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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Last spring I agreed to be a steering group member for  Competence & Capability Development Community for Excellence Finland. It has about 900 members and organizes monthly events.  Riitta my colleague at Nokia, was looking someone to continue on her behalf  and  since life long learning has been one of my interest areas for years, I agreed to join in.

Steering groups members are asked to organize one session, providing practical examples, so I offered to run a Workshop on “Mobile Learning & Web 2.0” and promised to introduce opportunities of  social communities (Facebook and Ning), microblogging (Twitter & Yammer) and virtual worlds (Second Life and Sun’s  Project Wonderland)  as well as examples of mobile learning applications used within Nokia for strategy sharing and competence development. So September 24th, 2009 we had a workshop in Design Factory, Otaniemi.

We had a very interesting afternoon with good discussion – and I promised to share examples included in presentation and links demoed with participants. And instead of doing that with traditional e-mail – I would write a blog post about it – so it would be easily shared with others as well.

We started the workshop with short selections from two You Tube -videos:

  • A vision of a student today – describing the changes in learning & life from students’ perspective – by Michael Wesch’s students
  • Did You Know – describing the change around us – by originally Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod …

And we continued with questions how communication and  work life are changing and how possibilities for learning in business & work life are changing as well.  In the workshop I introduced examples and described possible uses of social media for learning and competence development. – People in small groups discussed what would be the possible benefits of using certain media and what concerns did they have .

I decided to use examples that are describing how the work itself is changing … how we work and how we learn as well.

As introduction I gave overview to social media channels. We started with a quick test, how much people knew about social media, and how much they had used them. For EFQM conference we had session related to Quality & Web 2.0 and we used Facebook Group Quality & Connected Life Web 2.0 prior to conference for discussion and sharing examples. I shared examples how work is accelerated and changed by use new media & crowd sourcing  – Google Marketing book done in 32 hours in Finland, We are Smarter than Me book creation &  Japanese Otetsudai Networks using mobile devices, Rendez project site build on Drupal, Dell Idea Storm & IBM Jams.

Examples at personal level-  Jeremiah Oywang, Luis Suarez & Sacha Chu – provide views to how professional people shared their findings with others and sources they are using for their personal learning.

Professional organizations have long been important for professional development – now use of social media communities provides new possibilities also between face-to-face meetings. -I used  Sometu -Ning Community ( Social Media Supporting Learning) as an example.
Microblogging with Twitter – provides fast channels for information sharing. Using examples from  a recent Twitter 140 Conference , and many people in Twitter helping in preparing the workshop, I shared stories how Twitter can help in professional learning.

Some use of new media I  demonstrated directly from internet, using Delicious bookmarks , Linked In and a live Google search, based on comments and question from participants.

In group discussions workshop participants game up with several possible benefits. Social media can help in finding latest information, being better connected to experts also internationally. It can provide access to new thinking and ideas, and provide context for  co-creation, possibility for instant sharing both experiences and information. Social Media applications can give new possibilities for efficient knowledge management, it can be fun and entertaining and can provide  new business possibilities.  Most applications are free and some were perceived easy to use.

During the discussion people were concerned with security & privacy and  excessive use of time. Finding relevant information, meaningful and value adding communities  and people can be challenging. Using many media channels can lead to information overflow and superficial use of  information.  Separation of professional & private life was one of the concerns and also , digital divide, how some people might not have possibility to participate. Difficulties with registrations, access, visiting various sites  and also technical problems ( firewall restrictions, etc.) could hinder use of social media.  In some organizations cultural discouragement –  perception that social media provides channels for entertainment, not for professional development, does not encourage people to explore possibilities.

Participants saw many possible uses of social media for professional development and learning . Finding ways that work best for you personally will require some experimentation – but it is well worth it. The world is changing and so are practices with learning and professional development.

  • In Twitter the 1st step is to find a professionally interesting person, start following her/him, and gradually experimenting
  • InYou Tube – look for content lectures / presentations
  • In Facebook – look for professional groups or start one of your own
  • In Ning – look for professional groups
  • In Linked In – participate in some professional groups

There are so silver bullets, or simple solutions – creating personal practices takes some effort, but luckily in social media you can find people who can help in your exploration.  Jump in, learn & enjoy !!

