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Vibes in AVO Open Networks

Vibes in AVO Open Networks



Vibes in AVO Open Networks — Descriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008-2011...

Vibes in AVO Open Networks — Descriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008-2011
contains eight stories, each shedding light on the project’s practical implementation from a
different angle. The report is intended for experts and anyone interested alike. The themes
include open learning, open working cultures, social media and content production. In addition,
the report touches upon virtual worlds and mobile learning devices for educational purposes
as well as the use of free and open software in education and organisations.

The AVO – Open Networks for Learning project was implemented in 2008-2012 under the
ESF Operational Programme in mainland Finland, axis 3: Active Citizen of the Open Learning
Environment. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and
the Environment in Lapland and coordinated by the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre.
There were 11 member organisations.



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    Vibes in AVO Open Networks Vibes in AVO Open Networks Document Transcript

    • Vibes in AVO Open NetworksDescriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008–2011 AVO reports 1/2012
    • Contents PREFACE “WE WERE SO OUT, OUT OF Tiina Front-Tammivirta ............................................... 3 THE CLASSROOM – AND WE LEARNED!” Outi Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, AbstRact .................................................................... 5 Annika Michelson and Lotta Linko ....................... 37 CORNERSTONES OF COORDINATION AND WISDOM IN WIKI PRODUCTION COMMUNICATION IN THE AVO PROJECT – OUR PEER PRODUCTION ESTABLISHED Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas and NEW OPERATING MODES Titi Tamminen .............................................................. 7 Joanna Kalalahti ....................................................... 61 AVO PROJECT MEMBERS’ DISTANCE SECOND LIFE VIRTUAL WORLD IN COMMUNICATION TOOLS THE SERVICE OF EDUCATION Joanna Kalalahti ....................................................... 15 Riitta Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Huvila, Kim Holmberg ........................................................... 71 SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATION FOR TEACHERS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS EDUCATION EDUCOSS SUCCEEDED IN PROMOTING Ari-Matti Auvinen and EDUCATIONAL USES OF FREE AND OPEN Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen ........................................ 25 SOURCE SOFTWARE (FOSS) Elias Aarnio ................................................................ 85 THE NETFOLKS – WEB-AGE CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPED AND TESTED NEW OPERATIVE MODELS Antti Poikola ............................................................... 33 Suomen eOppimiskeskus ry, Visamäentie 33, 13100 Hämeenlinna, info@eoppimiskeskus.fi English translation by Tiina Lanas • Layout design: Adverbi Oy • Printing: Oy Fram Ab ISBN 978-952-67714-0-3 (paper publication) • ISBN 978-952-67714-1-0 (electronic publication)2    reports 2012
    • PrefaceT he AVO- Open Networks for Learning project gave This report contains eight stories, each shedding a meaningful contribution to the diversity of open light on the project’s practical implementation from a dif- production and distribution. A large number of ferent angle. The stories are the following: coordinationevents and publications was produced collectively. The and project communication (Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Annecommunity-based mode of operation was manifest in the Rongas and Titi Tamminen); project members’ distanceplanning and implementation of events, training courses communication tools (Joanna Kalalahti); social mediaand functions as well as in how people participated inediting materials and how they joined brainstorming ses-sions in social web services and wikis. The project’s peer productions include a variety ofitems: a training concept for social media, the Mobii-likesäkoulu (Mobile Summer School), the AVO webinarseries (about 40 of them), active and activating confer- Openness was a key principle and, therefore,ence sessions (such as those at Information Technol- we favoured freeware and free services.ogy in Education ITK and Digital Competence and Learn-ing DCL) as well as certain social media environments Project workers operated widely dispersedand materials. Peer production sessions were imple- around the country, challenging the traditionalmented internally among project members as well asopen for external participants. The extensive project communication and meeting practices.network formed a good test bed for new services andweb rooms; the far-reaching national-level network madeit possible for more than ten organisations to work inthe project and for dozens of experts to participate insix subprojects in 2008-2012. More than 2500 individu-als participated in the training sessions and events thatwere organised during the project. education for teachers (Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen and Ari- The AVO network used new services and web rooms Matti Auvinen); the mobile summer school event (Outiactively so that the widely dispersed participants were Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, Annika Michelson and Lottaable to establish a sense of presence in the project com- Linko); the Netfolks (Antti Poikola); Second Life (Riittamunity. The range of communication tools employed was Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Huvila, Kim Holmberg); peer pro-deliberately extensive, as one of the project objectives duction project Viisautta wikin tekoon - Wisdom in Wikiwas the testing and piloting of new services offered for production (Joanna Kalalahti) and Educoss (Elias Aarnio).project use. Openness was a key principle and, there- Oili Salminen and I edited this publication together.fore, we favoured freeware and free services. Project The publication of this report was made possible by theworkers operated widely dispersed around the country, active, creative AVO team. Our warmest thanks to you all.challenging the traditional communication and meetingpractices. Managing the extensive project and reporting Hämeenlinna, March 2012within the project and externally required a new opera- Tiina Front-Tammivirtational culture which, in turn, prepared ground for new AVO Coordinatorproject work practices. The Association of Finnish eLearning Centre.   reports 2012 3
    • 4    reports 2012
    • OILI SALMINEN AbstractThe AVO project (Open Networks for Learning, 2008– cial media, content production, virtual worlds and mobile2011) searched for methods to jointly produce learn- learning devices for educational purposes, as well asing materials; it also developed methodologies for open for those that employ free and open source software inproduction and sharing and promoted a communal way school use. There will be two other reports published ofof planning and implementing events, functions and the AVO project:courses. The cooperation among the eleven participat-ing organisations went well, in general. The new culture • AVO – On an open collision course – challengesof working together and borrowing creatively was adopt- in combining the real and the virtualed in varying depths at varying times. • AVO ripples propagate – openness in sight! The key feature of the project was networking. Peerproduction and peer learning together with the creation These reports will deal with the success and effective-and maintenance of networks were central to its mode ness of the project. This report contains eight stories,of operation. The results reached were excellent. each shedding light on the project’s practical implemen- The implementation occupied thousands of individu- tation from a different angle. The stories are the fol-als. The extensive national-level network had more than lowing: coordination and project communication (Tiinaten organisations involved in project work and dozens Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas and Titi Tamminen); pro-of experts participating in the six subprojects in 2008– ject members’ distance communication tools (Joanna2011. More than 2500 individuals participated in the Kalalahti); social media education for teachers (Kaisatraining sessions and events that were organised during Honkonen-Ratinen and Ari-Matti Auvinen); mobile sum-the project. mer school event (Outi Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, Annika The AVO network used new services and web rooms Michelson and Lotta Linko); civic society online (Anttiactively so that the widely dispersed participants were Poikola); Second Life (Riitta Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Hu-able to establish a sense of presence in the project vila, Kim Holmberg); peer production project Viisauttacommunity. The range of communication tools employed wikin tekoon – Wisdom in Wiki production (Joanna Kala-was deliberately extensive, as one of the project objec- lahti) and Educoss (Elias Aarnio).tives was the testing and piloting of new services offered The AVO project was implemented in 2008–2012 un-for project use. A broad range of web services and web der the ESF Operational Programme in mainland Finland,rooms was first introduced into project internal use, and axis 3, Active Citizen of the Open Learning Environment.then a variety of interest groups was trained to use them. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic De- This project report is intended for learners and us- velopment, Transport and the Environment in Laplanders in diverse educational institutions and organisations and coordinated by the Association of Finnish eLearningthat employ open learning, open working cultures, so- Centre.   reports 2012 5
    • 6    reports 2012
    • Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas AND Titi Tamminen Case: Cornerstones ofcoordination and communication in the AVO project In this project report, we will describe the administrative coordination and communication in the AVO project, both under the responsibility of the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre. When we recorded experiences and views concerning the coordination and communication in the AVO project, we encountered the inevitable themes of networking, interaction, assistance and working together, pitching in to help, internationality and the sorrows and joys associated with networking. One of the most important duties of the coordinator was the enabling of the cooperation among the participants, of whom there was a large number, designing smoothly-functioning models for their interaction. The communication activities and practices, the responsibility of which was the coordinator’s, supported the purposes of coordination while they facilitated the work in other areas. This report will also describe what actually went on during the project.The question whether good practices can be transferred the expectations or outright failed. We will share someremains partly unanswered – our answers are not ex- of those experiences as well.haustive. Our report will introduce certain methods for We had a very large number of people involved fromfamiliarising others with good practices and promoting different professional fields in different parts of Finland.the use of such practices in other projects and func- This facilitated our work. We were able to communicatetions. We will also describe what, in our three years of about our project in various networks and were assistedwork (total of 22.5 man years), was such that we would in it by people we knew and people we did not know. Welike to recommend it, on the basis of our experiences, can say that it was us, all of us, who worked in the vari-for others in similar large projects in public administra- ous subprojects that created AVO together.tion, civic society and business. All in all, the AVO project was edifying, inspiring and We will also investigate the interaction models adopt- encouraging for us due to the enthusiasm and great mo-ed in the project together with their outcomes. In addi- tivation of those involved. We heard the same adjectivestion, this story will touch upon other issues that seem from other participants as well. The project feedbacknecessary to clarify the role of coordination within the was mainly positive. There were very few disadvanta-project as a whole. We hope to give you, our reader, an geous evaluations. The overall project, our funding pro-idea of the many faces of AVO and its many projections gramme Aktiivi, gave mainly positive feedback concern-to a variety of directions. We also believe some people ing AVO, and gave encouragement and guidelines whenwill be interested in hearing which areas lagged behind needed.   reports 2012 7
    • It is a compliment to a project if the implementation outcomes that these projects intend to achieve are of its key issues continues. This is taking place, and a meant to foster the structuring of new types of learn- new large programme, Openness Accelerating Learning ing paths for different types of learners. The aim is to Networks, was kicked off at the beginning of 2012. The remove obstacles, restraints and blind alleys of learning, objectives include the establishment and strengthening and active operators are provided with diverse opportu- of a communal and participatory networking culture in nities for demonstrating their skills (see e.g. Hämewiki, the participating educational institutions and organisa- http://ttstyt.wordpress.com/tietoa/). tions as well as among their interest groups. The words “open networks for learning” in the name of the project describe rather well the issues at the core of the project - they formed fixed points that anchored AVO work. Openness and networks were the enablers, supports and boosters of learning in this project. These elements were essential, and any one of them would have been less productive had the others not been there. AVO piloted, trained and supported the introduc- Openness and networks tion of new operating models into educational institu- tions and civic activities. It was particularly important were the enablers, supports for these models to include pedagogically suitable char- and boosters of learning acteristics and features. AVO also supported the critical introduction for use of these models; this means trial- in this project. ling and analysing the models during the introductory phase, enabling changes to the models if the use of any as such in a particular place was not appropriate. The funding of AVO was approximately 860000 € an- nually, making the total funding at the end of the 3-year period in excess of 2.5 million euros. Of this, 15% was acquired by AVO itself; one half of the 15% came through municipal funding and the other half from social me- dia education arranged for municipal organisations. In terms of euros, the project was rather large among pro- jects with funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), OPENNESS, NETWORKS AND LEARNING but when compared to EU Frame Programmes and other – ELEMENTS OF AVO’S STONE BASE EU level programmes, it actually was relatively small. The AVO project was implemented under the ESF Op- Medium and large projects there amount to 8-10 million erational Programme in mainland Finland, axis 3: Active euros per project. Citizen of the Open Learning Environment. As of 2008, In project coordination, finances and payment orders Active Citizen of the Open Learning Environment has fo- required a great deal of work. Well-managed finances, cused on activating people in different sorts of learn- as is well known, allow manoeuvring room for actual pro- ing environments. The ESF development programme ject activities. Project economy worked well even though has funded 14 different projects, one of which was AVO. we occasionally had to herd our innovative participants Three new ventures were kicked off at the very begin- back to their schedules. ning of 2012. We have extensive amounts of coordination-related The projects under the AKTIIVI programme include material. Project reporting and payment orders have nationwide networked projects, ready to share their brought about 20 large folders with mainly payment or- results with all citizens. The goals of these networked der data, and before we can have the project materi- projects comprise supporting cooperation under their als archived, we will most likely have six more similar themes, increasing expertise, sharing information and folders with follow-up data, decision documentation, best practices as well as promoting the flexible use of payment decisions etc. This project that so well made technology. They also want to find ideas for new prod- use of the electronic media did not reach the paperless ucts which could be turned into business models. The stage.8    reports 2012
    • FOLLOW-UP DATA 2008–2011 Participants Goal Actual (31.12.2011) Businesses 10 87 Organisations 200 255 Persons 850 2533 Women 600 1526 Men 250 1007 Days teaching and instructing, man-days Goal Actual (31.12.2011) Face-to-face instruction 900 1616 Distance learning 850 851 Development and consultation 290 300 Other man-days 150 157 Total 2190 2924 The number of participants varied per phase. The needed. There have been needs for changes over thenumber of people involved simultaneously averaged 50- years.60; full-time staff numbered 1-2 most of the time, with If there are no active participants, any project willpart-time staff supporting. The project involved a large wane and its outputs will fade out before the actualnumber of experts. Turn-over was high and job induction goals have been reached. The AVO participants, whetherwas required in great volumes. in supportive or active roles, always did their share and also assisted others. The AVO consortium consisted ofA GOOD PLAN HELPS Aalto University of Art and Design Medialab, UniversityIN IMPLEMENTATION AND COORDINATION of Tampere INFIM, Åbo Akademi University, HAMK Uni-The implementation and reporting of EU-funded pro- versity of Applied Sciences, Otava Folk High School, Edu-jects are clearly specified. When the AVO project plan- cational Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAF, Technol-ning team started drafting the funding plan in 2007, the ogy Centre Innopark, Summer University of Häme, Cityworld was very different from today. For example, appli- of Hämeenlinna, City of Kotka and HCI Productions Oy.cations and services for mobile communications, social The project developed the use of mobile devices,media and virtual worlds were taking their first steps, blogs and wikis in learning and interaction, the use ofand some had not emerged at all at that time. 3D virtual worlds and online conferences in education, It is clear that planning is difficult if not impossi- and it piloted social media tools, open source code so-ble in a rapidly-changing area that is under constant lutions and web communities as teachers’ learning re-renewal, as is online learning. However, the availabil- sources. Peer production quality assessment formed anity of funding is determined by the project plan and important area. It was difficult and required that we putthe conditions given by particular funding providers. It ourselves at risk, observing how our actions impactedwas fortunate - or far-sighted - that the project planning others and the results of others. Cooperation among agroup was able to draft the plans sufficiently precisely large group of participants succeeds when the condi-but also flexibly enough so they could be changed when tions and principles are clear for everyone.   reports 2012 9
    • Requests were made to obtain a virtual coffee table Cooperation among a large for the use of those who wanted interaction in real-time. Trials were started with Flowdock, then they were trans- group of participants succeeds ferred to Organisaatio-Qaiku and finally to Yammer. Ser- when the conditions and vice providers were changed twice, because Flowdock became subject to a charge, and Organisaatio-Quaiku principles are clear for all. was not found to be an easy communication tool. The virtual space created a sense of belonging for users; this was an essential support for a project worker strug- gling alone in an organisation. Quick reactions and an- swers to questions and thoughts posted online gave rise to a strong sense of belonging at times. In general, online meetings took place with Adobe It is noteworthy that resources were joined and in Connect Pro (ACP) web conferencing software, Skype many cases group efforts took place autonomously with- group chat supported by a wiki and collaborative text out any formal project coordination. In our opinion, this editors (Etherpad); wiki meetings were also experiment- demonstrated the positive aspects of online networking. ed with, convening on a wiki meeting page at an agreed The amount of volunteer work was noticeable. People time. The transmission of video with many participants did not count up their hours very precisely. present does not work in the best possible way; the vid- eo function in an ACP connection requires a great deal PROJECT COMMUNICATION of bandwidth, reducing the quality of the connection. The The range of communication tools employed was de- participants felt that the audio functionality supported liberately extensive, and new services that were made by text was sufficient particularly after people had met available during the project were tested and piloted with face-to-face. due diligence. Because of the nature of the project and In August 2011, we included the trial of the Google+ the people involved, piloting and assessing new tools Hang-out service which offers high-quality audio and vid- was a natural part of the project’s communication chan- eo to as many as 10 simultaneous participants. Goog- nel selection. Openness was an essential theme in the le+ Hangout proved to be an excellent tool for our free- project all along, and therefore, we favoured freeware form Monday morning project meetings. and free services whenever possible. Face-to-face meetings were arranged twice a year; From the very beginning, AVO project’s common infor- the one in early September always lasted for two days. mation distribution and discussion channels consisted It was always possible to attend face-to-face meetings of a project wiki for project management, an email dis- remotely even though we hoped that participants would tribution list, Google calendars delivered to the partic- arrive on location physically. Of all the communication ipants for internal and external events, regular online and meetings among project members, 90% took place meetings (once every two months) and regular face-to- on various web channels with online tools. face meetings (twice per year). The Monday Bulletin, dis- tributed via email, was the weekly bulletin which was AVO PEARLS SHOW OUR SATISFACTION openly put together through mutual effort in a shared The AVO project, Open Networks for Learning, focused document in GoogleDocs. Shared documents were in on the creation, development and support of methods active use so we could avoid sending different versions and models of open learning and content production in through email. Internal communications and joint plan- educational institutions and civic activities. How did we ning made use of collective mind maps, training design succeed? wikis and mobile videos on the AVO channel in the Bam- AVO pearls show the project members’ idea of the buser, an interactive live video broadcasting service. project’s best outcomes and practices. Outcomes and Even external communication largely took place practices were worked into “AVO pearls” in a certain online. The compilation blog Avoinvirta (Open Stream) workshop. At the midpoint of our string of pearls, we formed, internally, a key channel for members to monitor placed a diamond which signifies the culture of posi- the work, and externally, it was an important communi- tive copying, i.e. the principle that all outputs and prac- cation channel. Participants’ blogs and other relevant tices obtained with the aid of public funding need to be blogs were available in one web address. shared openly.10    reports 2012
    • Open webinars Training model for jointly produced materials Wikis for social media courses Peer-production, Mobile Peer-learning Summer School Quality Jointly criteria produced Guides for materials social media usersOpen production Traveland distribution Agency of materials SoMe OSS ”Sometu” -network Mobile devices Wikis and blogs Social media in education Web conferencing Virtual worlds (3D) co-creation, co-operation, open work culture   reports 2012 11
    • The nature of our operations was characterised by Project workers operating widely dispersed around the idea that we would openly distribute all outputs and the country challenged the traditional communication practices we obtained with the aid of public funding and meeting practices. AVO bravely tried out web chan- among all interested parties for their information and nels from online conferencing systems to Skype and use. sharing videos. Our motto was that we work as we teach, The communal mode of operation was manifest in other words, we used the same tools and operating throughout the project at all levels. models that we taught to our target groups. Cooperation must be initiated at the first possible instance. When that is the case, cooperation becomes a habit that increases the chances of success. Working and cooperating in AVO actually succeeded better than was hoped for at the beginning. Innovative solutions are well-suited to everyday life Within the project, AVO produced new information in areas in which infor- mation has not previously been available in Finland. we used the same tools and AVO produced information and applied it to practice, open methods that we taught enabling new ways of operation in, for example, learn- ing materials peer production, project work, civic ac- to our target groups. tivities etc. Innovative solutions worthy of the name of best practice were also found in the use of project tools as, with them, we succeeded in the dissemina- tion of information and instructions among our target groups very quickly, making easy the introduction of novelties into use. In education, innovative solutions were evident in the focus: education should not be tools training but instead should contain new operat- ing models directing the work culture to making use of technology in a flexible manner in accordance with the target group. Centralised payments and liaison with public officials The coordinating party must have clear guidelines and smooth processes for ordering payments and collecting CIRCULATION OF GOOD PRACTICES follow-up data. Adherence to agreed reporting and pay- Motto: We work as we teach ment order schedules requires good commitment on the The most important duties of the coordinator were part of the member organisations. agreed to include ascertaining the conditions of cooper- Communication with the funding party in the various ation for the great number of participants and designing phases of the project was an important aspect of the smoothly-functioning models for their interaction. The coordinator’s work; we agreed from the very beginning accomplishment of these duties was aided by the cus- that the contact to the funding official would be central- tom assumed at the very beginning of the project, that ised. To order payments, the coordinator collected the all outputs and practices obtained with the aid of public required bookkeeping materials and reports by the due funding were shared openly among all interested parties date and delivered the package to the relevant authority. in public and also in tailored forms among project mem- This arrangement worked well and there were no over- bers. Common rules for communication and meetings drafts to the budget. This may have been impacted by are necessary. The presence of alternatives and diver- the early intervention policy adhered to even in money sity had to be fostered in a large group to help everyone matters – the coordinator guided and assisted in the find the best methods most suited to them personally. preparation of payment orders.12    reports 2012
