MUARA: Creating Interactive Online Events about Water Crisis Education for Children using Miro and Zoom

Avi Hadi
11 min readNov 25, 2021

Climate change and environmental issues might be complicated topics that are difficult for children. But what if we can present it in exciting ways and relate it to their daily lives? Can we equip younger generations with knowledge and habits in a fun, interesting way that they are able to enjoy?

Muara Logo

Being a part of Muara has given me the most excitement and fulfillment throughout the entire year. Muara (@muara.airkita on Instagram) is a campaign about educating water crisis for the younger generation. As the PIC for Muara’s Event team, I was responsible for designing and coordinating several events which include:

  • 2 pilot online workshops,
  • 4 interactive online workshops,
  • an interactive webinar, and
  • a creativity contest,

over 3 months (August to October 2021). These events were targeted towards children ranging from grade 4 to grade 9. Due to restrictions because of the pandemic, we were only able to hold online activities, which became a challenge we had to overcome.

How might we engage children in learning about water crisis through an online platform? How might we implement a water-saving mindset for children? How might we motivate children to participate and take actionable steps and in conserving water?

Interactive Online Workshop

The purpose of Muara workshops is to engage the youth on a personal level by equipping them with the knowledge and empowerment to implement better water habits in their daily lives.

For each workshop session, we’ve invited 30–60 participants which we call “Water Superheroes” to implant a sense of responsibility and ownership with Muara and for them to be our ‘agents of change’ in spreading the knowledge about how to take care of water. With this, we hope to prepare the next generation with more resilient and sustainable water use management skills from doing “small changes” in their daily habits.

Understanding our target audience was the biggest challenge. We had to research how Indonesian elementary and middle school students study online, which we did by doing several interviews and questionnaires for students, parents, and teachers. On the other hand, we researched interactive online workshops and discussed with collaborators like SBID (Solusi Banjir Indonesia) and Pupla Project on educating children and have gained rich insights.

Our research and brainstorming led us to a couple of conclusions on online learning for children:

  • Students usually could only effectively concentrate within 30 minutes of a learning activity. However, a mix of different media like lectures, videos, and quizzes are useful to keep them engaged
  • Children will be more engaged in practical activities such as arts and crafts
  • Colors and graphics are important to grab their attention
  • Storytelling is one of the preferred methods
  • Providing rewards or achievement checkpoints will keep the students motivated throughout the learning activity

We decided on using Miro, a collaborative online whiteboard tool as our main platform for the workshop activities, alongside Zoom for the lectures and facilitation. For each workshop event, the participants are divided into groups of 5–7 students, where they will be guided by two facilitators in missions to help them become Water Superheroes. We divided the students into small groups to encourage them to fully participate and speak their minds. While the facilitators had been trained in two sessions of Trainer for Trainers and a rehearsal one day prior to every workshop event.

Even members of Muara had difficulties in using Miro at the start, and there have been no precedents we could study from on Miro workshops — for children. But I could say, innovation waits for no one, and that’s why testing and prototyping became the most crucial part of the design process.

A pilot workshop was done before the actual workshops, where we invited around 10 elementary school students and 10 middle school students on separate sessions to test out our methods. Initially, we were quite worried about children’s adaptability on the platform, but we gave the participants time to familiarize themselves with Miro from one day before the workshop and challenged them to try out its features. Consequently, most didn’t need much more time to get used to Miro and were able to finish the activities well.

One important note we learned from the pilot workshops is the difference between elementary and middle school students. Although close in age, the activities cannot be treated equally and must be adjusted specifically to each category. For instance, elementary school students were more excited and enthusiastic when shown the achievement badge at the end of each session, while teenagers in middle school needed to be asked “why”, and be given opportunities to explain “how” a certain phenomenon happens. That way, middle school students would be more challenged, rather than merely do one simple activity. A continuous loop of feedback and iteration was implemented every week, where we held workshops every Saturday for a total of 4 weeks.

What is ‘interactive’ about the workshop? How did we keep participants engaged throughout 2.5 hours of the event?

All Muara workshops follow a fixed and balanced pattern of three-part lectures in Zoom (10–15 minutes) and four collaborative activities in Miro (10–20 minutes). The design of the Miro board is in the form of a loop as the beginning also acts as the final destination.

Miro board layout for Muara Workshops

Participants start by practicing how to use Miro before the event starts, and were free to create and personalize their name cards. Inspired by the classic in-game Pokémon trainer card, achievement badges will be updated within the name cards as they progress each of the missions. This activity allowed participants to showcase their art skills and also gave them the chance to familiarize themselves with the platform.

Instructions on how to fill in the name cards

Zoom Meetings weren’t only used as a platform for one-way learning, but we also implemented two-way interactions through Zoom polls to test the participant’s understanding after every lecture, the chatbox for questions and answers, as well as breakout rooms for small group facilitation.

Lecture session on Zoom

After they listened to the first lecture about “What is Water?”, participants are put into their respective groups through Zoom breakout rooms and moved to the Miro board. This activity requires them to identify the difference between the past and current water cycle, and find the reasoning for the difference. This activity aims to raise awareness to the children that the state of water is changing, for the worse.

Mission 1 : Find the difference between the past and current water life cycles

The participants move on to the second mission after hearing the second lecture about Water Crisis. Here, participants discuss and share their personal experiences related to water crisis, such as floods, drought, or as simple as a leaking faucet in their homes. This activity aims to build empathy within children, as they realize water crisis does not only affect them and their family, but it affects their friends and many other people as well.

Mission 2 : Sharing session about personal experience related to water crisis

The third and final lecture talks about Water Conservation and Good Water Habits. Afterward, participants went back into their breakout rooms and start the third and fourth mission directly within one session.

