Anyone who is involved in European politics is familiar with the debates about the pros and cons as well as the future of European integration. But how do you get young people to engage with this and develop an interest in Europe? Over the years we have amassed plenty of good analogue concepts - now the Union Lab is a strong digital extension!
In just 45 minutes of playing time, the young participants take on the roles of European heads of state and design their very own EU. They explore numbers, trends and options to see what impact their decisions could have on the development of the EU. No two groups negotiate in the same way; each Union develops its own unique game dynamics. In some groups, players are more self-interested, in others there is more solidarity and European measures are adopted to help weaker members.
In this way, a change of perspective and the ability to deal with conflict are trained in a playful way. The focus, however, is on the ability to form one's own judgement. A teacher who regularly uses the Union Laboratory in class describes it as follows: "The game manages in a unique way to make the pupils aware of the complexity, opportunities and challenges in the important field of European politics“.
Further educational materials allow teachers to integrate the game into regular school lessons. Participants only need a smartphone or tablet to play the game; the actual negotiations take place verbally and live. In this respect, the Union Lab is a prototype of blended learning, which during the pandemic has gained significance.
A huge thank you for the great cooperation goes to our clients who entrusted us with the development of this innovative educational format: the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation. Due to their generous support, the game can be played free of charge. Since its launch in 2018, it has already been carried out several thousand times, and during the pandemic its use literally exploded.
In case this has whetted your appetite: You can find all the information about the Union Laboratory as well as the chance to take part free of charge at unionslabor.de