    • The groundwork for project coordination was com- this organisation and group oriented mode to adopt apleted at the very beginning. The coordinator met in more flexible mode. The next large project will proceedperson with the parties implementing the various sub- more on the lines of contextual themes and topics.projects, with a preprepared agenda that contained is- A distinct drawback during the project was the factsues related to practical project work and reporting as that funding could not be addressed to persons underwell as to contents issues. On the basis of such meet- 16 or over 64 even though they often had excellentings, the objectives and forms of working were clarified knowledge and skills for the use of social media.for each subproject. Reporting instructions and otherguidelines were available for the participants in a pro- Spreading of good practicesject wiki. Comprehensive guidelines covering the entire As the AVO coordinator, the Association of Finnishproject period (on e.g. reporting, participant data col- eLearning Centre spread information concerning the pro-lection, acceptable costs, the use of the logos, etc.) ject and communicated good practices and forms avail-formed the basis for the smooth operation of the project able for various types of activities. Our success in thisconsortium composed of several organisations. Central- task can be seen in how often AVO members were invit-ised participant data collection in events and functions ed to various events as speakers and trainers or to takewas one of the enablers of AVO’s success. Social media on other expert duties. The demand during the projectin project work was even the subject matter for a sub- grew gratifyingly, and AVO members were often invitedproject. This subproject was conducted under the Centre to social media education events. Communication tookfor Economic Development, Transport and the Environ- place through the magazine SeOppi, the blog Avoin virtament in Satakunta, and the participants were education- (Open Stream) as well as other web communities andal ventures. blogs. International information exchange took place in the form of conferences, seminars and exhibitions. AllCulture of creative copying outputs, materials and guides from the AVO project areThere are challenges in working together in peer produc- publicly available. They can be handily obtained from thetion, but there is also an invigorating pull that catches open wiki at the address http://bit.ly/avomateriaalit.one unawares. We must learn to operate on uncertain All parties involved in the project are still available.grounds if we aim at producing any output together, If you would like to give us feedback, please contact us.learning during the process. The culture of creative copy-ing is created as a side issue. Social media is still often labelled as frivolous. Dur-ing the project, we noticed that the label has begun towear off, and the uses of social media for a multitudeof purposes are better understood. It is likely that theapplication of social media and learning from others –even borrowing from others – in everyday situations andalso the communal services established for handling Funding programme: The ESF Operationalthe less interesting tasks such as financial administra- Programme in mainland Finland, Operationaltion, have promoted the credibility of social media. Line 3: The Active Citizen of the Open Learning EnvironmentNothing is forever– we need to be ready for reassessments Budget: 2.7 million euros during 2008–2012Objectives and operational models were checked in joint Project Consortium: Aalto University of Art andevents and online discussions. Design, University of Tampere, Åbo Akademi Issues difficult for project administration included University, HAMK University of Applied Sciences,e.g. copyright which emerged regarding the ownership Otava Folk High School, Educationalof materials openly available through the web. Copy- Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAF, Technologyright was often been discussed with public authorities Centre Innopark, Summer University of Häme,as statutes and regulations seem to lag behind web life. City of Hämeenlinna, City of Kotka and HCI The implementation of AVO began as a joint effort Productions Oy. Coordinated by the Associationof the organisations, and soon inter-organisation groups of Finnish eLearning Centre.started forming. It will be necessary to move on from   reports 2012 13
    • 14    reports 2012
    • JOANNA KALALAHTI, UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE Case: AVO project members’ distance communication tools This subproject report describes how the viewing of distance – the aspects of remoteness and proximity – and the experience of distance changed with the emergence of distance communication tools as the AVO subprojects and their networks progressed.AT A DISTANCE AND NEAR-BY IN AVO chat). Very likely, it would have been possible to intro-The AVO project comprised six separate subprojects, duce a discussion tool even earlier, but for some reason,each focusing on a certain type of content. Shared, tool selection became a key issue. Finally, the introduc-natural activities were effortlessly built around common tion of Flowdock took place rather spontaneously: a pro-issues, but it required communication to notice these ject member established a web community and invitedcommon issues. The AVO project had certain common the others to join in. The idea was that it was better togoals, and the sponsor required inter-subproject coop- try one potentially suitable tool than to continue the de-eration. A project study completed at the end of 2011 liberation as to which tool would eventually be selected.showed that participants experienced the common Online discussion got a good start and continued livelygoals as unclear and the discussion concerning them as long as the tool was in use. The topics of discus-as lacking. sion ranged from general project themes to informal chit An appropriately functioning discussion channel is chat. As the use of the tool developed, the groups alsoneeded to enable cooperation. Because project mem- developed insider jokes such as the witticism posted bybers were located in different parts of Finland, web tools a member every Friday that acquired the name Fridaywere made use of from the very beginning. The tools Wisecrack. The participation threshold was clearly low,introduced for use at the beginning of the project did not and Flowdock discussions included very many types ofsupport common discussion, nor were they the answer subjects. The channel was excellent for cases in whichto the participants’ wish to strengthen their sense of one member needed answers from other members tocommunity, nor even to their wish to learn to know the particular questions concerning, for example, theirother members better. Because informal discussion can views. We must state, however, that all project membersfacilitate members becoming acquainted, there was the did not take part in these discussions; discussions tookexpectation that the new project discussion tool would place mainly within a core team of 8–10 members.include this feature. When Flowdock became subject to a charge at the Half-way through the project in the fall of 2010, we end of 2010, the project decided to transfer to a free-of-introduced Flowdock1, a Finnish application for creating cost platform. In connection with the transfer, a surveywebrooms for real-time online discussion (e.g. real-time was conducted concerning discussion tool user experi- ences of the past three months. This survey contained1 www.flowdock.com questions for those project members who had not used   reports 2012 15
    • ganisaatio-Qaiku, for example, does not alert users of in- coming messages. In addition, finding the messages in the channels was considered difficult. This platform was clearly better suited for compiling and structuring infor- mation. Because discussion dwindled, we shortened the four-month trial period we had initially planned. In con- nection with the platform change, we again conducted a project survey to gain an understanding of the issues that eventually dried up the discussion in Organisaatio- Qaiku. We also invited views concerning the features required in web discussion tools suitable for establish- ing shared virtual places. We decided to introduce the Yammer3 platform at the beginning of February 2011 to revitalise project discussion on a new platform possibly better suited for the intended use. Some project mem- bers had introduced Yammer by the time we conducted the second survey, so we were able to ask about their first impressions. Expectations concerning Yammer were obviously high after the disappointment with Organisaatio-Qaiku. Comments were encouraging, but in practice, discus- sion in Yammer remained relatively subdued compared to what it had been in Flowdock. The platform indicated the number of users logged in, so we could see that an Flowdock actively or at all, and also general questions average of five individuals were present almost at any on the use of remote communication tools. The survey time. Still, discussion did not fire up even though some was intended to bring us information of how the intro- project members made efforts to cajole others to join duction of the web discussion tool had met the expecta- in. Communication about common matters did not work tions that had emerged in the project study: i.e. a com- on Yammer, because so many members did not use it. mon virtual space, discussion and becoming acquainted In autumn 2011, project members suddenly started to with the others. The general impression was encourag- use Yammer more; there were several messages every ing, and we expected to see discussion continue as live- day, which was different from the previous half-year with ly on the new platform. several days between messages. The selection of the new web discussion platform Our experiences indicate that discussion platforms fell on Organisaatio-Qaiku2, the business version of the differ and studies founded on their feature descriptions micro-blogging service Quaiku. After the change of the do not reveal the whole truth about how they would func- platform at the beginning of December 2010 and the tion for a particular type of discussion. In our experi- initial experiences, discussions seemed to dwindle to ence, certain features are quite critical for the viability almost nothing. A few individuals tried to initiate and of the platform: incoming message alerts, the simple keep up discussion in Organisaatio-Qaiku, but it is rather structure of the platform, ease and fluency of use, pos- cumbersome to conduct discussions alone. We admit- sibility to backtrack messages, and the suitability of ted that the new tool did not support the type of discus- the platform for each individual’s daily set of tools. The sion we wanted to sustain. The problem was, most likely, problem in a distributed network like AVO is that the pro- caused by the features of the platform that were meant ject members are allocated to work in the project in dif- for a type of use somewhat different from the active ferent ways for different percentages of their time; it is online discussion we desired. Organisaatio-Qaiku struc- not necessarily even possible to involve everyone in dis- tures collaboration in channels, the monitoring and use cussion. This naturally means that information cannot of which was seen as confusing and cumbersome. Or- be passed to everyone on the same platform, making it 2 www.qaiku.com/organisations 3 www.yammer.com16    reports 2012
    • necessary to apply other communication tools. Messag- It seems that there are conditions related to toolses allow us to form a rather comprehensive picture of and to other issues that are essential for the sense ofwhat the discussion tool users are working with, which community and a pleasant telepresence. As many asissues are troubling them, and what observations they nine respondents mentioned that if the tools work wellhave made in their fields. This information concerning and enable interaction, telepresence is as good an op-individuals who do not use these tools is not accessi- tion as physical presence. The tool as such was con-ble. Online discussion with other project members and sidered important in how it brought others close whothe simple awareness of their simultaneous presence were actually distant. The following replies illustrate thison the platform give a sense of reality for the project point:when traditional face-to-face meetings are impossible. • Flowdock helped people at distance feel closer wellThe web discussion tool also helps disseminate infor- (5 responses) or very well (2 responses) whereasmation, and it enables quick and easy questions to the Organisaatio-Qaiku helped AVO people at distance toothers while creating a sense of familiarity among pro- feel closer poorly (6 responses) or very poorlyject members. (1 response). Only two respondents considered How did we use our online discussion tool? For in- Organisaatio-Qaiku to have succeeded well in thedividual project members, the introduction of the tool creation of the feeling of telepresence.required little more than the acquisition of the user ID • Mostly, it was seen that Flowdock helped AVO peopleand the acknowledgement from the establisher of the become acquainted very well (1 response) or wellnetwork about the acceptance of the member. The on- (5 responses), but one respondent felt it did soline discussion tool was then available, and its use re- poorly.quired very little time. It was always open and formed a • Flowdock was seen to have helped the emergencequick route to distant colleagues. The tools tested for or increase of trust among AVO people very wellAVO use differed, but generally, this type of tool makes (2 responses) or well (5 responses).its presence known in various ways only when new mes- • Communication via Flowdock was seen to havesage alerts come in (sounds, visual indicators for new worked very well (1 response) or well (6 responses),messages). Among the tools tested, Organisaatio-Qaiku and via Organisaatio-Qaiku, well according to fourhad no incoming message alerts. The online discussion respondents and poorly according to fivetool even contained rather much information about the respondents.project, as members included links in their messagesduring their discussions. Therefore, the tool was alsoused for seeking information. Of the tools tested, onlyYammer had a mobile user interface, which made thework of those project members who prefer mobile de-vices that much more difficult. In addition to the mobileuser interface, Yammer offers a specific desktop appli-cation for users who prefer not to operate through theirbrowsers. Yammer is also easy to integrate into vari-ous applications, which makes it easily suited for dailywork with different equipment. Online discussion toolsreduced the amount of e-mail messages, which was oneof the objectives in AVO.FEEDBACK SURVEYSTwo surveys were conducted concerning the use of on-line discussion tools in AVO: the first one was sent out 4 Dozens of people worked in AVO with different percentages of theirafter the transition from Flowdock to Organisaatio-Qai- time. Both surveys had 12 respondents. Seven of the respondents toku, and the second one after the transition from Organ- the first survey used Flowdock relatively actively (two of them used itisaatio-Qaiku to Yammer4. In addition to aspects related weekly and five of them used it daily). There were six active users of Organisaatio-Qaiku, four of them weekly users and two of them dailyto the tested applications, both surveys aimed at study- users. Of the active users, six kept Flowdock open at all times, twoing the wider background changes in the viewing of dis- kept Organisaatio-Qaiku open at all times, and others monitored thetance – the aspects of remoteness and proximity. communication on these channels more sporadically.   reports 2012 17
    • Chit chat through the online discussion tool was considered important for several reasons: An informal online discussion tool was considered important for the sense of belonging, atmosphere, stress management and work motivation. The online discussion tool was an important channel to reach the others. The online discussion tool enabled informal communication with a low threshold for participation. The online discussion tool benefitted those who use online channels more naturally than other channels. The online discussion tool saved money and made communication more effective. The online discussion tool reduced the project members’ need for travel. The online discussion tool helped disseminate tacit knowledge. The online discussion tool helped externalise thoughts and return to them later. Figure 1. Significance of the online discussion tool for project work in the AVO project. The significance of an informal discussion tool is well illus- • allow including members’ pictures in their profiles trated by a comment from a project member, ”This informal (1 response) tool is essential for me for my work motivation, because no- • not highlight differences in the users’ skill levels body else does this work in my organisation. I need peer dis- too much (1 response). cussion even if it only touched on the weather.” According to our respondents, the tool to be used for online discussion The project members listed tools that they thought cre- and the establishment of a common virtual place should: ated the feeling of presence while there was a physical • make use of the different senses and the respective distance. They included chats, virtual blogs, microblogs, alternative methods of communication (sounds, web communities, web conferencing systems, wikis and speech, written communication such as chat), be- document platforms for collective writing, laptops, tel- cause e.g. written communications do not create any ephones and geographic information services. The an- sense of presence for many people (6 responses) swers varied widely according to the respondents’ tool • be simple, easy and fluent in use (3 responses) preferences and the combinations of such. Personal • be sufficiently real-time; it is important that the preferences and the circumstances and purposes of use application alerts users to new messages in were seen as significant. real time (2 responses) It was said in the responses to the survey that the • enable backtracking messages (2 responses) tool as such was not significant for the arising feeling • be suited for each individual’s daily set of tools of telepresence, and instead there were other factors (1 response) that were decisive, such as people knowing one an-18    reports 2012
    • The following table presents a comparison of the tested platforms and sheds light onto why Organisaatio-Quaiku wasnot felt as suitable for AVO project discussion as Flowdock and Yammer: FEATURES OF THE TESTED APPLICATIONS COMPARED Clarity of structure and The user interface and operation of Organisaatio-Qaiku were considered confusing and they user interface caused problems for e.g. perceiving which texts belonged to which channels; all in all, the underlying channel-based principles were not understood (9 responses). Users could not enter their texts because they did not know which button to click on to do so, and they could not find new messages and, in particular, the comments to them. Instead, the user interface of Flowdock was considered clear (3 responses), and there were no actually negative comments given concerning it. The general look and feel of Yammer was appreciated. For example, the “like” button was considered important for informal discussion. Yammer was considered similar to Facebook, with which many project members were familiar, and therefore it was easy to use. More features typical to community software were requested for Flowdock (one response). The fact that Organisaatio-Quaiku did not have status updates was considered negative (one response). Suitability for According to the responses, Organisaatio-Qaiku was not suited to the intended purpose due to intended use some of its features. It was not considered suitable for quick-paced daily communication and instant messaging (7 responses), and its daily use was encumbered by the lack of visual or audio alarms for new messages. Organisaatio-Quaiku was not seen as suitable for as small a group as was the AVO project team (2 responses). On the other hand, Organisaatio-Quaiku was seen to be strong in that is stored message chains permanently, which made it particularly suited for asynchronous long-term work, collaboration, information structuring, planning and seminar reporting (5 responses). The first impressions of those who experimented with Yammer were largely positive. The tool seemed handy and well-suited for the intended purposes such as coffee table chit chat, internal communication, keeping up-to-date, and status updates. In addition, discussions seemed to flow better than in Organisaatio-Quaiku (3 responses). Even though Flowdock and Yammer were generally seen to suit discussions such as were desired in AVO, one respondent in the first survey doubted that Flowdock had been the right choice, because it was seen to be better suited for closer-knit daily teamwork whereas AVO work was less close-knit. There were no specific justifications given for this view, and the project members’ experiences of Flowdock were otherwise positive (5 responses). Alerts for new Flowdock was seen to work well, and it was not seen to disturb users with excess information, messages because there were various filters available, and alerts could be adjusted by users to the levels of their preference (1 response). The user interface was simple and clear, and it was possible to grasp everything of interest to oneself at one glance (2 responses). Suitability of the On the basis of these surveys, it is difficult to say what improvements could have been made to application for each fit the online discussion tool any better to every individual’s daily set of tools. For some users, individual’s daily a mobile user interface might have been an improvement. The lack of mobile user interface in set of tools Flowdock and in Organisaatio-Qaiku was experienced as cumbersome (1 response for each). On the other hand, Yammer’s mobile user interface was considered good (1 response), and Yammer’s alternative applications were brought up as viable solutions (2 responses), e.g. a desktop application in addition to the browser application. (There is even a customer-specific Linux application, but it was considered useless.) Features considered cumbersome in the use of Organisaatio-Qaiku included the lack of automatic sign-in (3 responses) and the lack of Digsby interface (1 response). Previous experience in The importance of previous experience as a facilitator for introducing new applications was the use of an application brought up (2 responses). Organisaatio-Qaiku was considered to highlight the differences among project members and to make communication unequal (1 response), because some individuals were experienced users of the tool and that was considered to be too manifest in all communications that took place on that platform.   reports 2012 19
    • other (3 responses), people being on the same wave- change may even have highlighted the old familiar feel- length and wanting to interact (4 responses), and fun ing that we can be more distant when we are actually and humour being included in the communication (1 re- present than we are when we are at a distance. Technol- sponse). It was considered important for feedback to be ogy has brought new dimensions to physical distance. quick so that the feeling of presence can be created (3 Text- and speech-based communication are not the only responses). “There must be some reaction, preferably means of staying in contact with those distant from us; during the same work day, to the issues you send out various virtual places in 3D make it possible for us to into the communication tool. Without reaction, your trust include the experience of a physical body in our experi- in the operation of the channel deteriorates. If the reac- ence of covering distance. Even though many different tions occasionally come faster (perhaps in a few sec- technologies have existed for a long time, they have not onds only), there is the sense of presence, the sense been introduced into use in any large numbers. Their that we are both or all here now and we can talk.” Indi- introduction raises many different views. Traditional let- vidual differences in the requirements necessary for the ters and telephones are examples of means to cover establishment of telepresence came up: some people distance, even though few of us think of them as such wanted to meet others in the physical world and have now that they are daily tools used by of all of us. the trust established there (2 responses), some people An important concept for studying various aspects of made acquaintance with others quite naturally irrespec- being at distance and being near is telepresence, also tive of medium (1 response). called virtual presence or co-presence. This concept can Face-to-face meetings were considered appropriate be used for describing the sense of experienced pres- (9 responses) for learning to know the others (5 re- ence which emerges when we are at a distance, either sponses) and for the sake of light conversation (4 re- in time or physically, communicating through some form sponses). The need for face-to-face meetings was not of technology. The intensity of the experience may vary, considered to be great after the first face-to-face contact and traditionally, factors affecting this experience have if online communication was working. As some project been sought among the features of the technology ap- members put it, face-to-face meetings “gave spirit and plied – how good are the users’ possibilities for influenc- body to the web characters” and brought leisure and ing how the software works, or how fast is the response variety to distance work. to users’ actions. On the other hand, we must remem- The goal-oriented mode of operation and shared ef- ber that the experience of telepresence is highly indi- forts were also experienced as significant for the feel- vidual and rather difficult to render into a measurable ing of presence (2 responses). Even less close coopera- form, even though different tests have been developed tion was seen to become more fluent through the use precisely for measuring this experience. We should also of tools that enabled telepresence (1 response). Equal remember that the experience of telepresence is always online interaction skills were considered important (1 connected to the presence of other actors in the same response). virtual room as well as to factors specific to the circum- stances and the persons. (Steuer 1993, 11–18, Mokka DISCUSSION & Välkkynen 2002.) What new operational models could there be that would The feedback from AVO surveys also brought up be related to the change in our experience of remote- issues that, in addition to technology, should be dis- ness and nearness that emerged along with new tech- cussed in connection with the creation of the telepres- nologies? What barriers might there be in our thoughts ence experience. Important factors seem to include the and actions that we would need to conquer to make interaction of the participants involved with the use of technologically mediated presence as natural as physi- the tools and the fact that they know one another – and cal presence? The tools were different through which it is difficult to determine which comes first. In a pro- work and changes in work were studied in the two ex- ject or other venture in which people work remotely a amples in this subproject report; however, the study of great deal of their time, it may be difficult to learn to the use of each tool brings out essential aspects of the know the others. It is natural that some individuals get change in the perception of the distant and the near, and in closer contact with some others, and some of the also of the significance of this change for the work itself. people involved know one another from before. However, Technological developments have made it possi- common action and discussion cannot be forced among ble for us to cover distance more and more easily. The even people who know one another if no truly common meanings of being distant and near have changed; the issues exist. The tool as such cannot rescue interac-20    reports 2012