Recommended books:

  • Dan Tapscot & Anthony Williams (2006) Wikinomics
  • Barry Libert & Jon Spector (2007) We are Smarter than Me

In Finnish:

  • Tuija Aalto (2009) Nettielämää – Sosiaalisen median maailmat.
  • Leenamaija Otala & kaija Pöysti ( 2008) Wikimaniaa yrityksiin – Yritys 2.0 Tuottamaan.

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Summer time ..  hedgehogs in the garden.
My garden emerging nicely, and animals like it too.

This delighful couple showed up one morning. First walking by the fence, then stopping to pose for a while. I like to think mommy is one of the four tiny hedgehogs we saved from seagulls and took to Korkeasaari zoo. And now she came to show her baby … she often comes to our backyard …

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Have been looking into & trying out some interesting applications:

  • Moozement – social training log  – recording basic info exercise with the friends – creating social support  &  pressure
  • Kiva –  micro lending community, where we have established a group with friends, offers possibility to directly support entrepreneurs in emerging countries
  • Thinglink – social application for design enthusiasts and rafters

Today my friend Kaisa referred me to an interesting blog post – related to changes in consumption and social media –  “Conspicuous, but not Consuming” – by Stephen Linaweaver, Brad Bate and Michael Keating. – how Facebook is more environmentally sustainable than solar panels.

Social media offers possibilities for us  to change how we communicate, interact with friends and strangers.  Social media  also can have an effect on  how we live, support others and what and how much we consume.

There are new applications emerging constantly – and existing ones are improving. Users and developers are invited to participate in creation, contibute with ideas and feedback. Active user and developer communities are important  for the continuous development. This can also become one form of self-actualization – instead of or in addition to consuming, we become co-creators and members.

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Midsummer is extremely important time for celebration for Finns. People flock into summer cottages and celebrate the long, light summer nights. No matter what is the weather, people leave the cities and head towards lake side cottages, festivals, camping sites – being close to lakes & nature, seems to be essential.

For nearly 20 years, we have spent Midsummer time  by Takajärvi, ” the Lake Taka”, by the summer cottage of my in laws, who have kindly offered a place for a crowd of  “Midsummer Orphans”.

This year the cottage become ours, and tradition continued.  And about 20 adults and 15 kids celebrated the summer again together. It was exceptionally rainy and cold – somehow it did not seem to matter, it was nice to be back to Takajärvi with friends. Some of our children have spend all their Midsummers here, with the “Midsummer Family”.

This year people shared their feelings also via Facebook statuses & discussions – and with Twitter, and with pictures in Flickr …

Merja … “observes nature’s cycles: the second generation of the Midsummer Family sits at the lakeside playing guitar. Suddenly we have a gang of teenagers instead of children.”  “… enjoys life …”

Kaisa … “ +10c and rain; several really new, fun-related innovations done. “

We were talking about social media, laughing to ourselves sitting next to each other, and posting comments on Facebook.  Social media enables us to stay connected also other times. Some are more active than others.  And we have been using social media for practicalities as well …  invitations are sent by -e-mail, including a link to Doodle – where we can see when people will arrive and leave. This year Rita co-ordinated responsibilities for various meals.  In 2007  we were using Kotikokki – for sharing menu & recipes.

This year my friend Kristiina was arranging at the same time “Midsummer Festival Simulation Party” in winter weather at Pretoria, South-Africa, which was far warmer than we had.  And we were also exchanging ideas how to simulate  Finnish midsummer into other side of the world…

Together we try out new things, share experiences and learn and enjoy life.   It is all about meaningful connections among people…  Even I enjoy experimenting with social media – I am also  already looking forward for the 20th Year Anniversary Midsummer Festivals by Takajärvi!

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Last year I spent Mothers’ Day in Tokyo enjoying gardens there. It was delightful, but staying at home with family and enjoying gardens here is even better.