Mission 3 asks the participants to identify areas within the house where good water habits could be implemented, and they also have to identify what the good water habit is. This activity relates the participants with simple actions they could take in their everyday lives to save water, such as taking a 5-minute shower, watering plants with rice water, using a dual-flush toilet, and more.

Mission 3 : Identifying good water habit activities that can be done at home

While mission 4 requires the participants’ teamwork and decision-making skills in choosing items to bring in an emergency bag to prepare themselves if a natural disaster is predicted to come. After collecting the items, the facilitators engaged the participants by asking them to grab a real item they would put in their emergency bag, and they ran off to search for items in their room or house.

Activity 4 : Choose items to pack up into emergency bags

After finishing all the missions, participants are brought back into their name cards, new and improved, with a complete set of badges and a newly revealed ‘Water Superhero Pledge’ on the right side. With this pledge, participants were asked to write their names and actionable commitments to save water. This activity concludes the workshop event and supports the main purpose of Muara. However, the journey of these Water Superheroes doesn’t end here, as they were told to fill in the Water Habit Tracker to keep track of the implementation of good water habits in their daily lives. This tracker was inspired by the fasting and good deeds tracker usually obligated to fill by Indonesian elementary school students every Ramadhan.

The workshops have gained a majority of good responses, as some participants voiced out their desire to participate in similar workshops, and anticipated more interactive workshops from Muara. However, a number of participants found Miro to be quite difficult, possibly due to gadget limitations (some participants could only join from their mobile phones) and limited time to practice within the event. From 104 respondents, the feedback is summed up in this graph:

There had been a couple of hurdles along the way, but seeing the youth’s enthusiasm to save water from the workshops gave us much hope for the future. It is crucial to educate and appoint ‘agents of change’ as early as possible for a better Earth, and we must not let history repeat itself.

During Lecture 3 about good water habits

Muara Fun Interactive Webinar

As the workshops could only include a small number of participants, Muara has also come up with an Interactive Webinar to be able to cater to a much larger number of participants while also acting as a grand conclusion for the Muara campaign. The idea of making a webinar interactive is to ensure the engagement of the youths, providing them with opportunities to ask questions directly and participate in interactive games which require active participation.

The brainstorming process for the webinar was quite unique, as this was a concluding event, so all members of Muara took part in it. Given a set of rules and constraints, we implemented the collaborative Crazy-8s method to gather as many ideas as possible for the concept of the webinar. After the run, Muara members vote on the ideas they like, and the result of this brainstorm session was brought to be further developed and realized by the Event team.

Collaborative Crazy-8s method used to brainstorm webinar activities and concepts

As result, the Muara webinar event consists of activities like storytelling, interactive games, and prized quizzes. The participant count number reached its peak of 570 participants, and all activities require them to actively use the chatbox to answer, or raise their hand and turn on their mics when selected to ask questions. Further proving the youth’s high enthusiasm and curiosity on water conservation, the chatbox had practically exploded with questions, and numerous had raised their hands to ask a question directly after the 12-minute lecture was given.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CWaqtWJDM-g/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

We had also taken a new approach in interactive quizzes, instead of normal multiple choices, we challenged the participants more in games like memory games, crossword puzzles, and letter swapping. The participants were overly excited, asking for more quizzes when we only provided three.

Crossword puzzle for one of the webinar quizzes

Due to several technical difficulties, we were only able to gather feedback from 264 respondents, which indicates a majority of positive feedback on the webinar event as well.

Water Superhero Creativity Contest

Different from the workshops and webinar where Muara and its collaborators educate the youths on water, the contest is meant to be a platform for the youths to encourage fellow youths to save water through works of creativity and art.

Consisting of 3 categories: Poem contest, Poster contest, and TikTok/IG Reels contest — this contest had attracted over 60 elementary and middle school students to submit their inspiring works.

Instagram feed for contest winners announcement

The amazing works of the 11 winners could be seen directly on Muara’s Instagram page.

Lessons Learned

Through 3 months of unforgettable experiences, I could conclude some of the key learnings to be:

  1. Online education might be more challenging than pre-pandemic face-to-face learning sessions, but it must not be viewed as a weakness. Rather, we should view it as an opportunity to innovate on new learning methods and discover engaging ways to make the learning atmosphere just as interesting, or even more, than what we used to have in the past, and technology is able to make it happen.
  2. Miro certainly has helped make the events interesting because participants were enabled to get hands-on the tasks, building a sense of ownership and also competitiveness at the same time, because they can see other cursors hovering and doing activities. However, it has its limitations, as only participants who access through a desktop platform to make full use of it, and it might serve problems to people with lower bandwidth or bad network connections, as loading the boards took quite some time.
  3. Although the webinar only used one platform (Zoom Meetings), we were able to do various different activities to keep the event as interactive and as engaging as possible.
  4. In educating children about climate change and environmental issues, a clear narrative is crucial. What do these topics have to do with them? What are their responsibilities? What actionable steps could they take? What will they do to help? — All our event has taken an approach with a clear narrative to help the participants become Water Superheroes, our agents of change, to emotionally connect with them and heighten their sense of responsibility towards the environment.

If you’ve reached this far, I sincerely thank you and I hope this project could become an inspiration for the much-needed early education on sustainability for a lovelier future Earth for everyone. Reflecting back on this event had made me swell with pride, and the events wouldn’t have run successfully without the entire Muara team, especially the Event & Content Development teams — Nadia, Upang, Laras, Friska, Olivia, Dekav, and Kak Uswah. A big thanks as well to

for leading the Muara team from the start, and for the help proofreading my first Medium article.

Although we were still far from perfect, this opportunity has given us incredibly valuable experience and lessons to take and implement on our future projects.

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Avi Hadi

A multidisciplinary design learner with a growing passion for design-led research, innovation, and virtual collaboration.