Encouraging Collaboration

Encouraging participants to share ideas and work together

Fostering collaboration is not only crucial for a successful Makeathon, it’s the intersection of different perspectives that can provide the most creative solutions. By encouraging collaboration, particularly with others that the participants might not ordinarily associate with, you open up new possibilities for the students.

Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Create a safe and inclusive environment: Ensure that everyone feels welcome and respected, regardless of their age, gender, race, or background. Encourage participants to listen to each other, be respectful of different perspectives, and avoid interrupting others. It is good practice to ask students for their preferred pronouns (he / she / they, etc.) when they introduce themselves - and then make sure you use those pronouns when talking about that person - to make everyone feel valued and to ensure that nobody feel excluded.

  2. Break the ice: Plan icebreaker activities at the beginning of the Makeathon to help participants get to know each other and build trust. This can include team-building exercises or games that encourage collaboration and communication. Getting students to tell stories about themselves that they might not ordinarily think to share is one good way of doing this. There are some ideas for icebreaker activities later in this manual.

  3. Encourage teamwork: Encourage participants to work in teams and assign specific roles to each team member to ensure that everyone is contributing equally, without duplicating each other’s contribution. Encourage them to delegate tasks and communicate effectively to complete their projects.

  4. Provide feedback and recognition: Provide constructive feedback throughout the Makeathon to help participants improve their ideas and projects. Celebrate their successes and achievements, no matter how small, to motivate and inspire them.

The chance to focus on collaboration and the sharing of ideas is, in itself, a great reason to run a Makeathon. Many educational environments focus on solo work and individual problem solving. It’s important that students get the opportunity to work in a collaborative way, which is increasingly common - and even necessary - in the workplace.

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