    • tion and determine upcoming activities, if any. Even with allow himself/herself to be captured by the experiencebasic tools in use, we believe the telepresence experi- caused by the tool. (Steuer 1993, 18.) With experience,ence is the better the more familiar the participants are it is possible to overcome concerns, if any, about toolswith one another. However, a good tool that enables the and transfer attention from tools to issues made possi-telepresence experience may help people learn to know ble by tools and accomplished through tools. The moreone another. Perhaps, as remote work and long distance users focus on the stimuli in the environment and themeetings become more common, people will soon feel deeper they become immersed in it, the stronger theirit natural to work over the web with strangers as well. As experience of presence. (Witmer & Singer 1998, 226–the technology becomes more familiar and routine use 228.)develops in interaction with people we know, we become Discussion concerning whether or not a distanceready to interact with strangers also. communication system can stand in for physical pres- One key aspect in the change of operative models, ence is somewhat problematic, as it sustains the divi-we believe, is the distinction between reality and virtual sion mentioned above. A slightly provocative questionreality. For example, Facebook discussions and commu- on this issue was included in the AVO survey on distancenication are easily stamped trivial anddistinct from real life. However, thesediscussions often deal with eventsthat take place outside the web; theyresemble coffee table conversationsconducted among people at a physicaldistance. Such discussions naturallyhave their limitations that keep themfrom being identical to similar discus-sions at physical coffee tables. Butwe do not wish to deny the genuine What happens in the web is notquality of online coffee table discus-sions: through these discussions, it is distinct from events in real life butquite possible to reach a solution to forms a clear continuum with them.a problem that bothers a participantwho initially brings up the topic, starts What happens in the real world canpondering on it, and receives com- have a continuation in the web..ments and tips from others. The AVOexperience confirms concretely thatit is quick and easy to reach simulta-neously all users through a distancecommunication tool in cases when, for example, there isa question that requires an immediate answer and it isnot quite clear who would be able to provide the answer.What happens in the web is not distinct from events inreal life but forms a clear continuum with them. Whathappens in the real world can have a continuation inthe web. Rational work practices that have emerged withnew tools probably have smoothed out the partly artifi- communication tools. Online meetings are often used tocial distinction between the real and the virtual. Stauer replace face-to-face meetings, but in consortiums likerefers to Laurel’s research results, bringing up the build- AVO in which meetings mainly take place online, the situ-ing of the relation between a user and a technology. The ation is reversed, i.e. online meetings are occasionally,essential elements include the engagement of the user at least, replaced by face-to-face meetings.with the tool, which engagement consists of mainly emo- It is clear, of course, that face-to-face and onlinetional but also of cognitive components. The establish- meetings have their differences today, and neither canment of engagement requires a momentary exclusion of completely stand in for the other, if we wish to contrastall cognitive aspects, or in other words, the user must them so. In the AVO project survey concerning the dis-   reports 2012 21
    • tance discussion tool, similarly, it came up that face- unpleasant for many people. The fact that information is to-face meetings cannot be completely replaced using stored may involve concerns similar to those observed online tools, but face-to-face meetings are needed clear- in the peer production case study which is also included ly less often than online meetings. More appropriately in this project report. It is still not felt natural to present than speaking of these meeting types’ mutual replace- unfinished or spontaneous thoughts for others, and it ability, perhaps we could speak of the different mean- is, naturally, only good to understand that what is once ings that meetings acquire online and face-to-face. Both posted on the web will always remain in the web. We all types have their own places and they should be con- must find the limit where we feel comfortable. sidered to be in a continuum in relation to one another The development of telepresence systems from sets instead of any juxtaposition. Face-to-face meetings can of equipment in specialised rooms to browser-based facilitate online work, and well-timed, they can promote systems on everyone’s own computers has been one online discussions, keeping them active (Sivunen 2007, step towards personal uses that require few practical 125). In that way, interaction face-to-face and online can arrangements to set up. This is certainly one of the fac- be formed into more fluent wholes instead of keeping tors impacting on how much these systems are used them explicitly separate. and how popular they are; when their use is spontane- The study by Anu Sivunen on technology-mediated ous and takes place on one’s own computer, their use social interaction of dispersed teams observed that in is also quick and easy as long as users have the re- people’s experience, in view of relation-building and re- quired application-specific skills and understand the lation maintenance, technology-mediated interaction is way of working. In addition, the convergence of various secondary to and weaker than face-to-face interaction telepresence applications and services makes them more and more easily available for various mobile de- vices, interlinking synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication and integrating video, audio and still pictures. (Odgen & Jackson (2010, 333, 336). For exam- Cost savings with the use ple, the AVO surveys concerning the distance communi- of distance participation cation tools showed many different preferences for ap- plications and systems. As it would seem important to technologies have been have the whole network using the same tool – to ensure communications, if nothing else – it would be important seen as important in many to ensure that the unsuitability of the tool for members’ organisations. personal practices would not form an essential barrier. The fact that an application is text-based may form a barrier for those who do not use text as their primary communication medium and those who prefer mobile applications may consider it a barrier that an application is not available for mobile devices. However, the range of devices is growing as we speak, and even a smartphone today makes it possible for anyone to attend an online meeting. Standards harmonisation is an important is- even though technology-mediated interaction, in prac- sue on our way towards widely accepted telepresence tice, is made use of for these particular purposes. Face- technologies. How well the experience of telepresence to-face interaction is justified in many ways even though, is created through the various technologies has its ef- in practice, many issues could be handled technology- fects on the user experience and the comfort of it. One mediated as easily as face-to-face. (Sivunen 2007, potential barrier to the experience of telepresence today 225–226.) is, we believe, the technology itself, even though it also Odgen and Jackson (2010, 336) have brought up is an enabler, and enables much more than before. that our culture itself is one of the key prohibitive fac- Cost savings with the use of distance participation tors regarding the acceptance of telepresence systems. technologies are seen as important in many organisa- Many telepresence systems include video connections tions. With this in mind, many employers are ready to to store the interaction. Speaking to the camera and train their staff in the use of these applications. How- using applications with storage media are still outright ever, user training is not necessarily enough if the mode22    reports 2012
    • of operation is essentially unfamiliar and strange and When studying technology-mediated interaction innot a part of daily life. dispersed teams, Sivunen observed that different com- The AVO project was a pilot that was intended, among munication tools seem to support different types of in-other issues, to monitor the functioning of a network in teraction. Still, the use of communication tools is notwhich the participants mostly were widely dispersed. On- always rational, nor is it founded on which functions ofline tools available from the web were made wide use of, interaction such technologies ought to serve. (Sivunenand because the project was designed to promote the 2007, 221.)use of different tools among its target groups, the wide It was found out that, for the purpose of experienc-range of tools in use was characteristic to the project. ing telepresence or a virtual connection, several issuesDifferent tools had different functions and they were were particularly important: to be able to make use ofused in different circumstances. On the other hand, as different communication channels, the ability of the toolwe experimented with our tools, we noted – as is evident to transmit real-time messages and alert users regard-from the examples in this subproject report – that great ing new messages, the option of backtracking the mes-differences exist between tools, either hindering or help- sage chain, and the suitability of the tool for each indi-ing communication. vidual’s daily set of tools.SOURCESMokka, S. & Välkkynen, P 2002. . Steuer, J. 1993. Defining Virtual Reality: DimensionsPresence. Läsnäolon tunne virtuaaliympäristöissä. determining Telepresence. Journal of communication(Sense of presence in virtual environments.) 42(4), 73–93.Research report 47/2002. VTT ICT. Witmer, B.G. & Singer, M.J. 1998. Measuring PresenceOdgen, M.R. & Jackson, S. 2010. Telepresence. in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire.In August E. Grant & Jennifer H. Meadows (Eds.) Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 7(3),Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals 225–240.(Twelfth Edition), 322–341.Sivunen, A. 2007. Vuorovaikutus, viestintäteknologia jaidentifioituminen hajautetuissa tiimeissä.(Social interaction, communication technology andidentification in virtual teams.) Jyväskylä studies inhumanities 79. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.   reports 2012 23
    • 24    reports 2012
    • Ari-Matti Auvinen and Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen, HCI Productions Oy Case: Social media education for teachers and the development of this education This subproject report will focus on the qualitative development of teachers’ social media education. The trainers’ stories of their own experiences form our most essential sources. These experiences were charted and enlarged upon in an expert panel session arranged for the trainers.BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTIONIn 2010 and 2011, the Open Networks for Learning (AVO)project implemented a three-tier training programme insocial media for educators in secondary education andtertiary vocational education. The programme consistedof a model which familiarised students with social me-dia as a concept and a phenomenon as if quickly dipping thematic depththem into it, then expanding their skills with a teacher-controlled dive, finally prompting them to dive into the Depthsdepths to implement their own social media projects,supported by their trainers (see Figure 1). The need for social media education is evident in Diveeducational institutions. According to a study by Statis-tics Finland, Finnish school children and students are Dipactive users of social media, but the use of social mediadeclines clearly in older age groups (see table 1). At the moment, it seems that teachers do not quite number of participantsrecognise, much less make use of, the educational pos-sibilities available through social media. This could bepartly caused by the fact that, maybe due to their lack oftime, they have not been able to familiarise themselves Figure 1   reports 2012 25
    • TABLE 1 Has used the Uses the Has registered as a Follows a web-based Has posted messages Age internet during the internet several user in a web-based service no less in the web (groups, Has read blogs group past 3 months times a day community service often than daily communities) 16–24 99 % 73 % 89 % 75 % 83 % 49 % 25–34 100 % 80 % 79 % 62 % 78 % 54 % 35–44 99 % 76 % 60 % 38 % 58 % 45 % 45–54 95 % 60 % 32 % 18 % 29 % 30 % 55–64 81 % 41 % 16 % 9% 15 % 20 % 65–74 53 % 23 % 9% 2% 6% 11 % Source: Statistics Finland: Use of information and communications technology [online publication]. ISSN=1799-3504. 2010. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [accessed 28 Oct 2011]. with this versatile and changing field. The objectives of selected teachers were intended to be attending the ex- this training programme, implemented in AVO, included tended modules Dive and Depths. integrating social media to the daily life in education and All participants were offered the opportunity to use a training in a practical way. structured materials wiki in which trainers collected ma- Experiences were charted and enlarged upon in an terials on social media, samples, and instructions. The expert trainers’ panel session, in which theme-based wiki remained in the use of the learners after the train- discussions were held. In addition to information from ing. The idea was also to disseminate best practices these discussions, our source material for this report concerning educational uses of social media. consists of the training programme’s administrative doc- Dip was a one-day introductory course which familiar- uments (including offers) and the course materials used ised the students with the extent and richness of social during training sessions (in particular, the materials wiki media. In addition to educational staff, this course was and the trainers’ internal electronic communications). intended for support functions such as administration, This subproject report will strictly limit itself to evaluat- project management, IT support, communications etc. ing the parts of AVO implemented by the University of The course was based on lectures by experts concern- Tampere. We will not discuss general participant feed- ing the world of social media, the various tools (e.g. back or any other feedback possibly collected. Wikipedia, Facebook, Linked-In, blogs, GoogleDocs etc.) and their use, as well as the netiquette and information THE PEDAGOGICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL security of social media. FRAMEWORK OF THE TRAINING PROGRAMME Dive was implemented in four half-day workshops. The training model consisted of three independent but These workshops focused on one or two themes, e.g. interlinked modules: Dip, Dive and Depths in the world the educational use of blogs and wikis, or the work-re- of social media. The idea was to have all teachers in- lated uses of shared documents. The students acquired volved in the programme to attend Dip, whereas only user ID’s for several key tools and learned about them26    reports 2012
    • hands-on. The discourse among trainers and students very challenging it is to tailor a training programme toduring the periods between workshops took place on meet the customers’ requirements. Even though theLinked-In discussion forums. The participants were each various customers acquired training courses compiledexpected to start a project in order to improve their own of the same elements, their actual needs were quite dif-teaching, with trainers and other students supporting. ferent. The Dip, Dive, Depths model was supposed to Depths consisted of five half-day workshops. The explain the different focuses of these modules to thecontents were designed in response to the hopes and customers and to describe the skill levels expected ofneeds the students had expressed in advance. The the participants, but we learned that the individual goalstheme selection included the use of streamed video, the of the participants who attended the sessions were of-basics of planning teaching, quality assurance in social ten quite different from the goals of the organisationmedia etc. The mode of operation in Depths was hand- that footed the bill.on; the focus was on supporting the students in the use Customer-specific issues were challenging for the tai-of social media in their own development projects. loring of these training sessions: a customer might omit, Dip was implemented in auditoriums with 60-100 for example, some forms of support for the participantsparticipants at one time. In Dive and Depths, the ses- (such as remote support for Adobe Connect Pro, a websions were organised in IT classes in which all par- conferencing platform) or the specified requirement ofticipants had access through their computers to the personal project work. Therefore, some participants coulddifferent tools touched upon. Dive and Depths had ap- not work on their own projects except during the face-to-proximately 15 participants per session. face sessions held for their courses, nor could they be supported by the trainers except for the duration of theBEST PRACTICES AND face-to-face sessions. Many educational institutions wereIDEAS FROM THE TRAINERS’ VIEWPOINT found to lack their own pedagogical support network. Sometimes it was a customer’s undefined need forOrganisation of training “some” social media education that made it difficult toAs early as the planning phase, the idea of a roadshow focus and target the course appropriately. Our trainerswas included in AVO with the purpose of spreading the would like to express their hope that in the future whenexpertise and knowledge gained during the project. As selling and negotiating courses, coordinators would paythe project progressed, these roadshows were formed attention to matching theinto social media training courses that were offered to course contents to the cus-educational institutions. The marketing, sales, coordina- tomers’ needs.tion, feedback collection and invoicing of these courses It happened more than Depths supportedwere managed by the Association of Finnish eLearning once that trainers were asked students in the use ofCentre, the project coordinator, and the trainers came to concentrate on the devel-from the various AVO subprojects. opment of pedagogical ex- social media in their own In October 2011, the roadshow implementation pertise, but the participants development projects.team reflected on good training practices and observa- present actually wanted ef-tions that were made during the year. We compiled some fective hands-on instructionof the trainers’ thoughts so they can be further refined. in how to use typical social The cooperation with educational institutions during media tools. It would havethe project made it clear to us that the roadshow events been extremely important toshould be changed from the brief info sessions they allow trainers to gain an un-were to more extensive social media training courses derstanding of the expected results when the trainingfor teachers. The planning of the training model and the course was still being planned so that they could havemarketing of training events started at approximately made it clear to the participants what sort of trainingthe same time, and we quickly learned about the actual was going to take place.demand. Some schools had ventures ongoing that could During the implementation of the courses, one of theeasily accommodate our training whereas some other challenges was presented by the large variation in theschools experienced a strong need for social media edu- skill levels of participants. Social media skills have nocation in their own operating environment. clear framework or skill levels defined on the basis of In connection with the marketing, sales and even which participants could assess their skills and detectsome of the implementation activities we noticed how any blind spots in their learning. There even was the   reports 2012 27
    • TABLE 2 Positive issues Issues that could be developed further • The form of the AVO roadshow was open at first • It is challenging to tailor courses to customer needs; but, as the project progressed, it developed and customers should be instructed in how their training took a form that improves social media skills. packages should be compiled when they are buying them. • The internal developments in AVO made it • Customers do not know what they want - they are not possible to use these courses for the able to identify their own needs. dissemination of practices. • Define prices better: if you want more support, you • The courses finally formed an important part of pay more. the project’s funding (funds generated by • Educational institutions do not have their own operations). pedagogical support systems. • Not enough time (if any) is allocated for learning outside the face-to-face sessions. • The results expected of the training must be specified more clearly. Summary of trainers’ panel discussion and their observations regarding the organisation and development of the training programme. case of a course where the range of attendees included A certain course had as many as eight trainers, people who had not learned any basics previously and which means that almost every workshop had a specific experienced web experts familiar with new tools and trainer. Course implementation required effective coor- their use due to their daily work. For many people, it dination, cooperation, information sharing and advance was a challenge to identify their own skill level correctly. preparation for the set to be a comprehensive whole from the participants’ viewpoint instead of a series of Trainers’ experiences independent lectures. The materials wiki helped in this of course implementation work as well. Still, some trainers felt that the work in the The training courses formed different applications of the preparatory phase should have been even more careful Dip Dive Depths model. In some schools, Dip formed and in particular, that the sharing of information after the VESO day (training required under the collective la- the workshops should have received even more atten- bour market agreement) and in some others, it made up tion in order for the participants’ wishes to be better re- the orientation for long-term training. Some courses that sponded to. After all, a plan does not explain what actu- were implemented did not involve a project of the par- ally is done. The teaching styles adopted by the various ticipants’ own at all, but instead, they wanted to focus trainers differed, and participants may have been left on various social media tools - some wanted to focus on with confusing pictures of the course implementation. such a large range that the participants finally had trou- The field of social media is a constantly developing ble in structuring any comprehensive view. aspect of online learning. The constant change associ- Trainers used a shared wiki to produce their mate- ated with it requires that teachers and students alike rials and to distribute them for participants. Materials understand and accept incompleteness. Functions as- wikis were the brightest jewels of the courses in the view sociated with tools change, legislation develops and of trainers and trainees alike. The wikis allowed others views of pedagogical models develop all the time. This to see which elements the trainer planned to use in the was particularly evident in the looks and feels of various upcoming training and they also allowed the distribution tools which changed during the courses, allowing train- of supportive and additional materials after the training ers only to remark, “Oh well, there has been an update, day. The trainers’ community spirit was raised by their let’s continue”. active approach to work and their extensive expertise The trainers’ work was made more cumbersome by in many different areas which were manifested in how some tool-related issues. The customer ordered tools the contents of the wiki and the training blog were ac- training, but when the course began, all equipment was cumulated. still in unopened sales packages, software was not28    reports 2012
