with the toolkit. The overall feedback was overwhelmingly positive with participants appreciating the design simplicity and accessibility of the toolkit. Here are some kind words our participants anonymously left us:

  • "Very good and interesting toolkit, really enjoyed the matching games. Keep up the good work "

  • "I really like your idea. The layout is very graphic and attractive. Please keep it up."

  • "Very interesting toolkit. Illustrations are great to appeal to young people."

  • And finally "thank you for sharing it, such a great project. KAS should continue funding it!" Sponsors, take note!

Some participants raised the need for additional supportive resources to enable the toolkit to be used in contexts where literacy may be low. However, another participant who works in South Sudanese refugee camps in Congo, expressed confidence that he could administer this toolkit to young adults there. In fact, he even volunteered to partner with us to try out a pilot. These are exactly the kinds of unexpected use cases that delight!

Next Steps

Re:Publica 2023 provided a great platform for the toolkit to step out of our lab into the real world! The reception has given us a lot of encouragement as well as constructive feedback and new partners to take this open-source educational tool across the globe. We are actively looking for partners, so If you are an educator, researcher, parent or organisation working on technology and sustainability, and want to collaborate with us, do reach out!

More updates coming soon.


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