Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fishbowl Seminar Instructions

Fishbowl seminars. I dont know who thought them up but I like them. I keep having to cook up a description of them, find images of the set-up etc. So I thought I'd put it here, partly to make things easy for myself - not because it necessarily has anything to do with networked learning... except that the first place I encountered it was in the Aalborg NLC.
So I've made this image (yes I am colourblind). 
And these are the instructions for my setting - tweak to suit :)

This is a way of a managing a group conversation. It needs at enough people to form a decent circle, plus three. So 10 is a good number but I have seen it done successfully with many more than this (see https://flic.kr/p/c8iyWj for example).

You will need to rearrange the room so that there is a circle of chairs around three chairs in the middle. In smaller fishbowl seminars, it's good to avoid someone sitting directly behind someone else, especially the 'main speaker'. 
You will need about 20 sheets of A4 paper and lots of post-it notes (the number of members, squared).
Divide the time available by the number of members to find out how long each round will be. Allow for a couple of minutes for 'handover'. 

Three people are in the middle of a circle of chairs. One is for the 'presenter', the other is a tutor, and  another 3rd person - the latter two kick off with questions.
If anyone wants to speak, they have to take one of the seats in the middle. They do this by rising from their seat and tapping the shoulder of the tutor or 3rd person to replace them in the middle. 
It is good to give the people sitting around the centre something significant to do so that they are actively listening and contributing even if they do not enter the centre. For example,
  1. Each round, appoint a different person to keep the time. They should announce when 2 minutes are left on the current round. 
  2. Ensure that each person around the outside has at least one postit note. They are asked to write some brief (it can only be brief!), anonymised feedback on the postit. Sharing email addresses can happen a different way! At the end of a round, the postits for that round are stuck to a single a4 sheet.
Probably you have suggestions which could enhance the above, if so, please share :)