    • installed, and some software was actually disabled. At perceive how their input fit into the whole. In the future,times, the trainers used their own personal tools to be we need to allow more time to clarify the model for allable to present even the basic functionalities. In the fu- trainers who participate in these courses. In practice,ture, it would be important to compile a technical check the understanding of the model was made more difficultlist to make sure that the customer’s selection of course by certain school-specific requirements that were addedelements can actually be implemented. Similarly, the in- to the model. In some cases, these requirements weretegration of applications into customers’ online learning contradictory to the basic principle of diving deeper intoenvironments was still ongoing, and there was no pre- the world of social media.cise understanding of the social media mix in the client Experiences of success were created for the trainersorganisations. in cases in which students clearly internalised a piece The trainers thought the three-tier approach of Dip, of knowledge and worked with it. The first thing in theDive and Depths formed a good basis for planning and morning, a teacher explained that “social media con-implementation. Those trainers who were not involved tains nothing applicable to my teaching”, but by early af-when the model was being designed or who only ap- ternoon, social media had formed the solution for manypeared briefly to lecture online during certain workshops of this learner’s problems. ”Oh yes, I can do it with this!did not manage to quite grasp the model or they did not This is not so difficult at all.” TABLE 3 Positive issues Issues that could be developed further • Trainers were inspired by the active approach of • More careful selection of social media tools other trainers to their work. (schools’ own tools are important). • A network of several high-quality experts. • Providing training in an unfamiliar field in a new • Open channels (such as the wiki and distance environment gives quite a challenge. collaboration tools) allowed even distance teachers • Initial skills level differences among participants. to do development work. • Guilty feelings for not being able to perform better. • The shared materials wiki was an important • Common planning sessions among trainers resource for the entire training team. were few. • The shared materials wiki was easy to produce. • The three-tier model of the courses was not clear for • Work was facilitated through familiar trainer-pairs. participants. • The shared trainer blog was an important channel • All participants were not at the expected level (e.g. for communication and sharing. distance teachers), and specific requirement levels • The importance of advance preparation was from educational institutions confused the situation highlighted throughout the courses. even more. • Learning by doing works in small teams. • Students’ mistakes in the identification of their skill • The end result was greatly affected by the person’s levels put them in training at levels inappropriate good understanding of the operating environment. for them. • The understanding of the incomplete state of • The training styles among the trainers varied. social media was facilitated by good mutual communication. • It was inspiring to be included in new environments. • Enthusiastic learners gave much joy to the trainers – those in particular who only now became enthusiastic, i.e. turncoats. • Trainers relied on status updates from their peers rather than the three-tier model. • Dip, Dive, Depths is a functionable model as such even though some polishing adjustments are still required.Summary of trainers’ panel discussion and their observations regarding the development of the course contents and functionali-ties.   reports 2012 29
    • IDEAS AND TARGETS FOR DEVELOPMENT The targets observed for further development can be summarised as in Figure 2. One dimension in Figure 2 relates to the organisation and implementation of train- ing; the other dimension relates to internal issues for which the training organisers are responsible and ex- ternal issues for which the customer organisations are responsible. Implementation of training • further development of the • advance charting of participants’ learner support model skill levels • debriefing sessions for trainers • better grouping of participants • harmonisation and • clarification of participants’ development of training styles developmental objectives • internal development of the • appropriate advance preparation multiple trainers model of all work of one’s own • development of mentoring and • more effective use of the expert project working skills resources offered Internal External • development of the contract • clarification of services before negotiation process actual order • facilitation of the order • clearly allocated working hours process for participants to attend training • nomination of a headmaster • developing personal learning for every course objectives • improving advance planning • making clear distinctions between • developing internal different social media tools communication • strengthening the pedagogical support in educational institutions themselves Organising of training30    reports 2012
    • The materials wiki, perceived as the brightest jewel pedagogical level, enabling the development of thesein this training programme, formed a sturdy support for teachers as teachers. This may irritate some partici-many participants, and many of them intended to use pants, but change must be made possible before it canit later. A problem was caused by the rapid changes in take place. The party ordering training courses shouldthe field of social media – all materials become out- understand that the order is not placed for training daysdated quite quickly. During the actual courses, several but for improvements in operation. Changes requirewikis were used that contained miscellaneous course time and the opportunity to try out new ideas, and that ismaterials. For the future, it would be advisable to col- not possible if time is allocated for face-to-face sessionlect all materials wikis together and construct one loca- participation only. Contract negotiations should empha-tion for their maintenance. The distribution and main- sise changes through small steps that require supporttainability of up-to-date-materials must be considered and time, and also commitment from the customer sowith particular care. that the objectives can be reached. The web literacy of participants should be paid atten- When planning learning tasks, the trainers shouldtion to when considering the use of the materials wiki. take some time together to consider the use of openWhen being first introduced to the use of social media, and protected publications. For example, being requiredit may be a challenge to understand the functioning and to describe a personal learning process on an open webstructure of wikis. As experience grows, so grows web service platform is not appropriate from the viewpoint ofliteracy, and the use of the selected support forms be- the legal protection of the learner.comes easier. At the beginning of training courses, itwould be advisable to emphasise how the materials wikishould be used and what its role is in the training. We also need to provide support, which compels usto develop versatile mentoring and support services,all of them easy for the customer to purchase and soclearly beneficial that they actually get bought. In thesessions arranged so far, the lack of support and therelated problems were evident. In view of our generaldevelopment work, we must decide whether we intendto use the model applied to supplementary trainingcourses (one official primus motor for the entire train-ing course, with other speakers as guests), or whetherwe want to develop a new model. This should be givensome thought before the next extensive training pro-grammes start. A high-quality support model requiresa great deal of resources. If this is our decision, theresourcing required for the support model needs to beconsidered in the work division and in the allocation ofworking hours. For the sake of trainers’ communication and the de-velopment of training-related issues, resourcing shouldalso include trainers’ debriefing sessions. These ses-sions would provide the opportunity to discuss whatwas done and where each trainer left off. This would beaimed at preventing any overlapping but also at improv-ing what was left unfinished so as to make the best useof the participants’ time. Participants in training courses often want toolstraining only, but our project trainers do not think toolstraining alone forms any pedagogical foundation fortheir use. Training targeted at teachers should considerthe development of their professional identities at the   reports 2012 31
    • 32    reports 2012
    • Antti Poikola Case: The Netfolks – Web-age civil society developed and tested new operative models Otava Folk High School, operating under the AVO project, convened the network of the Netfolks– Web-age civil society. The network developed and tested new means of civic participation andinvolvement. The themes included open democracy, collaborative consumption, web facilitation, modern associations, community-driven participatory planning and data journalism. Organising events and get-togethers were essential in the operation of the network. The case of KaupunginKangas was a significant new initiative in the City of Jyväskylä: participatory planning was under-taken in a variety of ways for the reconstruction of the local paper mill site, purchased by the city.The Netfolks – Web-age civil society network aimed at to participate in and influence the development of thestrengthening active citizenship and democracy through, civil society. Some of these individuals take action infor example, shared activities and innovation. The net- their free time and others are employed full time in thiswork was founded under the AVO project, subproject field. In addition, many individuals in administrative po-Opetus 2.0, which operated in the fields of networking sitions are involved, changing our administrative struc-and social media to study and develop the use of social tures from the inside to enable participation; many en-media for the of benefit civic activity. trepreneurs are also involved, resolving societal issues through their businesses.DAILY ENVIRONMENT AS THE ENABLER OF Even small changes in the operation of our administra-NEW MODES OF OPERATION tion and institutions combined with the possibilities ena-There was a demand for the Netfolks – Web-age civil bled by the web will create room for new ways of working.society network. The web environment has experienced The public sector is experimenting with entering socialfine-tuned changes that promote civic activity, and we media enjoyed by its citizens and preparing to open siz-can expect the future to bring more such changes. Dur- able administrative data reserves for public use. The web-ing the past couple of years, many pioneering activities age civil society can take this opportunity to become reori-have emerged in Finland that can be grouped under ented, setting up networks and activities that facilitate theour umbrella term web-age civil society. There are ac- dissemination of models of effective participation.tive citizens involved, organising themselves formally or The proclaimed common goal of the civic society, in-informally, and sometimes even working alone, wanting fluential politicians and the administration is to make   reports 2012 33
    • the decision-making and decision-preparation process- ACTIVITIES AND THEMES es more open, which will enable new opportunities for The Netfolks – Web-age civil society network took many participation for citizens and new opportunities for the different sorts of action during the AVO project. In con- administration for offering such. Public authorities, trust- nection with the project, the network organised events ed persons and citizens are prompted in different ways and functions, created publications, and tested in prac- to cooperate closely. tice how community-driven participatory planning suc- The modes of civic activity are changing. Long-term ceeded in visualising the future structure of the Kangas commitments with organisations are changing into section in the City of Jyväskylä. The communication of shorter activities that are more project-like and more in- the network took place mainly through the web through formal in character. Examples of this type of activities in- e.g. the blog mahdollista.fi and a Facebook group. Re- clude e.g. the Restaurant Day and the Kallio movement. mote attendance was possible through video in all net- During the Restaurant Day, hundreds of people in cities work events. spontaneously set up pop-up restaurants in their homes The network shared experiences and was active in and public places. The Kallio movement was born in the development work under several themes. The themes Kallio section of Helsinki out the desire to oppose the included open democracy, collaborative consumption, expulsion of Mr. Hursti (a local charity activist) and his web facilitation, modern associations, community-driven breadline from that part of the city. Later on, this popu- participatory planning and data journalism. Netfolks in- lar movement, self-organising in social media, has ar- terested in a particular theme participated in its devel- ranged block parties and various events. In the latest opment, but at the same time, our goals included the presidential campaign, we saw extensive self-organising cross-pollination of ideas. campaign activities in which the official campaigns of The network was established in the fall of 2010 at a the candidates had no role in either their coordination Netfolks – Web-age civil society camp held in Tampere. or promotion. After that point in time, the network has organised an event every month or two, presenting a current theme that has awakened interest in the web. This has provid- ed the network with the opportunity to introduce these themes to the general public. The Netfolks – Web-age During 2010–2011, the network arranged ten events, many of them outside the capital city metropolitan area. civil society network One of the most popular events, a camp, was the one called (name translated) Open democracy – open data. operated in many different It was arranged in Tampere in the spring of 2011 to ways during the project. experiment with cross-boundary cooperation among par- ticipants in the civic society and individuals in the pub- lic administration. The organisers were the Vaalilupaus- arkisto ry (Campaign promises archives association) and the project Osallistumisympäristö (Participatory en- vironment) under the Ministry of Justice of Finland. Civic activities increasingly take place in different types of communities and networks without any official CASE: THE KANGAS AREA organisation or articles of association. In addition, tra- – BRAINSTORMING IN JYVÄSKYLÄ ditional organisations are assuming new modes of op- The Netfolks – Web-age civil society network was active eration and making use of the opportunities they see in introducing community-driven participatory planning emerging as information and communications technol- methods; for example, we had a presentation on wiki ogy develops. Technology offers new opportunities for planning for representatives of the City of Jyväskylä early making one’s voice heard through civic action and also in the spring of 2011. The result of this was that the for the management of common matters. Making use opportunity presented itself for us to experiment more of such opportunities and functional implementations widely with operative models arising from the network, start with unprejudiced experimenters. Because we do as the City of Jyväskylä and HUB Jyväskylä arranged a not have very many good solutions ready at hand, we large citizens participation project in the spring. The sub- learn by experimenting and doing. ject was the Kangas paper mill area.34    reports 2012
    • The City of Jyväskylä obtained the Kangas area, previ- network cooperated with the newspaper Helsingin Sa-ously owned by the local paper mill, in the fall of 2010. nomat.Some of the paper mill facilities will be kept and some willbe torn down, and the Jyväskylä City centre will be built to SUMMARY AND DISCUSSIONinclude this area in the next few years. Before the prep- With the AVO project, the Netfolks – Web-age civil societyaration of the Kangas architecture contest programme network managed to activate new types of cooperationaround February-March in 2011, the city and HUB Jyväsky- among the various participants. The question is that oflä invited individual citizens, communities and groups to causing new operating modes to strike root – even input together their views concerning what “a good city” public administration.would mean in relation to the future of the Kangas area. The general interest in Netfolk events and functions The objective was to collect expert and experiential increased throughout the project. We owe our gratitudeinformation from the inhabitants and communities so for this to the extensive web of social media that wasthat the architecture contest participants could give woven around our activities.their ideas a physical form, combining it with other ob- Our key challenge has been the building and crystal-jectives and conditions set for their work. lising of the identity of this network. As we are working The table was empty when the collection of ideas with something new, we do not always quite see whatstarted. The acquired material shows a copious set of connects the various parties, and the field looks like aobjectives and dreams held by the local people regard- fuzzy list of words. Active citizenship, citizen empower-ing the concept of “a good city”. These dreams are not ment, the democracy of making, experimenting cultures,limited to zoning but contain much that zoning cannot open data reserves, local democracy, theme democracy,impact upon, not directly in any case. e-democracy, cross-boundary cooperation, peer produc- The development of a whole new part for the city will tion, and strength in common action – these will formbe a comprehensive task in which zoning is only one the field that will change the nature of civic activity inof the many factors influencing the final outcome. The the 2010’s.ideas and views that were collected can now be used The Netfolks – Web-age civil society network was pro-by the city offices, businesses, various organisations filed as a pioneering network, and large groups of peo-and even private people in the over-all development of ple were reached through the Kangas area collaborativethis area. Jyväskylä planning before architects come in: project. It can be seen, however, that ventures aiming tohttp://www3.jkl.fi/blogit/kangas/ promote democracy are easily forced to the background when they have to compete for people’s leisure time. AsTRAINING a result, the people involved do not number very many;The theme of data journalism was first discussed in a we can say it is rather the activists who do this. There-one-day event at the University of Tampere in August fore, one of Netfolk’s goals is to awaken the interest of2011. In addition, the Netfolks – Web-age civil society wider circles in society.The work of Netfolks will continueunder Openness AcceleratingLearning Networks (AVO2)until the end of 2013.http://www.slideshare.net/apoikola/nettikansa-pitch/   reports 2012 35
    • 36    reports 2012
    • OUTI VAHTILA, JOHANNA SALMIA, ANNIKA MICHELSON AND LOTTA LINKO, HAMK UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES Case: “We were so OUT, out of the classroom – and we learned!” During the AVO subproject Mobile devices in learning and interaction in 2008–2011, the educators in the HAMK University of Applied Sciences studied the use of mobile appliances. The Mobile Summer summer courses familiarised a large number of teachers with the benefits of these devices. The experiences from our subproject show that mobility together with services available through social media enables learner-oriented learning processes, web presence, real-time supervision and the documentation and assessment of learning.Applying the viewpoints of both the organisers and the second time would be easy and effortless. The schoolparticipants, this report will describe the Mobile Sum- year 2010–2011 brought great advances in appliancesmer model and how it was designed and implemented. and services and therefore also development ideas forAt the end of the report, we will briefly discuss the mean- the model. Mobile Summer 2011 featured almost totaling and the future of mobility. mobility and true freedom of choice for the participants. Our next challenge will be the further development of ourThe Mobile Summer – an annual event now method for the reflection of one’s own learning.The Mobile Summer event (www.mobiilikesakoulu. Approximately 80 individuals, mostly instructors incom) was arranged on the Mustiala campus in 2010 universities of applied sciences, participated in Mobileand 2011. Teachers were offered the opportunity to ex- Summer each year. Mobile Summer helped the mobileperiment with various methods of mobile teaching and expert group, already established under the AVO project,learning in practice. to expand into a whole network, the members of which Originally, we intended to arrange one summer school considered their most important tasks to include arrang--type event during the subproject. But the feedback we ing annual get-togethers and setting up new ventures.received from Mobile Summer 2010 encouraged us to It seems that the summer school is going to become aarrange the next event the next year. The second Mobile yearly mobile learning event. The target groups of MobileSummer was important for the outcome of the project Summer consisted of teachers and persons in develop-as it gave us additional data and further experiences for ment-related jobs. The programme was designed with athe completion of our mobile learning concept. It was view on learning and interaction, and the themes of thean initial illusion only that arranging the event for the event were structured accordingly.   reports 2012 37
    • We asked about the participants’ backgrounds on next year. Tables 1 and 2 present the data concerning the registration form. It was interesting to observe that the participants’ interest in and their actual use of mo- in 2010, 18% of the participants used several mobile bile applications. applications daily, but the number had risen to 40% the Participant data: My interest in and my use of mobile applications I use several... I use several mobile applications daily; phone conversations form only a small part of my use 14 18 % I use some... I use some mobile applications 41 54 % I have very little... I have very little experience in the use of mobile applications 15 20 % I have no... I have no experience in the use of mobile applications 9 12 % 0 10 20 30 40 50 The respondents could choose more than one of the options so the percentage may exceed 100%. Table 1. The participants’ interest in and their use of mobile applications in 2010. My interest in and my use of mobile applications I use several... I use several mobile applications daily; phone conversations form only a small part of my use 34 40 % I use some... I use some mobile applications 33 39 % I have very little experience in the I have very little... use of mobile applications 18 21 % I have no experience in the use of I have no... mobile applications 4 5% 0 10 20 30 40 50 The respondents could choose more than one of the options so the percentage may exceed 100%. Table 2. The participants’ interest in and their use of mobile applications in 2011.38    reports 2012
    • The hardware also had undergone a significant change of a few individuals had their own smartphone, someduring the year. In 2010, about 25% of the participants participants even had many of them. Tables 3 and 4did not have the opportunity to acquire a smartphone describe the participants’ devices.for the course, but in 2011, everyone with the exception Features in my device/connection I have a W... I have a WLAN connection 51 67 % I have an un... I have an unlimited data package 41 54 % I have a data... I have a data package based on throughput 13 17 % I have no... I have no data package 8 11 % I do not have a... I do not have a smartphone but can obtain one for the duration of summer school 8 11 % I do not have a... I do not have a smartphone and cannot obtain one myself 12 16 % 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 The respondents could choose more than one of the options so the percentage may exceed 100%.Table 3. Features of participants’ devices in 2010. Features in my device/connection I have a W... I have a WLAN connection 68 81 % I have an un... I have an unlimited data package 54 64 % I have a data... I have a data package based on throughput 18 21 % I have no... I have no data package 2 2% I do not have a... I do not have a smartphone but can obtain one for the duration of summer school 3 4% I do not have a... I do not have a smartphone and cannot obtain one myself 5 6% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 The respondents could choose more than one of the options so the percentage may exceed 100%.Table 4. Features of participants’ devices in 2011.MODEL OF OPERATIONStarting pointsThe implementation of the Mobile Summer event was in the 1990’s, called communication camps at the time.included in the original AVO project plan, and the precise These camps combined working together, the supervi-planning of it took place during the project. The basic sion of the work, the outputs, presentations of the out-concept consisted of the creation of a model of opera- puts and a natural environment of beauty, freedom andtion that would make live what was planned first: learning positiveness. The starting point for the planning was thatsituations and instruction without traditional educational an event should be put together that made use of ICTtechnologies. A good model to base the work on was of- and gave participants the joy of togetherness, sharedfered by Ms. Marja-Liisa Viherä’s ICT training sessions work and shared experiences.   reports 2012 39
    • The principles adopted for Mobile Summer were these: • Effortless participation: catering outside, data in • The event is planned through close cooperation mobile devices, QR codes, persons in charge of among the organisers: active planning together, groups and activity points, personal guidance, online meetings for the entire team and the transportation to the swamp area. theme-specific teams. • Experiential learning: the joy of doing, learning • The event forms a journey for the participants, together, expansion of personal skills. progressing as a systematic process: orientation (advance learning tasks and messages) -> getting Activity points in oases acquainted (introductions and handshakes) -> Mobile Summer was a cooperative effort that was based working -> compiling outputs -> feedback. on the shared, common expertise of the people organis- • Genuine mobility: all types of activities are ing it. Their shared view was built during the joint plan- possible in the mobile environment. ning process that lasted several months. The organisers • No more wires: learning without stiff structures convened online several times to plan common parts for outside in authentic learning environments in nature. the programme as well as specific activities for the activ- • Openness: all information is available on open ity points/oases. The time spent on planning each year web pages – in advance. came up to approximately 1500 hours. • Most important communications take place electronically: all messages are sent to phones In 2010, participants were divided into three groups but all information is also made available that circulated from one activity point to another. Their traditionally on paper. themes included: • Good use is made of geographical information • mobile teaching and communication systems: the event map with additional information • mobile learning is made available online for mobile applications. • mobile tools.40    reports 2012
