#iLRN16_SFP‘ (Imagine 2016) opened the Immersive Learning Research Network annual conference (iLRN 2016) with a workshop that introduced the SF-Prototyping (SFP) methodology, exploring ways immersive-reality technology might change future education, stretching from formal education at college through in-situ industrial training to informal settings as part of our everyday lives. Attendees participated in group based ideation sessions, learning how to write micro-SFPs (µSFPs) before completing the day by helping their group write at least one µSFP (which are shown below). More information about µSFPs can be looking at descriptions on Wikipedia or the Creative Science  pages.

We are also running a special track at this conference called the The Future of Education  (click the link for details of this event). For more information on Outer Limits‘events visit this page.

EVENT Structure

  • 1pm – Welcome to iLRN (Jonathon Richter)
  • 1.15pm –  Invited talk Brian Johnson (via Skype)
  • 2.00pm  – Introduction to SFP (Vic Callaghan)
  • 2.30pm – Coffee/tea & Imagination Workshop (divide into 6 groups, done at registration) (Dennis Beck, Christian Gütl, Leonel Caseiro Morgado, Michael Gardner, Jonathon Richter & Vic Callaghan facilitating)
    1. Brainstorm ideas (30 minutes)
    2. Discuss and prioritise ideas (15 minutes)
    3. Create at least one µSFP (15 minutes)
  • 3.30pm – Group presentations of µSFP (5 minute per group)
  • 4.00pm – Vote on best group µSFP (Michael Gardner)
  • 4.15pm – Prize (Jonathon Richter)
  • 4.20pm – Overview of follow-on µSFP competition (Vic Callaghan)
  • 4.30pm – Concluding Session (Jonathon Richter)

Attendees were invited to look over the presentation by Vic Callaghan prior to attending the event so as to give some thought to identifying areas of immersive education that are in need of innovation.



Conference attendees were invited to enter a competition to write an individual µSFP describing how they foresaw immersive learning technologies and pedagogies changing the nature of future education.  Twitter was used to collect competition entries which restricted stories to 129 characters (around 20 words). The top 3 µSFPs (as voted by attendees) received a certificate and a prize (Amazon vouchers; $100 first price, $50 for 2nd and 3rd prizes) which were presented at the closing session of iLRN 2016.

Winners (as voted by attendees)

  1. Carly Kocurek (1st place – $100)
  2. Johanna Pirker (2nd place – $50)
  3. Jon Richter (3rd place – $50).

Micro-SFP Competition Entries

competition Guidelines?

µSFPs of 129 characters were submitted using Twitter by  tweeting micro-fictions with the hashtag #iLRN16_SFP no later than midnight on the 29th June 2016.

All the stories were retweeted via our official Twitter account @CSciFoundation and posted to this page (when stories were retweeted µSFPs were officially in the competition!).

The mechanics of this online competition were organised by Anasol Peña-Rios (@prlosana). A useful guidance form for writing µSFPs was abalable from this link. More information about µSFPs is available from this page.

Keynote Talk

Brian David Johnson

BDJ_picture_headBrian David Johnson is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and a Futurist and Fellow at Frost & Sullivan, a visionary innovation company that’s focused on growth. He also works with governments, militaries, trade organizations, and startups to help them envision their future. He has over 30 patents and is the author of a number of books of fiction and nonfiction, including Science Fiction Prototyping; Screen Future: The Future of Entertainment, Computing and the Devices We Love; Humanity and the Machine: What Comes After Greed?; and Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian and a Futurist Journey through Steampunk into the Future of Technology. His writing has appeared in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal and Slate to IEEE Computer and Successful Farming, and he appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, PBS, Fox News, and the Discovery Channel. He has directed two feature films, and is an illustrator and commissioned painter. His current projects include The Future of the American Dream and  the 21st Century Robot.

Synopsis of Talk

Title: How an idea and a little robot changed the world
It all began with a little robot named Jimmy.  Jimmy was the product of a science fiction prototype.  Over the next decade, working with an international collection of designers, engineers, scientists and intellectuals that little robot evolved into The 21st Century Robot Project.  The project has one goal: to get as many people as possible to image, design and build robots. In Spring 2016 the project brought their robots and design process to three middle schools in Burbank, California (Luther Burbank, David Starr Jordan and John Muir Middle Schools).  Working with the newly formed robot clubs they got the nearly 90 students imagining and building robots using science fiction to design, engineer and code.  In his talk inventor of science fiction prototyping and Jimmy will chart the path of an idea and a little robot and how both changed the world.

Organisers (In alphabetical order)

  • Dennis Beck, University of Arkansas, USA
  • Vic Callaghan, University of Essex, UK
  • Michael Gardner, University of Essex, UK
  • Christian Gütl, Graz University of Technology, Austria
  • Leonel Caseiro Morgado, Universidade Aberta, Portugal
  • Anasol Peña-Rios, University of Essex, UK
  • Jonathon Richter, Salish Kootenai College, USA
  • Hsuan-Yi Wu (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)