So we spend a lot of time in our own garden, enjoying flowers – daffodils and blossoming  forsythia  bushes – in Finnish – is it called  Happiness Bush (Onnenpensas),  wild white anemones (Valkovuokko), the garden is filled with spring flowers.  The flower benches  I made last autumn all seem to be doing well.

Our neighbors decided to renew their backyard – so I got plenty of new plants from there. Some of them  I have no idea they are, exciting!  Now they are all planted in my planting  boxes, so that I can see what they are, how high they grow and then can decide what would be the best place to plant them for longer term.

When most of the today’s in garden work has done, I took a wheel barrel load of braches, weeds and leaves to compost. On my way back it started raining and I saw the whole rainbow. Little things in life can be very enjoyable even though temporary.

In the evening planted some sunflowers, three different varieties: Lion Sangria and Sol, will be interesting to watch them grow.

Ideas are like seeds – they need plenty of nurturing, before they prosper and even more time until harvesting is possible. Luckily with plants you can also enjoy growing phase.

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About a month ago my friend Elina blogged about free hugs in Helsinki and I commented that I could have one too …   Elina called me in Sunday morning, she wanted to do something around Hugging Monday and asked if I was in. And of cause I was excited  … so here started the idea to arrange something similar, but a bit different  for people at work.

Both of us have had our share of ups and downs and we we decided that we really want to do something – to cheer up our selves and others as well.

Elina ordered & created  the Hugging Monday website, I created a Hugging Monday  fan club to Facebook, and ideation continued…   with messages in Facebook, e-mails, phone calls etc.etc…

We wanted to keep things small – to remind us and others – that small things can make a difference.

And today was the official first “Hugging Monday” –  due to Swine Influenza, we decided not  widely share real hugs. Instead we decided to cheer up our fellow workers with sharing printed aphorisms, about life & joy&change &hope, piloted a small scale coffee corner event with chocolate, and sent out messages via e-mail lists and super hugs via Super Poke in Facebook.

In return we got nice comments and replies, smiling faces – also real and virtual hugs.  And life feels a little bit better!

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My family – in Japanese “Takala” means a treasure  and “Tomi” means “valuable& rich”  – so I’m married to Mr. Treasure and our son is  “Valuable Treasure” .  Ronja & Linda – our small dogs – spice up our living with their enthusiasm.

Gardening – some weeks ago  there were  Garden Exhibition in Helsinki – the signs of spring and summer are here…  The first snow bells are already here:-) And I see them from my armchair.  Gardening is a passion that I share with my sister & mom.

Friends – even we are far, and busy with our lives – it is inspiring to stay in touch, and share little moments &  joys – and gradually more friends are using social media as well and this is easier than ever…

Learning & sharing – small things, simple things, wide, complex and messy – always a joy…   as long as I live, I will scout out for new, weird, interesting, amazing things – especially related to human behavior & people. If my work enables learning & sharing in an appreciative context – I’ll stay, if not I’ll move somewhere else . Life long learner – still working on with my dissertation… when that is done, I will continue with pedagogical studies…

Home – chaotic collection of things, recycled furniture, – zen gardens – or sand boxes, 3 of them – large , medium and tiny, books, plants, and stuff – I’m definitely not a minimalist …

Summer cottage – The cottage by Takajärvi, the place that has been in my life nearly as long as Pete, is now ours. So many plans, for the yard, new terraces, changes inside, new peer etc. etc.  and after some years major renovation…   There I have finished my Master & Licentiate thesis, now its time to push through the final one – Ph.D

Well – being –  constant quest, looking for joy, spying hearts in everywhere. Trying out new forms of exercise, diets…   Looking for dynamic balances  in life – working & relaxing  – staying still & moving around – mess & order.  Enjoying living , the journey …

It is sometimes hard to stay true to your values – I need to regurlarly remind myself  – again, and  again, again, again …    I have done personal inventory of the well being for over 1o years.  Every year I revisit a long list a questions – self analysis – hmmm…  time to revisit them again.

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