    • In 2011, activity points were transformed into oaseswith several activity points in each. The participantscould stroll freely from one oasis or activity point to an-other. The oases were:• mobile learning and supervision• mobile production• mobile technologies• social media.Maps and traffic in the areaBoth years, the participants received maps of the areathat showed the parking places, activity points/oasesand the most important buildings.In Mobile Summer 2011 the participants also had a mo-bile map, put together with Google Maps, that showedthe various oases and points. The map enabled naviga-tion with GIS systems. Figure 1. Map: Oases in the area in the PDF-format.Figure 2. A Google map of the area showing the activity points, oases, catering locations and other important places.   reports 2012 41
    • Links to locations opened their pictures, some links even opened video clips such as this presentation of the old school building: Figure 3. A Google map presenting the old school building. The various activity points were indicated by signposts with QR codes on them. The QR codes lead to the web pages of the respective activity points. Figure 4. The signposts The objective was to have the participants gain insights helped in finding the right into how mobility can assist learning. Mustiala Park was places. The QR codes made it possible to read the an excellent place for carrying out the event in an authen- respective online materials tic learning environment. We were away from traditional with a mobile device. classrooms, screens, print-outs, books and computers. In both Mobile Summers, the pedagogical model was based on activity points structured around various themes. Shared reflexion, summary sessions, coffee breaks and outings guaranteed the community feeling and supported Activity points offered instruction to help participants go the formation of shared views. deeper into their topics. The participants had the oppor- tunity to experiment with different functions and useful PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION applications. The organisers’ journey From the organisers’ viewpoint, the building of the Mo- THE PEDAGOGICAL MODEL bile Summer events was an effort of several months. The key idea of the Mobile Summer event was to offer The arrangers comprised project staff, company repre- learning paths for the participants to take them through sentatives and people involved with mobile learning in a variety of themes to make them realise how they could other educational institutions. apply mobility to their own work. Instead of traditional lec- The core team consisted of the key persons in the tures and lengthy introductions, we only briefed the par- subproject Mobile devices in learning and interaction. ticipants concerning the theme. Their learning was based They were in charge of: on their own actions and independent experimentation. • managing and organising the planning The learning tasks were problem-oriented: the partici- • event budget pants had to complete a small task such as the compiling • creating the required web pages and forms of a learning object or the convening of a mobile meeting. (Mobile Summer, Mobile Path)42    reports 2012
    • • marketing the event, putting together to reach an understanding of the names of the themes the adverts and leaflets and of which issues belonged under which themes. This• arranging additional events and the agreed exemplifies the variety of ways people can structure in- competitions formation in their minds. For example, it was surprisingly• practical arrangements on the venue difficult to draw the line between mobile tools and peda-• compiling the materials and outputs gogy. In addition, it was challenging for the organisers to• reporting and feedback analyses. fathom how the programme could be implemented with- out the usual classroom environment. How does oneOther activists were in charge of: learn and teach without lectures?• attending planning meetings In 2011, the contents of the programme were much• arranging their own briefings and training sessions. easier to put together because many of the organisers were the same as the previous year. On the basis of theDescription of the programme and first Mobile Summer event, they had formed ideas as toactivity points what models worked well in the particular environment.Putting together the Mobile Summer programme in 2010 The naming of the oases and the grouping of the con-was rather challenging. It was difficult for the organisers tents were effortless this time. Wednesday 9 June 2010 Thursday 10 June 2010 Friday 11 June 2010 8:00–9:00 Breakfast Breakfast Registration (new arrivals) 9:00–11.00 Registration and accommodation Work in activity points (3.5 h/point) Planning of national-level Briefing session for all attendees cooperation Point 1: Mobile learning • Expert group convenes Point 2: Mobile supervision • Structuring the national-level Point 3: Mobile tools project for mobile supervision 11:00–12:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch 12:00–13:30 Opening of the summer school Work in activity points continues • Welcome, briefing Point 1: Mobile learning • AVO project introduction Point 2: Mobile supervision • Introductions Point 3: Mobile tools • Division into groups, group members get acquainted 13:30–17:00 Work in activity points Work in activity points (3.5 h/point, groups circulate): (3.5 h/point): Briefing session for all attendees Briefing session for all attendees Point 1: Mobile learning Point 1: Mobile learning Point 2: Mobile supervision Point 2: Mobile supervision Point 3: Mobile tools Point 3: Mobile tools 17:00–18:00 The best of the day The best of the day – what was there for my mobile – what was there for my mobile backpack? backpack? Fruit and soft drinks served Fruit and soft drinks served 18:00 Evening programme, lakeside sauna, Outing to Torronsuo national park open fire and roasted sausages, Recording the event with mobile devices catering by Iso Piippu (the local pub) SupperFigure 5. The 2010 Programme.   reports 2012 43
    • In addition to the complete programme made available in the PDF-format, the Mobile Summer 2011 event of- fered the participants the opportunity to compile their own personal electronic programmes. They could print these personalised programmes to take them with them or access them with their mobile devices. Both years, the Mobile Summer programmes includ- ed briefings, practical exercises and experiments, lec- tures to various groups, work together, and introductions to views of the future. Each year, the programme started with a briefing session devices already are “parts of our being, parts of our per- for all participants in which the progression of the event sons”. Mobile devices have become our means, almost and the key issues for each day were explained. The our seventh senses, for observing the world around us opening theme in 2010 was “mobility sets you free”. in new ways e.g. making use of presence information. You do not need to sit at your desk, getting stiff, but We are on our way towards a ubiq world in which data you can work free of desks, wires and walls. In 2011, systems merge with daily activities. the participants were asked to reflect on how mobileFigure 6. Learning situations can be relaxed.44    reports 2012
    • Brief descriptions of the oases and Read the Open the link Download Try Google Mapsactivity points QR code to the to your own navigating sample route in the area mapsMobile learning and mobile pedagogyThis oasis presented situations in which the learneris mobile. The activity points provided good hints andprompted learners to try planning and implementing mo- Figure 7. Example: Progression of the GIS task given in thebile learning processes. One of the activities was com- briefings.piling a learning object.Production and communication Transmission of the copyright lectureThe participants got a feel of how mobile devices are During Mobile Summer 2011, in addition to briefingsused for producing, editing and distributing materials and experiments, we offered copyright information on-such as blogs, pictures and video. In addition, they line. The lecture by Mr. Tarmo Toikkanen on copyright,learned about mobile supervision and mobile confer- “Ten pieces of advice to those who portray their sur-ences. Mobile learners can produce their learning dia- roundings”, was transmitted through the web to the par-ries and attend training sessions through their mobile ticipants.devices.Technology Figure 8. A QR code lead partici-The technology-related information the participants were pants to the copyright lecture.offered dealt with various mobile devices and their op-erating systems, their costs and the basic applicationssuch as calendars. The participants were introduced touser interfaces that include games, supplementary ap-plications for smart phones, GIS systems, 3D environ-ments, and sensors and their uses in learning. The participants received a text message shortly before the lecture began. Some participants moved on to theSocial media relevant oasis, some preferred the assembly hall, someThese activity points acquainted the participants with listened to the lecture sitting on a park bench. It wasthe functions of various types of web personalities and possible to use the chat to ask questions and to receivewhat work roles and personal roles might consist of. In answers during the lecture.addition, they were introduced to various applicationsthat could benefit them in their communication and theirproduction of visuals and text. They also learned howthey can obtain the benefits from these applicationswith their mobile devices. Briefings at the activity points consisted of short in-troductions with examples shown on mobile devices. Af-ter briefings, participants were allowed to use their owndevices for completing tasks relating to the topic. Our example is the learning task related to geograph-ical information. Participants could access the task byreading a QR code into their mobile devices. The QRcode gave a link to a route in Google Maps; the routecould be downloaded and integrated into the partici-pants’ own maps. Then, it was simple to use the mapand navigate in the area from one point on the route toanother. Figure 9. You could attend the copyright lecture via your own phone.   reports 2012 45
    • COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING various networks and paper publications. In addition, Because the event took so many forms and was so we distributed printed postcards with adverts at vari- unique to the individual, it was challenging from the view- ous functions (conferences such as Digital Competence point of communication. In order to ensure success in and Learning and Information Technology in Education), communication, we drafted a specific marketing and com- and sent adverts to several organisations. We also used munication plan for the event. blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media services The main role was occupied by the website. In 2010, for our marketing activities. the website had pictures of Mustiala and a video of the Communications were electronic: we used only venue. In the marketing of 2011, we used materials from email and text messages, and the two were integrated. the 2010 event: visuals, video clips and sample learn- All messages, their contents and the precise dispatch ing objects. In addition, we produced a video in which schedules were planned in advance. The text messages our project manager described the event and urged the were sent out timed in advance with the recipient groups audience to participate. We also produced video clips of compiled according to their expected participation in the how the oases and activity points functioned. various functions. In this way, we made sure our mes- sages reached the participants and the respective or- ganisers precisely at the right time. The participants agreed to receiving text messages on the registration forms. With a few exceptions, the participants accepted text messages. The sending of text messages was spe- cifically planned, and the messages were timer-timed (appendix 2). Feedback collection In both Mobile Summer events, we collected feedback from the participants. Electronic feedback forms were used for the purpose, providing the possibility for the par- ticipants of using either desktops or mobile devices. Feedback for Mobile Summer 2010 was collected at Figure 10. Video clips presented the functioning of the oases. the activity points per activity point as well as at the end of the event regarding the whole event. In 2011, no activ- Marketing activities made use of the existing connec- ity point -specific feedback was collected because partici- tions, i.e. the organisers’ own contacts, networks and pants had thought it too cumbersome and time-consum- services. The event was marketed through adverts in ing, but feedback for the whole event was still collected. Figure 11. Mobility enables learning anywhere at any time.46    reports 2012
    • Practical arrangementsFor the flow of the event, it was extremely important forthe participants to be able to navigate in the area and forthe catering service to function well. Because the partici-pants arrived at different times, registration and instruc-tions given at registration received particular attention. In that connection, participants received their fold-ers and the keys to their rooms. Application installationservice was available at that time, and there was quite ademand for it. We noticed soon that we had not reservedenough time or enough staff for this work. While theMobile Summer events were on, the services of mobile Figure 12. The 2011 Mobile Summer website.guides on foot were available on the site. These mobileguides offered guiding services and assisted in problem-atic situations if any arose. Coffee was served in activitypoints and on a common patio, which also was a signifi-cant aspect of mobility.The participants’ journeyMobile Summer was a journey for the participants. Thecourse was a two-day event, but it was possible to takepart for one day only. Most of the participants were therefor two days. The event had a website created with Goog-le Pages. The journey started on the marketing pagesthat contained the basic information of the course con-tents together with the programme details and a link tothe registration form. Figure 13. The 2011 Mobile Path website. After the participants had registered through theMobile Summer web page, they were led further to theMobile Path site. This site formed the materials stor-age (e.g. instructions, identifiers, assignments) for par-ticipants and organisers alike, and it was also used to write access. The advance assignment prompted the par-store the outputs and results of Mobile Summer after ticipants to consider their practical needs in terms of in-the event. formation not at hand and the storing and supervision of A wide variety of briefing sessions was available important moments.for the participants. In 2010, the participants formed The participants were instructed to take enoughgroups and circulated from one activity point to the next, equipment and clothes with them. The web pages ex-visiting all points. In 2011, the participants chose freely plained which applications should be installed in ad-the activity points in which they wanted to work. vance and which personal identifiers were required.The participants’ advance preparations Individual programmesAfter registration, the participants each received an e- In 2011, Mobile Summer provided a service which ena-mail message and a text message asking them to enter bled the participants to create their own personal pro-the Mobile Path. These pages contained further informa- grammes by entering the event’s website with their e-tion concerning the participants’ personal introductions mail addresses. The e-mail address was the identifierand the completion of their advance learning tasks, and required by the application. After entry, the participantsalso presented them with a survey concerning their use could choose the activity points they wanted for their pro-of mobile devices. They were asked to draft an introduc- grammes. The participants could read their programmestory presentation about themselves for the website be- on their mobile devices during the Mobile summer schoolfore the beginning of the event. The template for their and they also could print the programmes if they wantedintroductions was a Google document with non-exclusive to take them with them.   reports 2012 47
    • Materials distributed As usual, the participants were given folders containing the most important information they needed on paper. For the sake of eventual rain, the folders also contained plastic bags for mobile devices. In 2011, all the assign- ments on the activity points could be found printed in the participants’ folders. Each assignment had a specif- ic QR code that made it possible to read these instruc- tions also through the web. Getting acquainted and guidance in the locality In 2010, the participants were introduced to the area in groups. Group leaders took the groups around the area in advance and took the opportunity to tell about the history of the area. In 2011, the participants were guided electronically with a map designed with Google Maps. The link to this map was sent to the participants’ phones. Instead of reserving time for getting acquainted, we reserved time for participants to plan their routes. All activity points were indicated by signposts with QR codes. This made it possible to access the respec- tive web materials. Figure 14. The QR code trail led the participants to interesting questions. Outputs The participants and organisers alike created many different kinds of outputs during the Mobile Summer events. They included video clips, photographs, tweets, blog posts, Facebook messages, geographical informa- tion with visuals stored on the basis of it, team notes, text messages and learning objects. All these outputs were stored in channels created for the Mobile Sum- mer events, open for public access and ready for use afterwards. As they registered, the participants signed copyright agreements (appendix 3) allowing all outputs created during the summer schools to be published and used in e.g. the marketing of the next Mobile Summer events. The outputs have been published on the Mobile Path website. Additional programme and the competition The participants of Mobile Summer events were offered a voluntary evening programme on two nights. The pro- gramme included sauna, barbeque and an outing to Tor- ronsuo. The Torronsuo outing included a guided tour and ended with pan-fried crepes. These evenings naturally provided the opportunity of networking in a relaxed at-Figure 15. Crepes being pan-fried at the Torronsuo campsite. mosphere.48    reports 2012
    • The programme following the first day of summer swings, the video clip (http://www.youtube.com/user/school had a large turnout. After the second day, most mobiilipolku11#p/u/2/SbpAbzJA4HM). In 2010, theof the participants wanted to head home in good time, winner was the learning object Avomobiilin mäkistarttiand the attendees in the evening consisted mainly of in- – The Downhill Start of the AVO mobile (http://share.dividuals who were attending the network meeting. ovi.com/media/avomobiilit. oppimisaihiot/avomobiilit. The output of these days was plentiful: learning ob- 10043).jects, visuals, video clips and blog posts. From amongall outputs, a jury selected three pieces for the partici- PARTICIPANT PROFILEpants to vote for the winner. Voting took place through The participants of the event consisted mostly of voca-an electronic form. Each year, the winner was a learning tional education teachers. In 2010, 77% of the employ-object compiled at the activity point of pedagogy. ers of the participants were either vocational schools or The winner of Mobile Summer 2011 competi- universities of applied sciences. In 2011, the number wastion Parhaat Palat Reppuun – Backpack the Best Bits 70%, indicating a slight spread. This shows that mobilewas the learning object on the basics of children’s learning is interesting for other levels of education as well. I am employed in a comprehensive school or in a comprehen... in general upper secondary education 3 4% in vocational upper... in vocational upper secondary education 14 17 % in vocational adult... in vocational adult education and training 6 7% in a university of... in a university of applied sciences or polytechnic 50 60 % at a university at a university 3 4% as a private trader as a private trader 6 7% I am a student I am a student 5 6% Other Other 10 12 % 0 10 20 30 40 50 The respondents could choose more than one of the options so the percentage may exceed 100%.Table 5. Employers of the participants of Mobile Summer 2011.In Mobile Summer 2011, 76% of the participants were bile implementation to work better than the traditionalpresent both days. In 2010, 79% were present both one.days. The feedback is summarised in appendix 4.FEEDBACK SUMMARISED NETWORKWe asked for feedback on an electronic form immedi- One of the AVO project objectives was the establishmentately after the end of the training. Feedback was giv- of an expert group for mobile learning. The group wasen by 35% of the participants. We requested feedback formed by convening national experts. The Mobile Sum-concerning the training as well as the practical arrange- mer event was central to the expansion of the work ofments. The feedback for both events was very positive. this expert group. The event helped extend the groupThe 2011 event received slightly better feedback than into a network which could initiate national-level coop-the 2010 event. eration. At the moment, this mobile learning network is One question inquired into how the mobile imple- active with the goal of inspiring educational institutions,mentation worked in comparison with the traditional firms, mobile operators and manufacturers to networkapproach. In 2010, most respondents thought the mo- and initiate joint projects in the field of mobile learning.bile implementation to work as well as the traditional The work of the mobile learning network will continueone, but in 2011, most respondents thought the mo- under the project Mobiilisti – Mobilely.   reports 2012 49
    • TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS require changes in attitudes and actions as well as in The quantum leap experienced in technology and chang- organisations’ work cultures in particular. es in the mobile field are most clearly manifest in the The transition to mobility requires the desire to changes in the participants’ hardware. In 2010, most of learn, an attitude positive towards change and the will- the participants had Nokia phones with keyboards, with ingness to learn about the benefits brought by new de- the portion of smartphones at about 64%. In 2011, the vice models. In addition to private individuals, this is portion of smartphones had arisen to 96%. Most par- also required of persons and bodies in decision-making ticipants had several devices. The number of Apple iP- positions in organisations. hones and Androids had clearly increased. Touchscreen The general view was that mobility sets users free of devices formed a clear majority in Mobile Summer 2011. time and place. This may cause both positive and nega- In 2011, the activity points had tablets that were not tive effects for work and general time management. Mo- on the market the previous year. Tablets were of interest biles and mobility were described with three adjectives: to the participants, but they felt that is was essential to current, situation-specific and personal. try and complete the assignments with their own devic- In the following, we will discuss HAMK staff’s obser- es. In that way, they would learn everything the way they vations regarding new ways of action brought by mobility, would do it in the future. Experimenting with borrowed the learning of these, and also the possible challenges. devices inspired many to update their own hardware. Attitude The transition to mobile learning and working requires the desire to develop oneself and the desire to devel- op in what one is doing; it also requires an active ap- proach so that a change in the ways of working is made possible. As a human being and worker, one must fol- low constantly accelerating development cycles. In this phase, networks form the primary sources of support and information. The mobile office seems to be the meeting point for those who are interested in learning Mobility requires new things. changes in attitudes, Additional challenges are brought by the general un- willingness to use mobile devices. The key issues pre- ways of action and venting their use include the negative attitudes and even work cultures. fears people feel towards technology and technical ap- paratuses as well as their lack of technical know-how. Presence and sociability Mobility creates the experience of presence regardless of place. For some people, mobility means a constant COSTS AND FUNDING contact with the processes of work, learning and so- The total costs of the event were approximately 50 000 cial life. The doing and thinking are documented and euros. The largest part of them was caused by the or- they are as significant as their outcomes. Mobile tel- ganisers’ salaries for the time of planning and imple- epresence is different from a face-to-face experience. mentation. Some additional costs were accrued due to Mobile telepresence may emphasise simultaneous ac- the building of the outdoors facilities for the event, e.g. tions and their management. In the mobile telepres- tents and wireless networks. It was essential that the ence mode, people transition quickly from one state catering and accommodation services worked well, and to another – they may be present in a situation while also the closeness of the facilities to the idyllic Mustiala documenting it. environment was important. In practice, mobility seems to signify different things to different people today. Others increase their social DISCUSSION contacts or give them a more private character through The personnel of HAMK University of Applied Sciences the phone and chats while others see the opportunity involved with the project understood that mobility would for assuming more independence or for avoiding physi-50    reports 2012
    • cal contact. New tools and work cultures enable pres-ence and also action in the time and place in which onehappens to find oneself. Mobility as such would notseem to require or cause sociability any more than itrequires or causes unsociability.Personal issuesFor an individual, mobility may mean the sensation of be-ing present in the moment, the possibility of spontane-ous action, distance presence, contributing somethingof oneself instantaneously, or the availability of informa-tion or other people. Along with these aspects come re-flections concerning identity, person and roles as well asthe separation of leisure from work. One can be a mo-bile producer, expert, director, researcher and developer.Simultaneously, mobile devices are highly personal. In Expertise and learningaddition to mobility, this issue is related to the more A smooth transition to a mobile world requires technicalgeneral issue of the establishment of professional web instructions and guidance, good hints and user supportidentities. for us to learn the best uses and gain the best benefits from our mobile devices. We need practical examples ofOutcomes, products and the doing where and how we should make use of our mobile devic-Mobile devices are used in different ways, and the out- es. Mobile devices, for example, allow the constructioncomes differ. For some people, mobility means more talk of learning objects in actual situations, the use of geo-than text; for some people, visuals and video clips have graphical information while collecting pictorial data (e.g.replaced text production whereas others use their tab- mapping an area), and the communication with studentslets to churn out texts as long as those they used to and the supervision of their work when they are trainingwrite on their conventional desktops. However, the gen- at distance and cannot reach desktop computers.eral view was that the number of outputs has increased Our example, below, is the making of a herbarium inbut they are less refined in their form than traditional- earlier days compared to the current possibilities avail-ly. Real-time instant appearance allows shorter editing able through mobile devices. Even today, school childrentime and less technical quality. In relation to people’s use the old methods and gather their specimens fromattitudes, this requires that they are ready to let go of nature, taking notes concerning the finding location andunfinished, momentary work. Mobility is highly suited for finding date, drying and pressing them, finally mountingall learning in which processes and tools occupy a sig- them on paper or cardboard. When the number of speci-nificant role. mens suffices, they take the entire herbariums to their teachers for assessment. After assessment, it is typi-Technology, devices cal that herbariums are stored away and forgotten. Mo-A huge range of mobile devices is available today – and bile devices make it possible to take pictures of plantstheir price range is extensive as well. The expenses re- and their locations, to have them supplemented with lo-lating to the purchase and use of these devices may cation data, and to promptly transfer the pictures to araise the purchasing threshold. Neither do all organi- cloud service that allows the public to view them on thesations necessarily understand the benefits available map even the same day. More detailed information canthrough mobile devices. be included with the specimens, which was not possible The different operating systems and the differenc- before – their habitats, possibly their toxicity, web linkses between the different versions of these applications to relevant information about them, etc. The assess-are challenging for learning as they work differently. In- ment of such pictures and data is easy via the web, andstructions are either device-specific or so general that other herbalists are able to give their comments as well.the performance of the actions becomes challenging. Herbariums that contain geographical information canRegardless, some pioneering spirits find the means to be used in teaching, and somebody might be interestedstructure new uses, new instructions and new models in visiting the finding locations to see the actual plantsthat can be easily absorbed. in their habitats.   reports 2012 51
    • Herbariums before Events such as Mobile Summer introduce the partici- Mount pants to practical uses of mobile functionalities expand- Dry and Allow Store the specimens on Collect press paper, record teacher to herbarium ing their expertise and opening their eyes to their own specimens specimens grade the out of the way specimens’ herbarium development, practical experimentation and information data sharing in their networks. In this way, awareness of the Herbariums today various practical uses of mobile devices can be made Take pictures Transfer Place plant Open as- Use the grow in different environments. The Mobile Summer con- of plants with pictures to data and sessment materials and cept can be applied to expert-supervised municipal staff geographical a cloud pictures of and sharing location data data included service plants on map in the web in teaching training and even to the introduction of the general pub- lic to the uses of mobile devices. The mobile learning network is interested in organis- ing the Mobile Summer event as an annual event. TheFigure 16. Example: Putting together a herbarium by hand (before) and through network convenes every half-year. Every second conven-mobile devices (today). tion takes place during Mobile Summer. We have also discussed a joint appearance at the Digital Competence and Learning Conference. Daily activities are increasingly done mobilely and new ideas crop up naturally. Instead of pen and paper, peo- CONCLUSIONS AND DEVELOPMENT ple use the snapshot and video functionalities in their Mobile Summer is an excellent example of how learning phones to take notes. Their daily schedules are avail- can take place anywhere. It also demonstrates how on- able to them via the web because web access is easy line cooperation can lead to success. Materials, visuals anywhere. Their watches are not on their wrists but in and video clips produced during Mobile Summer have their phones. been made us of in e.g. Mobiiliopas – Mobile Guide. If The owners of mobile devices do not seem to use we combine our expertise we can gain synergy benefits them effectively. These devices are mainly used for and experience successes even on the international speaking, text messaging and taking pictures. Some markets. The Mobile Summer event domain is the www. people are comfortable with e-mail and navigating ser- mobiilikesakoulu.com; it is intended to be the uniting vices but most features of smartphones and other mo- element for the individual event implementations and bile devices are not made use of in daily situations. Nei- the entire network. ther is mobility a natural part of studying today. Young people seem to consider the use of mobile devices more LINKS a game than proper work. Usage habits change slowly. Mobile Summer: www.mobiilikesakoulu.com In our view, technology is not a key issue: it is easy Mobile learning network: to learn to use these devices if one wants to do so. In https://sites.google.com/site/mobiilioppiminen/ terms of attitudes, this requires that we are able to ad- Mobiilisti (Mobilely) project: www.mobiilisti.com mit our incompetence, are ready to fail but try again, are able to find alternative solutions, to ask for help and to Mobile Summer 2012 will take place in cooperate. With time, we improve in sharing our exper- Mustiala 21–22 May. tise and learn to learn together. The mobile learning network will convene THE FUTURE after the event on 23 May 2012. It seems that there is a mobile revolution ongoing and the mobile expert network established though the Mo- APPENDICES bile Summer event is facing several years of active devel- Appendix 1: Organisers opment work. This development work can be compared Appendix 2: Text messages sent to that of online education. It has been going on for 20 Appendix 3: Copyright agreement years and continues even now. Mobility combined with Appendix 4: Feedback summarised social media services is the next step in online educa- tion, and it allows students the genuine opportunity to influence their learning processes as active participants.52    reports 2012
    • APPENDIX 1: ORGANISERSThe following individuals put in their efforts to organise TIINA SAARNIthe event: Outdoors catering servicesOUTI VAHTILA, project manager TERHI THUNEBERGMain coordinator and manager of the event, overall plan- Technical support, testing, assisting with materials pro-ner, responsible for work division, material production, ductionthe recording of the event, the preparation of the re-quired technical platforms, training, web page construc- MARKO RANTANENtion, participation in network meetings Planning contents and implementation of training, train- ing, network power, constructing and dismantling theJOHANNA SALMIA, mobile expert training sites, testing the technical platformsProgramme planning support, coordination and arrang-ing of common planning activities, event marketing and ULLA-MAIJA KNUUTTIcommunications, training material production, the re- Training, technical supportcording of the event, training, web page construction,participation in network meetings JAANA NUUTTILA Planning training, training, materials production, partici-LIISA SIIVOLA, project secretary pation in network meetingsPlanning of activities, planning and implementation ofpractical arrangements, handling of participant registra- HEIKKI PELTONIEMItions, drafting invitations, making folders, creating web Planning training, implementation of an activity point,pages, reporting materials productionANNIKA MICHELSON JARI MUSTAJÄRVIPlanning of contents and activities, testing and devel- Planning contents of training and activities, implement-opment of contents and services, design and prepara- ing the training, materials productiontion of materials, web page creation, concept definition,training, functioning as a local guide, feedback, materi- LOTTA LINKOals production Planning training, training, materials production, event marketing, reportingRAUNO LAINEPlanning practical activities, training, support, prepara- JUKKA NIINIMäKItion of the venue, feedback, testing Planning training, training, materials production, partici- pation in network meetingsEERO JAAKKOLAPlanning practical activities, training, support, prepara- PASI SILANDERtion of the venue, feedback, testing, materials produc- Expert tasks: content ideas, planning and implementa-tion tion of contents, participating in joint planning sessions, production of shared materials (templates for commonIRINA SALMINEN parts), implementation of trainingRegistrations, practical arrangements, support PASI MATTILALASSI PUUPPONEN Expert tasks: planning and implementation of contents,Planning and implementation of practical arrangements, participating in joint planning sessions, implementationtents, other equipment and accessories, outdoors cater- of training, arranging the hardware for the event.ing, dismantling   reports 2012 53
    • ANTTI SYVÄNEN ANNIKA MUURINAHO Expert tasks: planning and implementation of contents, Assisting in the practical work during the event (trainee) participating in joint planning sessions, implementation of training, arranging the hardware for the event IIDA RASILA Recording the event, video clips and photography MARKO MÄKILÄ (trainee) Expert tasks: planning and implementation of contents, participating in joint planning sessions, implementation TEUVO LAINE of training Assisting in the practical work during the event (trainee) OLLI KORHONEN JAN PIPPINGSKÖLD Expert tasks: planning and implementation of contents, Construction of the facilities, tents, tables, benches participating in joint planning sessions, implementation of training, text message and feedback services, the TIMO AHTOLA technical environment Constructing the facilities, tents, tables, benches RIITTA LEHTINEN EIJA NOKI Planning contents of training and activities, implement- Overall responsibility for catering services ing the training, materials production LEENA SUONPÄÄ MIKA SETÄLÄ Coffee service at the oasis Expert tasks: implementing the training MERVI VALTONEN KATRI NYMAN Local communication and general support Expert tasks: implementing the training MIIKKA RUUSUNEN OTTO LESKINEN Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training TOMMI SAKSA PETRI KORPI Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training RAIMO HÄLINEN TEEMU MIETTINEN Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training JUKKA ORAVA VESA VILENIUS Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training ANNE-MARI JÄRVENPÄÄ PAULIINA MÄKELÄ Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training PEKKA PIRTTIAHO TARMO TOIKKANEN Expert tasks: implementing the training Expert tasks: implementing the training SANNA EEVA JOUKO LINDROOS Recording the event, video clips and photography Participation in the planning of the event, planning the (trainee) outing, materials production, functioning as a guide ARTO NURMELA Assisting in the practical work during the event (trainee)54    reports 2012
    • Appendix 2: Appendix 3:Text messages sent Copyright agreement1. Confirmation of registration: “You are welcome to Mo- I agree to the following conditions:bile Summer 2011. Your registration has been received. 1. As a participant, I authorise the AVO project to useMore information will be sent closer to the event. Re- the materials created during the Mobile Summer event;gards, AVO summer school staff” I also authorise their changes, alterations and inclusion into other materials.2. Further information about Mobile Summer: “For more Creative Commons is the most common licensinginformation about Mobile Summer 2011, please see: system for open contents. The CC-BY-SA condition re-http://bit.ly/hD8qVL” quires that the author of the work is mentioned when the work is made use of and all derived works are published3. Movel instructions: “Greetings! Download the Movel under the same open licence.application for the Mobile Summer event by clicking thelink http://mkk.movel.fi/get or use your web browser to a. The right to use shall refer to any means of makingget instructions from http://mkk.movel.fi to download use of the material in total or in part such as storingthe application for use in your e-mail.” parts of it in a computer or other media, preparing new renderings of it through any method, playing or show-4. Welcome to Mustiala: “You are welcome to Mobile ing the material, or distributing pieces of the materialSummer. Address: Mustialantie 105, Tammela, map through any means.http://goo.gl/maps/t5fC. Please register in the old b. The AVO project shall be authorised to use the materi-school building 9:30-11 am on 25 May.” als and any ideas, information, principles and methods therein as the foundation for completely new materials.5. Reminder of the Torronsuo outing: “You are welcome c. When copying or remixing the work with any works ofto Mobile Summer outing to Torronsuo. We will meet in others, the author of the work or the copied part shall befront of the old school building at 5:55 pm.” mentioned in accordance with good practice when the work is made available. Users shall respect the moral6. Reminder of the copyright lecture: “The lecture ‘Ten rights of authors under copyright.questions on copyright’ starts at 1:30 pm, lecturing Tar-mo Toikkanen. Participate at the oasis or go to http:// 2. Copyright and other intellectual property rights to theamk.adobeconnect.com/mobiilikesakoulu.” materials intended under this agreement shall belong to the author. The author shall make sure that no third-7. Reminder of sauna: “You are welcome to have sauna party materials are used.and supper with Mobile Summer. Women 7–8 pm, men8–9 pm. Sausages and snacks by the campfire. The rest 3. The AVO project shall be authorised to grant rightsof the evening at Piippu.” to these materials to third parties including the right to alter the materials.8. Thanks for participation: “Thank you for your partici-pation in Mobile Summer. Please do not forget to com- 4. Authorising a party to use the materials shall not re-plete the feedback form: http://bit.ly/ka9s4B Have a strict the author’s right to make use of them; nor shallmobile summer!” such an authorisation restrict the author’s right to grant similar rights to others. 5. Materials produced during Mobile Summer shall be transferred to an open data network where anyone will be able to view or download them. In addition, the Mobile Summer participants shall authorise the publication of materials (videos and pho- tographs in public access web services) in which they can be identified.   reports 2012 55
    • APPENDIX 4 FEEDBACK SUMMARISED Mobile Summer 2010 and 2011 2010: 30 responses 2011: 22 responses Were you happy with the advance information Were the programme contents successful? you had about Mobile Summer? Very Satisfied Rather Rather Very satisfied satisfied dissatisfied dissatisfied Very Successful Rather Rather Very successful successful unsuccessful unsuccessful Was the programme implementation successful? Compared to traditional implementation methods, did the mobile implementation work: Very Successful Rather Rather Very successful successful unsuccessful unsuccessful Better Equally well Not as well Was it significant to you whether or not the mobile How useful was the training for your work? device was your own that you used during the event? t t t nt t an an n an ca a fic fic fic fic ifi ni ni ni ni gn ig g ig ig Si si ys s ns in er yi r er Ve th Very Useful Rather Rather Useless r Ve th Ra useful useful useless Ra56    reports 2012
    • Please evaluate success per oasis: Please evaluate success per activity point:Mobile learning and supervision (2011) Mobile learning (2010) Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not successful successful participate Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not successful successful participatePlease evaluate success per activity point: Please evaluate success per oasis:Mobile supervision (2010) Mobile production (2011) Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not successful successful participate successful successful participatePlease evaluate success per oasis: Please evaluate success per oasis:Mobile tools (2010)/Mobile technologies (2011) Social media Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not successful successful participate successful successful participatePlease evaluate success per oasis: Please evaluate success per oasis:Copyright lecture Future views Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not Very Successful Rather Unsuccessful I did not successful successful participate successful successful participate   reports 2012 57
    • If you intend to use mobile devices and applications in the future, in which situations do you see yourself using them? (2011) Work Leisure Studies Other From where did you first learn about Mobile Summer? (2011) te r e u n E- ear tion ion tri ine h t r ue e tte lis pe b et io g c er si l d en ear Tu ag at t m pa wh i b n a a ica Tw u lle we tio ic So ch s Yo se a un un k, Co bu n er El oo m m ti m om m eb en is m h m co c m Su tc or Fa s se K ai ug nf ec M ile m ro r i r ti oj HA ob th the ve pr M Ad O O AV58    reports 2012
    • Notes   reports 2012 59
    • 60    reports 2012
    • JOANNA KALALAHTI, UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE Case: Wisdom in wiki production – peer production establishing new forms of activity This subproject report will describe the production process of the wiki book Viisautta wikin tekoon – Wisdom in wiki production. We experimented with the wiki writing process and peer production methods and also searched for solutions to the challenges we faced during our work. On the basis of these experiences, we constructed the peer production model described in this report, ready for others to make use of. Peer production is seen as one of the new ways of working often connected to the larger Web 2.0 change. The project developed various tools and forms of activity to maintain the level of work, e.g. regular reminders, encouragement and occasional web conferences of about two hours each to produce materials simultaneously in different parts of Finland.WIKI PRODUCTION PROCESS be placed in Wikibooks in http://fi.wikibooks.org/wiki/,When wikis, i.e. social media and open content produc- which is open to everyone and one of Wikimedia Founda-tion tools, became more common in workplaces and tion’s open content production projects, the best-knownschools, a demand was created for an extensive, con- of which probably is the Wikipedia. It also seemed that itstantly evolving wiki guide in Finnish. In spring 2009, the was not appropriate for anyone to work alone to produceAVO subproject under the University of Tampere started materials that involved different competence areas andthe work to determine what sort of materials should be different types of expertise. Instead, we felt we couldproduced about wikis. gain more if we put together a group of individuals, all One of the key requirements was that the materials interested in wikis, who had the right kind of expertise.would remain after the project. Therefore, it was neces-sary to consider the place for the materials from the Putting the group togetherviewpoint of their maintenance. Neither did we want the To support the wiki project, we put together a contentmaterials to become outdated like so many static ma- developer team of 12 persons, consisting of representa-terials posted in the web. It was also necessary that tives from educational institutions (universities and gen-anyone would be able to participate easily in the produc- eral upper secondary schools), businesses and publiction of these materials. Through discussions with AVO libraries. The objective of the team was to produce themembers, the idea soon took shape that the materials first seed of the wiki guide in Wikibooks, with the intent   reports 2012 61
    • that anyone willing to participate in its production would by weekly bulletins to team members, distributed via e- be allowed to do so even at the beginning. The coordina- mail. We also used a wiki platform. tors started putting together the team in June 2009 be- The project’s collaborative production sessions took cause the work was expected to kick off in the autumn place online once a month on the Adobe Connect Pro of 2009. Experts interested in wikis were invited to join conferencing system. These meetings were scheduled the core team. From the very first, the main principle with Doodle scheduler (http://www. doodle.com), a tool was that these experts would produce the core contents that made it relatively easy for even largish groups of for the areas in which they were interested and special- people to find meeting times that suited at least most of ised while they contributed to the contents originated them. The group members logged into the conferencing by others. Hints about persons who might be interested system at the agreed time and were connected to one in joining were received from AVO project members and another through audio and video (the video was not used the University of Tampere staff, and information was much because it tended to disturb the audio connection) distributed also in the Sometu network. The candidates and could also communicate with the chat facility. The were contacted and they received information about meetings were agreed to last for two hours because it the project. Even though it was not possible to pay any was the general desire that the writing of the wiki would compensation for the work, all the persons contacted not take up too much of the participants’ time. considered the work important as such and wanted to The first hour of each meeting was spent on the participate. members’ status updates regarding their writing pro- cess together with the coordinators’ observations on Working methods the progress of the work. There were discussions on Face-to-face collaboration: The activities started at the issues that had caused concern (structure and editing end of October in 2009 with a day-long face-to-face of the structure, goals, etc.). The second hour was re- group work session in Tampere. This kick-off meeting served for working on the book. This took place so that was organised because the group members did not the online connection was kept open for everyone to be know one another before the project and it was seen able to send e.g. instant messages to others while pro- important to convene the team physically. We believed it ducing contents. The team members were encouraged would be easier to kick off the work when people were to use other online channels simultaneously and if they convened, sitting at the same table, communicating with wished, to form pairs for pair work during these online more ease about the working practices and the starting group work sessions. In practice, this option was used points of the future wiki book. rather little. The original idea was to start the concrete writing of At least the coordinators felt that, regardless of the the book during the kick-off meeting, but the schedules physical distance, this sort of work on a real-time col- were too demanding for this to happen. The coordina- laboration channel created a shared experience of work- tors entered the basic wiki structure in Wiki books soon ing simultaneously on a collaborative book venture. The after the kick-off meeting, and the work started to pro- contents of the book increased particularly much dur- ceed rather fluently. ing the first collaborative session, and the participants Online collaboration: Because one of the AVO ide- presented some questions for one another during the as was to work online as much as possible, and the work. The participants also have indicated that reserv- members of the contents development team lived and ing time in calendars to work on the book together was worked in different towns, it seemed the most practi- the right way to actually end up having time allocated cal solution to use web-based tools as far as possible for the work. in the wiki production process. The team was in favour The coordinators summarised the online meetings of online collaboration when the working methods were and sent the summaries via email to all members of the agreed on in the kick-off meeting. For these reasons, or- production team. In this way, even those who were not ganising the work to take place via the web was natural. present were informed of what was agreed on and done. There were challenges, too – could we keep the team End-of-project meeting: In addition to the kick-off together and keep up the production process online? meeting taking place face-to-face, we also wanted the Monthly online meetings: Monthly online meetings end-of-project meeting to take place physically, because via web conferencing software formed the most con- we thought it would be easier to fine-tune the work sit- crete working method. These meetings were supported ting at the same table; we also thought it would be62    reports 2012
    • easier to evaluate our work process in face-to-face con- rally contained information of the online meetings andversations. However, only a few people came physically also the minutes of the previous meeting for informa-to the end-of-project meeting – most participants chose tion for those who perhaps were not able to be present.to come in via the web. The team members knew one The weekly bulletins were wanted in order to keep theanother well at this point of the process, and work pro- wiki work active in the participants’ minds regardlessgressed without a hitch from distance. of all other commitments. On the other hand, from the Final revision responsibilities were distributed among coordinators’ point of view, the weekly bulletin broughtthe members in accordance with the divisions in the ma- regularity and rhythm to the work and to the monitoringterial once the coordinators had presented all of the ma- of changes. The traditional e-mail channel seemed toterial and explained the missing and problematic parts work rather well.that still required discussion among the team members.Issues brought up by external assessors were also dis-cussed. In addition, the flow of the work process and thelessons learned were discussed. The structure of the material was partially changedin the end-of-project meeting, and some contents wereregrouped. There were certain sections still unfinishedafter the end-of-project meeting. The coordinators askedthe experts knowledgeable in these areas to producethe materials within the publication schedule. Then thecoordinators handled the final touches to the materialsand got them ready for print.Wiki and weekly e-mail bulletins At least the coordinators felt that,supported the work regardless of the physical distance, thisEven before the team convened, a site to support them wasestablished on the project’s Confluence pages (http:// sort of work on a real-time collaborationwiki.eoppimiskeskus.fi/pages/viewpage.action? channel created a shared experiencepageId=1804795). Currently, these pages are publicallyaccessible. When the wiki book was being produced, ac- of working simultaneously on acess required registration and log-in, but it was possible collaborative book venture.for anyone to register and then to edit the wiki. The site was used for storing the materials producedwhile the team was in action. The site was also intendedto offer the possibility to discuss, using the commentsfunctionality, the structure of the book, the work process Materials assessment at thein general, and the ideas that ensued. At the end, the end of the production processteam did not use the site much at all. Rather, the pages Near the end of the materials production, we asked someformed the coordinators’ bulletin board and contained people external to the production group to read the ma-information about future meetings etc. Its use might terials and to assess them using a specific form so thathave been encumbered by the need to specifically log we could still make the required changes, should anyinto the wiki and its separateness from the actual work fatal flaws be found. We had replies from four test read-in Wikibooks. On the other hand, the page-specific dis- ers, all of whom were familiar with wikis already. Theircussion forum in Wikibooks was apparently not familiar feedback helped enhance the book at the very end ofto the team members either; not much discussion at all the production phase even though all of the suggestionswas sparked during any distance work phase. could not necessarily be implemented at that time. It As desired by the wiki writers’ core team, the coordi- was considered a good development proposal that morenators started producing weekly e-mail bulletins for the visual elements be included in the book – there shouldteam, collecting in them general observations regarding be more pictures in it. Requests from different readersthe work and its progress. The weekly bulletins natu- concerning the use of free-form text and referenced text   reports 2012 63
    • seem to conflict. Concrete examples were considered of the book had to be monitored and the parts had to good. In the feedback, the quality criteria concerning the be spotted that would not progress without the coordi- wiki book were seen to consist of whether the position nators’ prompts for input. At times, it was necessary of the book becomes established and whether it is en- to approach certain experts directly for input into these hanced over time. We will see. parts, as some members were highly specialised in cer- tain areas. In this sense, it was important for the pro- duction team to know one another sufficiently. The pro- cess also demanded a great deal from the participants. With their generally busy schedules, a volunteer process Peer production consists of like the wiki was put aside first if more pressing issues emerged. In the end-of-project meeting, we found out dialogue between users and that surprisingly many members had guilt feelings for producers, characterised by a not participating more actively in the production process – and they had experienced them throughout the pro- shared interest in the matter. cess. From the coordinators’ point of view, such feelings were highly unfounded: any input from any of the par- ticipants was significant for the success of the process. According to our experience and the feedback sur- A ”READY” WIKI BOOK vey, we could list the following elements among the es- The first version of the wiki book was finished when the sential ones in a collaborative production process: work of the team ended. It was printed in an edition of Resourcing of the work: When people are asked to 400 items and distributed at the ITK Interactive Technol- join a team, it should be discussed what the expected ogy in Education conference in Hämeenlinna at the end input would be in terms of hours. On the other hand, it of April 2010. should be considered carefully which individuals are in- The reason for the paper publication was the need vited to join in the process, and how many people should to disseminate information concerning the material as be involved in it. Too large a core team will encumber the widely as possible in order to ensure its future life – start and slow down the formation of the shared idea of the paper was not supposed to be a ready version in what the team will embark on; on the other hand, some any way. Because Wikibooks enables materials to be people can be expected to drop out of the core team printed out, the idea was that anyone could print out an during the process which relies on voluntary participa- up-to-date paper copy of the guide when necessary. The tion. People external to the core team should be asked target group for this material is not strictly restricted; to participate along the way even just for editing certain instead, the primary idea was to produce basic materi- restricted items. als on wikis to several target groups such as teachers, Establishing the grounds for the work (getting acquaint- libraries and various organisations – ultimately for all ed, agreeing on common rules): It is important to estab- citizens. The material can be made use of by everyone lish common grounds for the work by a face-to-face working with wikis and interested in their use. meeting in those cases in particular in which the pro- The guide has had some life in it after the core ducers do not know each other in advance. The goals team’s production process, but the monitoring of the of the face-to-face meeting should include becoming ac- changes shows that there has not been much of it. One quainted with the others, discussing the object of the of the reasons, we believe, is that people consider it dif- production in order to establish a common idea of it, ficult to go and edit someone else’s text. agreeing on common rules and practices, and producing some concrete item to kick off the production process. FEEDBACK AND EXPERIENCES FROM THE WIKI Coercion and sharing of responsibilities (and the extent BOOK PEER PRODUCTION PROCESS of them) should be discussed and precise agreements We might summarise and state that the wiki book peer should be made so that such matters would not cause production process was a rather successful experiment any members to withdraw. In a voluntary peer produc- and a learning process. It required a great deal of work tion process like this, the borderline may be rather fine from the coordinators, and as stated above, forced between voluntary work and compulsory work due to ac- them to take action to maintain the pace: the progress quired responsibility.64    reports 2012
    • Careful selection of work practices and tools: The se- duction can be defined to mean the creation, editing andlection of work practices depends on how distributed or enriching of digital contents by peers (i.e. people on thelocal the team is physically and how much time can be same hierarchical level). Peer production consists of dia-allocated for meeting either physically and/or with web- logue between users and producers, characterised by abased tools. It is essential to select tools for distance shared interest in the matter.work phases that are sure to suit all members and can A general observation of ours regarding the produc-be used by every one of them, and that can maintain tion process was that at first, the framework was widerand visualise the team’s discussions and progress. It is and we found the ways of working as we proceeded;also important to constantly evaluate how the flow of the this was the first experiment and we had no establishedwork progresses with the selected tools and perhaps to work process model to rely on. At first, the participantsselect new tools and let go of some old ones if neces- worked on their parts rather independently or in pairs.sary. It was important that shared time was allocated As the work progressed towards the end, the coordina-for the work (online meetings). The participants felt that tion of the whole demanded increasing attention, andthey produced most of their contributions for the book someone had to assume the responsibility. The coordi-during these meetings. nators combed the wiki contents in more and more de- Coordination and overall responsibility: The coordina- tail and edited them to achieve greater harmony. Writingtors must monitor the progress of the work regularly and conventions, the language and the removal of eventualstay aware of the progress in the collaborated parts, in- overlaps were attended to. Unfinished and empty sec-cluding any possible problem spots, and they must un- tions were brought to the attention of the team mem-derstand to involve the appropriate persons (also exter- bers and those who knew about these specific areasnal to the core team) to produce parts of the text. It is were asked to produce content for them.important that they maintain a positive atmosphere and Until now, the quality of peer production has receivedgood motivation in the project. The coordinators must only a little interest. One of the reasons for this, we be-be ready to produce parts of some texts themselves and lieve, is the fact that peer production is based on theto combine loose bits into wholes; they must assume free flow of information and all formal mechanisms canthe responsibility of the structuring and coherence of be considered to conflict with it. However, peer produc-the output if it seems that the materials will not other- tion requires structures that enable, support and controlwise form a coherent whole. This means that coordina- it efficiently. (Auvinen 2009.)tors must be contents experts in the subject area. The quality of peer production in a wiki book produc- Ending the work, assessing the work together: Accord- tion process can be studied from the points of view ofing to our experience, even the end-of-project meeting contents quality and process quality. In addition, atten-was important for learning. It was actually only in the tion can be directed to work methods that support theend-of-project meeting that the best discussions arose production of high-quality wikis.concerning the material, and in a way, it was frustrating One of the key elements in wiki quality managementto have to end the core team work at that point. One is the production of good contents. In view of Wikipediareason for discussion to spring up so late in the project articles’ assessment criteria, we can consider wiki con-was, probably, that at the end, there was a great deal of tents quality criteria to include at least the following:concrete material that had been worked and reworked • quality of the written materialsquite extensively by then. It is easier to discuss some- • all facts have been verified, andthing that already is than it is to discuss something that • the sources are reliable.is still coming. It may also be that shared experienceshad united the team by this time and sharing ideas had In addition to content creation, active and thorough peerbecome easy with acquaintance. Structuring the shared assessments are essential for wiki quality manage-learning and common experiences together was gratify- ment. Content quality is produced through the interac-ing and it rewarded, in a way, the individual participants tion of peer production and peer assessment. The peersfor their team efforts. producing a wiki assume different roles in the various phases of the production. In addition to content crea-DISCUSSION tion, the continuous assessment and development ofAs we already have mentioned, the wiki materials were the contents are taken on by peers, and therefore, in-peer-produced. According to Auvinen (2009), peer pro- formation producers are information assessors at the   reports 2012 65
    • same time. Peer assessment may include benchmark- vious experience of similar production processes and ing (comparison to other sources), peer assessment they undoubtedly compared the progress of this process (systematic content evaluation by peers), peer reflection to those. Other production process phases were inter- (reflection with peers concerning the contents) and peer twined throughout the process. learning (learning and developing together through con- The production of high-quality wikis requires work tinuous assessment). (Auvinen 2009, Viisautta wikin te- methods, processes and tools that support the creation koon 2010. [Wisdom in wiki production]). and updating of the contents. The support structures During our wiki production process, we conducted necessary in peer production include the following: constant peer assessments but in a relatively unsys- • Practicalities, i.e. arranging possibilities and tematic way. Due to the tight schedule, the contents resources (management support, access to produced by the others probably were not studied in digital resources) much depth, but when the book was edited, all texts • Forms of activity, i.e. organisational support for were improved as resources allowed. Near the end of peer production, the principles and instructions the project, we asked some people external to the pro- concerning peer production and peer assessment ject to assess the materials. The steadfast trust or • Processes, i.e. the setting up of practicalities to even idealisation by some project members of certain support peer production (e.g. agreed processes and experts involved in the project, expressed in the mem- workflows with appropriate support) bers’ feedback responses, actually may have prevented • Tools to ensure effective, fluent collaboration. these members’ critical perusal of the materials and the (Viisautta wikin tekoon – Wisdom in wiki production respective improvements to them even though these 2010, Auvinen 2009.) members would have been capable of valuable input themselves. In this way, we may well call into question Processes supporting the production of high-quality our view, mentioned earlier in this report, that the peo- wikis may include the work of various communities of ple involved in our wiki book production process were practice that distribute good practices and experiences, completely equal. But shared learning did take place, the training and development of various parties, and particularly during our discussions on the intended con- the active communication and sharing of experiences tent (on e.g. what is a wiki). among these parties (Viisautta wikin tekoon 2010 – We also need to pay attention to the quality of the Wisdom in wiki production). production process. The peer production process com- When we evaluate our production process in the view prises phases, the order of which may vary, or the phas- of the support processes, we can see that there was es may even be intertwined. A high-quality wiki peer pro- much good but also much room for improvement. The duction process should contain the following elements: participants in our wiki book production process had the • Benchmarking – the identification of good practices support of their employers at least in the sense that they and the recognition of deficiencies were allowed to participate. In practice, these tasks, ex- • Content production – collaborative writing, tra in their way and voluntary, were not quite properly ob- for example served in the time allocation of the participants, which • Validation – the use of experts, assessment manifested itself in the form of undue hurry and also • Editing – proofreading, translations, in how the wiki production was placed second in the assessment etc. face of more urgent duties. Access to resources was • Enrichment of the data – for example, ensured through our choice of production platform: Wiki- adding new information books, open to everyone. The feedback survey brought • Updates to the content – correcting the given data, up a remark by a member that Adobe Connect Pro, used monitoring and maintaining the contents as time for the online meetings in which the wiki book was writ- goes by ten, caused certain problems due to this member’s op- erating system which was not fully compatible with the During this wiki book production process, we did not application. If tools do not guarantee access for every- carry out a thoroughly systematic benchmarking pro- one, the production process may suffer. Work methods cess. For example, it might have been useful to com- and principles as well as processes and workflows were pare ourselves to some other wiki production process. developed and revised all along during the production Some members, according to their feedback, had pre- process so they might not have been perfectly clear at66    reports 2012
    • every point. This was evident at least implicitly in some improved the end quality and encouraged the membersremarks given in the feedback survey. We finally found a to edit the texts more.relatively good combination of tools and work methods, Peer production quality was the topic for a briefingdescribed in this report, and also brought up certain de- given by a representative of the respective AVO sub-velopment ideas for the future (such as replacing the project in the kick-off meeting of our project, directinge-mail bulletin by a blog that would prompt or redirect the members to pay attention to quality-related issues.the user via email). One of our goals was to produce a As the production progressed, it might have been usefulsmooth peer production process for this type of collabo- to organise quality assessments to imprint quality-orien-rative materials production. tation in the minds of the members better. The coordina- There certainly were communities of practice availa- tors felt that quality-related issues remained somewhatble to support our work in wiki producers’ environments, disassociated even though individual participants natu-but it was also important that our team functioned as rally constantly assessed their outputs as they produceda community of practice. It was actually only during the them. The communication and sharing of experiencesprocess that our team fully developed into a community by the members was supported in many was during theof practice with its shared goals and other features typi- wiki production process; the kick off meeting, the end-cal of such communities (see e.g. Wender, McDermott of-project meeting and the use of the first one of the& Snyder 2002, 12–14, 23–47). We can also speculate two online meeting hours for sharing experiences werewhether the emergence of the experience (if such ex- intended to emphasise precisely these aspects.isted) of a community of practice required the under-standing and clarification of the various participants’competence areas and working methods. One feedbackcomment suggested that the output might have beenbetter if the participants had been more committed. There certainly wereThis is probably the most difficult issue to be faced withif no community of practice exists at the beginning of communities of practicethe work but it is created specifically for the purpose; available to support our work inparticularly difficult this is if the participants’ objectivesand expectations are not equally demanding. When we wiki producers’ environments,asked if the participants knew one another in advance but it was also important thatand what the effects of such acquaintances were, ifany, one respondent expressed a sense of being left our team functioned as aout as it first felt that all others knew one another and community of practice.were familiar with the working method. This commentcan also be seen to be interlinked with how importantit is to create a sense of community, to learn to knowthe others, and to establish a relation of trust. Theseaspects have strong effects on how the community ofpractice is formed. In this project as well as in otherprojects, it was not possible to forge a community of Social media, or Web 2.0 in the wider context, arepractice, but it formed itself with time and the shared discussed as aspects of an extensive change process.interest. They are seen to be associated with a paradigm change More attention could have been paid to training and in which assumptions regarding the nature of reality aredeveloping the participants’ skills. We mentioned previ- altered with the emergence of social media. Wikis alsoously that the platform on which we built our wiki was are tools made available to us by the Web 2.0 change.the Wikibooks on MediaWiki. All members were not fa- On the one hand, tools can be considered meaningful asmiliar with the use of the platform, nor were they familiar such, but on the other hand, the essential aspect canwith the method of producing materials for wikis, such be seen to be the new forms of action that are enabledas the characteristics and markup language of wikis. It through the use of new tools. When we approach this is-might have been useful to instruct the members in the sue through the activity theory and its view of activity asuse of MediaWiki and writing in Wikibooks. It could have developing through the interplay of tools and methods,   reports 2012 67
    • we perhaps reach some essential elements of how tools tools). On the other hand, wikis can easily allow many us- and methods change the state of things. ers to edit the site which makes the maintenance much This approach makes it possible for us to disassoci- easier. Users might still be in charge of only their own ate ourselves from the extreme views of both technologi- narrow areas on the site, and, strictly speaking, still pro- cal determinism and social constructivism. Instead, we duce content all alone. In the light of these examples, can aim at finding the mid-point, a view that equally ac- we can consider wikis as incremental improvements to commodates the impacts on technological development earlier products; website creation is easy for everyone by technologies as such and by the ambient cultural and and the assigning of edit permissions is easier than be- social factors. Hearn et al call this the co-evolutionary fore. A more radical way to develop operative modes as approach, according to which technologies and societies if through innovation would be to change the production develop together. On the conceptual level, this view is process in total. In such a case, the opportunities made rather similar to the view of the activity theory concern- available by wikis are genuinely made use of and pages ing the development of activity. (Ahonen, Engeström & are produced in collaboration so that content producers Virkkunen 2000, 285–287; Engeström 2004, 12–13; cannot be distinguished from one another, the contents Hearn et al 2009, 22–27.) being produced are placed in the focus instead of their According to the first view, to over-simplify the matter, producers, and in addition, the contents crystallise the the situation exists in which either tools or practices are expertise and skills of many parties (collective intelli- more advanced and require advances in the other. The gence). This new form of activity is called peer produc- argument that social media applications could not be tion and its key enabler can be understood to be the fully utilised at the moment is based on the approach emergence of the two-way web (Auvinen 2009). that considers tools to be more advanced than current The adoption of new forms of activity does not hap- practices. In this way, the pressure for change would fo- pen easily. One of the key elements involved in the adop- cus on the development of practices “up to the level of tion is change. The adoption of social media such as tools”. Reasons for undeveloped practices can be ana- wikis can be seen to constitute a change process aim- lysed in more depth and detail under the activity theory, ing at renewal, one that requires changes to old forms of but on the general level, we can understand these rea- activity at the individual as well as the corporate levels. sons to include users’ lack of information concerning For example, the collaborative writing of wikis requires sensible uses, their old practices limiting the (sensible) new attitudes towards texts of one’s own as well as to- use of new tools, and their unawareness of practices wards those of others; it also requires the acceptance most suitable for themselves as well as their unaware- of a certain incompleteness which however leads to ever ness of what social media could offer for them. better outputs. Without going deeper into any change In view of the above, it is possible in principle to discussion we can state that the discussion concern- use wikis to replace traditional websites (similar to web ing the peer production of wikis and the related forms 1.0) by restricting their permissions such as restricting of activity leads us back to the wide-spread long-lasting editing to webmasters only and viewing to small target discussion on how change should be promoted in order groups only. In such cases, wikis still function as one- to have people learn new forms of activity. way publication media and the only development in com- The production process of the wiki book Viisautta parison to traditional websites is the ease and speed of wikin tekoon – Wisdom in wiki productio would justify producing sites; the functionalities available are slightly us in stating that we learn through practice, and one more advanced (see e.g. the Wikispaces wiki that pro- way that leads to change goes through practical experi- vides many tools such as discussion in addition to text mentation. The large group of producers in our process had a great deal of different types of expertise, and as- sistance was always available. When the preconditions for cooperation are in place, we dare to ask and expose ourselves instead of searching alone for solutions to our problems. The responsibilities within the production pro- cess were distributed and nobody was required to carry a load that was too heavy. This wiki production process was experimental in nature, and many of the partici- pants joined with open, experimentation-oriented minds.68    reports 2012
    • Therefore, everyone could knowingly experiment with the else will pick up from there, observe that the contentsactivities and practice the skills required by social me- of the wiki truly grow during the project and each littledia: learn how it feels to edit someone else’s unfinished contribution forms an important part of the whole. Alongtext, ask for assistance, give assistance, analyse one’s with the reflection of their own work and experiencesown view of what information and under which criteria is and the shared reflection of lessons learned, the par-more correct and better than some other information, ticipants certainly almost automatically learned aboutlearn to tolerate the incompleteness on one’s own brief, their ways of making use of wikis as well as the feelingssporadic contributions to the text, trust that someone that the change and this new form of activity awakened in them.SOURCES Engeström, Y. 2004. Ekspansiivinen oppiminen jaAhonen, H., Engeström, Y. & Virkkunen J. 2000. yhteiskehittely työssä (Expansive learning andKnowledge Management – The Second Generation: collaboration at work). Keuruu: Otavan Kirjapaino Oy.Creating Competencies Within and Between Workcommunities in the competence laboratory. In Y. Engeström, Y. 2001. Expansive Learning at Work:Malhotra (ed.) Knowledge Management and Virtual Or- toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization.ganizations. (282–305). London: Idea Group Journal of Education and work, 14 (1), 133–156.Publishing. Hearn G., Tacchi J., Foth M. & Lennie J. 2009.Auvinen, A-M. 2009. Peer Production of e-learning and Action Research and New Media. Concepts, Methodsthe challenge of quality management. Conference and Cases. Hampton Press Inc.: Cresskill, NJ 07626.paper presented in EdUlEARN09 the InternationalConference on Education and New Learning Technolo- Viisautta wikin tekoon (Wisdom in wiki production).gies, Barcelona (Spain), 6.–8.7.2009. Hyvä wikimateriaali (Good wiki material). 2010. Ac- cessed 12 August 2010. URL http://fi.wikibooks.org/Blanchard, A. l. & Markus, M. l. 2002. Sense of virtual wiki/ Viisautta_wikin_tekoon/Hyvä_wikimateriaalicommunity – maintaining the experience of belonging.In System Sciences, 2002. HICSS. Proceedings of Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Snyder, W.M. 2002.the 35th Annual Hawaii International conference on Cultivating Communities of Practice. Harvard BusinessVolume, Issue, 7–10 Jan. 2002, 3566–3575. Press: Boston:Cunningham, W. 2010. wiki History. Accessed 22 Wikibooks. Front page. 2010. Accessed 22 MarchMarch 2010. URL http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiHistory 2010. URL http://fi.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ellonen, H-K., Kosonen, M. & Henttonen, K. 2007. Wikimedia Foundation. Front page. 2010. AccessedThe development of a sense of virtual community. 22 March 2010. URL http://wikimediafoundation.org/International Journal of web based communities 3(1), wiki/Etusivu114–130. Wikipedia. 2010. wiki. Accessed 22 March 2010. URL http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki   reports 2012 69
    • 70    reports 2012
    • RIITTA LISKI AND PÄIVI SVÄRD, EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CITIZENS’ FORUM SKAF; ISTO HUVILA AND KIM HOLMBERG, ÅBO AKADEMI Case: Second Life − a virtual world in the service of education The project Open Networks for Learning (AVO) organised practice-oriented training for people who train virtual worlds and experts who make use of such. On the basis of feedback and research we can say that virtual worlds are highly promising, but they are not everyday in teaching, yet. We have seen several successful projects and learned a great deal about the potential of virtual worlds. We are clearly on the right path.In 2009, the Educational Association of Citizens’ Forum and individual projects during which the students wereorganised four Second Life for Educators courses. The also tutored.courses took four weeks each and they were implement- The goal of the courses was to treat the educationaled completely online. All courses included five sessions possibilities of virtual environments in some depth andin Second Life, and between these, the work took place to offer the participants the possibility to undertake indi-in a Moodle virtual learning environment. vidual projects which they could make use of in their own The practice-oriented courses gave the participants educational or other work later.the basic skills and knowledge for teaching in SecondLife. The courses familiarised the learners with the us- BACKGROUND OF SECOND LIFEer interface, basics of building in Second Life, and the IN EDUCATIONAL USEteaching aids available in that environment. In addition, The educational uses of 3D online digital virtual environ-the students got to explore Second Life environments ments have been studied for decades. Still, it was asalready in educational use and discuss activities and late as early in our millennium that typical office com-teaching methods suitable for this new environment. puters reached the level that enabled the presentation In 2009–2010, Åbo Akademi Department of Informa- of real-time 3D interactive structured graphics in a man-tion Studies arranged two specialist-level courses, Sec- ner that was sufficiently natural from the users’ pointond Life – the new dimension of training and education. of view. Second Life by Linden Research, based in theThe courses started with a day-long face-to-face meeting United States, was different from all other virtual worldsin order to ensure the basic Second Life skills for all that cropped up at the beginning of the millennium inparticipants. After this, all meetings took place in the respect of the user-oriented content production philoso-Second Life virtual environment. The courses contained phy it applied. The freedom of structuring 3D contents inlectures, guest lectures, practical exercises, excursions this virtual world, using the relatively simple modelling   reports 2012 71
    • tools available in the customer application, differed sig- cational sector, and as the interest grew, in 2008, initi- nificantly from all mainstream virtual worlds. ated by Holmberg and Huvila, there was the EduFinland Even though Second Life was opened for users as network established under the Finnish eLearning Centre early as 2003, the number of visitors started grow- to offer educational institutions the possibility of rent- ing significantly only as late as 2006. Today, there are ing virtual land. In 2011, there were 30 participants in- 60 000 – 80 000 users logged into Second Life every volved in EduFinland in second-cycle educational institu- moment of the day. The number of registered users is tions, universities of applied sciences, other universities counted in millions, which makes Second Life the larg- and various other organisations in the field of education est and most visited non-narrative freely navigable vir- and culture. The number of individual teachers in the tual 3D world with adults as the most important user network at that time was over four hundred. group. For a long time by now, Second Life has also been COURSE DESCRIPTIONS the most popular virtual world in education. It is actively Second Life for educators used by more than 6000 teachers and 600 educational (Citizens’ Forum) institutions all over the world. Its users include organi- sations that educate and support learning, ranging from Baseline local schools to top universities. From the viewpoint of In 2008, the first experiments in Finland were being learning and teachers, Second Life’s popularity can be made in the educational uses of Second Life. In that largely explained by the features that made Second Life year, maintained by the Finnish eLearning Centre, the popular in general. Like others, educators can make EduFinland archipelago was opened for Finnish educa- use of the relatively easy tools, the great freedom in tional institutions and the first institutions rented land implementing their own 3D structures and programmed for themselves. Public interest in this new tool and en- functionalities, the relatively economical usage and li- thusiasm about it were great. There was only a little ex- cence fees based on virtual land ownership instead of perience in Finland of Second Life in education and no the number of users, and the versatile communication Second Life trainer training, open for all, was available. and crossmedia features. There was a great demand for such training. Second Life has been considered particularly suited The Educational Association of Citizens’ Forum had for distance education as it offers students the possi- operated in Second Life since 2007 and used the en- bility to experience teamwork and team presence in a vironment for internal online meetings. The staff was more concrete way than what they can experience during trained in the use of the environment, and in the autumn video conferences and in text-based online learning envi- of 2008, they started training external parties also. ronments (Holmberg & Huvila, 2008). The teamworking and collaborative potential of Second Life is increased Course design and course contents through the fact that the environment supports the Compared to other web-based and social media tools, growth of social capital regardless of the sense of com- the Second Life virtual environment requires new skills munity outside the virtual world (Huvila, Holmberg et al., of its trainers. Moving around in the environment is cum- 2010). The environment offers excellent opportunities bersome for the uninitiated at first, the user interface to simulate and visualise various life-like learning situa- is rather complicated, and the logic of the virtual 3D tions as well as opportunities for different types of role environment does not open up very quickly. Leading a play exercises. The pedagogical possibilities of Second group in a virtual environment is surprisingly different Life can be extended to educational organisations exter- from what it is in web conferencing software or class- nal to formal education such as libraries, museums and room teaching. The system requirements provide an ad- various associations (Huvila & Holmberg, 2008). ditional challenge. In Finland, Second Life was introduced in the edu- To counterbalance these challenges, Second Life cational sector more widely in 2008. In the spring of offers us an experiential, immersing educational envi- 2007, Åbo Akademi Department of Information Studies ronment that allows us to make use of a multitude of was the first university department to introduce this en- opportunities for simulating and visualising different vironment to their use. In fall 2007 and spring 2008, situations. the topic was discussed in several functions in the edu- Courses were designed to meet the challenges as72    reports 2012
    • well as possible and also to offer experiences for stu- STRUCTURE AND MATERIALSdents that could not be implemented with other web- OF THE SECOND LIFE FOR EDUCATORSbased tools. COURSE (FROM MOODLE) Each week of the four-week course had its own This course is divided into four one-week modules:theme: 1. Basic skills• The theme of the first week was the basics of 2. Basics of building working in Second Life. The students learned to 3. Teaching aids move around, communicate, edit their user profiles 4. Teaching aids, part 2, Ways for your school to and modify their avatars. No previous Second Life get started in Second Life. skills were required for this course.• The second week introduced the participants to the The Moodle blocks are structured so that each week basics of building in Second Life. In the opinion of contains: our trainers, it was essential to place building in an • the assignments for that week early phase like this because it helped users • instructions after the meeting i.e. summaries of understand the operational logic of Second Life lessons learned during the meeting and also gave them good skills for the use of Second • additional information, if any. Life teaching aids and for building simple teaching aids themselves. Study module #1 – Basic skills in Second Life• The theme of the third week was teaching aids and This week, we will reflect on the new aspects we expect learning environments in Second Life. Second Life to bring to our teaching and learn about some• The fourth week was used for practicing the tools basic functionalities of Second Life: moving around, com- more extensively, and the trainees got practical municating and modifying the appearances of avatars. instructions for how to start their own work in Many of the assignments will be carried out in Sec- Second Life as well as information about various ond Life, after which there will be the opportunity for networks useful for educators. During this week, comments on the discussion forum; any questions pos- there were, exceptionally, two Second Life sessions; sibly set in assignments will also be discussed on the the latter of the two featured a guest lecture about discussion forum. In addition, the discussion forum will the educational uses of Second Life. enable questions in case something was left unclear.Throughout the training, the overall theme was the Assignments/discussion forums:shared reflection on the new opportunities Second Life • Assignment #1.1 Introduce yourselfmight offer for teachers and the issues that teachers • Assignment #1.2 How do you see Second Life now?should pay special attention to in order to make the tool • Assignment #1.3 First meeting in Second Lifebest serve their teaching and their educational institu- • Assignment #1.4 Try out what you just learnedtions. This theme was included in as many practical ex- • Assignment #1.5 Modify the appearance of your avatarercises as possible. • Assignment #1.6 Draft a profile for your avatar • InstructionsImplementation of the courses • Basic skills in Second LifeThe Citizens’ Forum implemented four four-week cours- • Basic skills in Second Life – quick start guidees in 2009, with Ms. Riitta Liski, Designer, Ms. Irma • Additional information and useful linksSyrén, Education Director, and Ms. Päivi Svärd, New • Second Life Knowledge BaseMedia Trainer, in charge of the course design and im- • Edufinland.fi links to Second Life guidesplementation. Ten to twelve students were admitted per • Yadni’s Junkyard in Second Lifecourse; the four courses had 43 participants in total. • Fabulously Free in SL siteThe students consisted mostly of teachers working onvarious levels of formal education and also in organisa- Study module #2 – Basics of building in Second Lifetions involved with other than formal education. This week, you will learn the basics of building in Second Life. We will reflect on where teachers might need these skills. In addition, you will be familiarised with Sula Pinta podcasts about Second Life.   reports 2012 73
    • Specialist and presenter Mr. Teemu Moilanen, of University of Eastern Finland, Savonlinna Learning Centre, has flown the participants in for a lecture. Assignments/discussion forums: • Assignment #3.4 What features do good Second Life • Assignment #2.1 Second meeting in Second Life teaching aids have? • Assignment #2.2 Try out what you just learned • Instructions – construct a bulletin board • Summary of the third meeting • Assignment #2.3 Study different kinds of • Angrybeth’s Education Tools constructions and environments • Additional information and useful links • Assignment #2.4 Sula Pinta Podcast • Free and chargeable teaching aids and information • Instructions for educators – the ICT Library • Importing visual elements, building, • Free teaching aids in Second Life – EdunationII Starjunky’s Note Projector • SLoodle – Second Life + Moodle • Additional information and useful links • Xstreet SL – Second Life web shop • Ivory Tower Library of Primitives in Second Life • Edunation II sandbox in Second Life Study module #4 – Teaching aids, part 2 – Ways for your • EdTech sandbox in Second Life school to get started in Second Life This week, we will learn about some new teaching aids Study module #3 – Teaching aids, part 1 and sources of information and networks for educators, In the third week, we will learn to use certain teaching and you will be informed of how you/your school can get aids and study various learning environments. started in Second Life. Assignments/discussion forums: Assignments/discussion forums: • Assignment #3.1 Third meeting in Second Life • Assignment #4.1 Fourth meeting in Second Life • Assignment #3.2 Practice what you just learned • Assignment# 4.2 Visit the ICT Library and pick up – create a PowerPoint presentation some teaching aids • Assignment #3.3 Familiarise yourself with • Assignment #4.3 Familiarise yourself with educational environments educators’ sources of information and networks74    reports 2012
    • Audio functions have been tested and training is about to The trainees are discussing in pairs and teachers arestart. In the foreground, Päivi Svärd directs the work and monitoring. The green cube shows the time remaining forthe rest of the trainer team observes it in the background. discussion.• Assignment #4.4 Fifth meeting in Second Life• Instructions• Summary of the fourth meeting• Additional information and useful links• EduFinland archipelago website• SLED-Fin mailing list• Second Life areas for educators• Second Life Eduscape Blog, Linden Lab’s new blog on education• Second Life wiki• SL Educators mailing list – SLED• SLED Search• The Educators Archives The participants are presenting their small-group outputs• SLED Blog using the Note Projector tool.• Simteach wiki• ISTE island archipelago in Second LifeCAREFUL PLANNING PROVED IMPORTANTImplementing a course in Second Life requires preciseand detailed planning. We had to pay attention to manyissues that we were unaware of initially. The Citizens’ Fo-rum trainer team spent a great deal of time on advancepreparation and planning.BEFORE THE COURSE STARTEDAll potential applicants to the course were instructed tocheck before submitting their application that their sys-tem met the demanding requirements. In good time before the course started, the partici- During the first lesson, new experiences were gainedpants were instructed to create avatars for themselves through an introductory flight on a flying carpet.   reports 2012 75
    • sons. Our besetting sin was to include too much in each lesson, which caused the lessons to appear hurried. If it was thought that the group should move from one Second Life region to another during a class, the move had to be planned with care. Taking a walk togeth- er in a virtual world is not as simple as in the real world. Inexperienced users have difficulty following others and they easily get tangled in virtual bushes and various con- structions. In these situations, we used seats hauled by a trainer to move the whole group to another location in a handy way. Each trainer tested the required user interface fea- tures and tools in advance. We noticed that trainers needed several avatars with different permissions for action and use. If a trainer tested certain objects as the owner only, problems easily arose during class because students did not have sufficient permissions to use the The course took the participants to destinations that objects. distributed teaching aids to educators free of charge. The trainer team checked even familiar destinations The participants practiced the use of these tools dur- in advance to make sure they were still operable and ing class and when completing the assignments between classes. had not changed by the time of the lesson. When need- ed, new destinations were found that met the goals of the course curriculum. and to install the software. Avatars are residents in Sec- We also had to consider the fact that the partici- ond Life, or virtual figures whom their owners name and pants needed small amounts of Second Life currency, for whom the owners also specify the appearances. The Linden Dollars, during the course. This issue was solved participants also needed headsets. by one of the trainers giving the sufficient amount of vir- Because speech in Second Life caused particularly tual currency to the students, bought on the employer’s many difficulties, we decided to test the audio individu- credit card. ally with each participant, meeting in Second Life even before the course convened. This proved to be the right THREE TRAINERS WAS AN ADVANTAGE solution. Without these one-on-one meetings with the We were fortunate because we had three trainers. This participants in which we checked the functioning of their may sound exaggerated because there were 10–12 stu- audio and their audio settings, the first common Second dents per course, but the solution worked well. Life meeting might have been spent on resolving audio Even during demanding activities during class, we issues. were able to distribute the students into smaller groups and could also deal with those students who had techni- BEFORE EACH INDIVIDUAL MEETING STARTED cal or other difficulties without all of the group having to Each 1.5-hour Second Life training session was planned wait for unreasonably long. In addition, we always had carefully. All planning sessions took place in Second Life a stand-by person ready if a trainer had technical prob- so that ideas could be tested and developed by the train- lems – with audio, for example. With so many trainers, ers even in the planning phase. The work division among it was also easier for us to make sure that all students the trainers was agreed upon and detailed scripts and stayed with us when we moved from one place to an- schedules were drafted for all lessons. There was flex- other. ibility incorporated into the schedules, there were back- up plans, and the least important issues were placed at LESSONS WERE ACTIVITY-BASED the ends of the lessons. During a four-week course, we organised five 1.5-hour Students’ different capabilities for learning and also lessons in Second Life. At the beginning of each lesson, unexpected technical problems made it difficult to esti- we had to spend some time ensuring that all students mate the time required for the different parts of the les- had their audio operating properly. At the beginning of76    reports 2012
    • INSIGHTS FROM THE TRAINING SESSIONS TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR SECOND LIFE TRAINERS 1. Be calm and patient • Guide and instruct in a calm manner, repeat. The participants in the • Monitor and observe the situation, ask and listen. first course put together • Proceed in pace with the group. 10 commandments for 2. Be clear Second Life trainers, in the • Give clear instructions whether you do it orally 1. Be calm! order given in the picture. or in writing. As trainers, we can fully • Use systematic terminology. agree with these 3. Master the required technology commandments. • Practice, test and anticipate. 4. Inspire • Be positive and encouraging. 5. Be prepared for technical problems 2. Be clear! • Check and recheck in advance. • Reserve time. • Have a back-up plan. 6. Learn, search and find • Find out about new things. • Keep track of useful places, things and practices. 3. Master the required 7. Network technology! • Be open towards new people. 8. Do not work alone • Share responsibility, use several trainers with clear work divisions. 9. Consider group sizes • Keep the groups small if active participation is required. • Pair up the participants for assignments between classes. 10. Have mercy on yourself • Learn from your mistakes: muck-ups are gifts. • You cannot help all possible technical problems. COMMANDMENTS FOR SECOND LIFE STUDENTS 1. Practice a great deal • Practice your new skills with diligence. • Learn by doing, try again. 2. Work together 1. Practice! • Learn together, share experiences. • Explore with friends. On the second course, we 3. Be brave switched viewpoints and the • Move, wander and try courageously. students reflected on the • Present questions, ask for help. conditions for students’ suc- 4. Be calm and patient. • Observe the situation and others in it. cess in Second Life training. 2. Work together! • Be polite, ask to be given the floor. It is easy to agree with these 5. Take time and use a peaceful place guidelines too. • Close your phone and the door to your office. 6. Set your computer system in order • You need a good connection, a powerful computer and a headset - in working order. 3. Be brave!   reports 2012 77
    • each course, it was agreed that during lessons, trainers There usually were two assignments per course mod- and students alike would use their avatar names when ule. They were completed in pairs. This proved to be a speaking to one another and referring to one another. good practice and we had a great deal of positive feed- This was intended to reduce mix-ups and errors in the in- back about it. Working in pairs was easier and most of terplay of people who were unfamiliar with one another. all, participants thought it more fun than lonely efforts in By default, the user interface shows names above the an unfamiliar environment. Outputs from these assign- heads of avatars, and it is also possible to check names ments were posted in the groups’ classroom in Second in avatars’ profiles. Life or reported on in the course Moodle. Calm mind-sets were useful for instructors. We tried to give all instructions as clearly as possible and used MOODLE SUPPLEMENTED AND as logical and systematic a terminology as we could. Oc- PROVIDED STRUCTURE casionally, we checked verbally that everyone was still The functionality-specific instructions studied during les- onboard, and during activities, we concretely monitored sons, a great number of useful links and the assign- how the avatars took their places and how the work pro- ments were all collected in Moodle. Moodle discussion gressed. forums were important for the courses because stu- The lessons were very activity-oriented and concen- dents could use them for feedback, questions and re- trated on the practice of the user interface and the vari- flection on issues that were not dealt with in class due ous tools. Long introductions were avoided, and even to the shortage of time. The completion of the assign- group discussions in Second Life were rather brief. We ments was also reported on these forums. wanted to use the Second Life sessions for teaching Moodle supplemented the training that took place practical skills as effectively as possible. Opportunities in Second Life; information was easily structured sys- for deeper discussion, reflection and questions were ar- tematically in it, and materials could be collected in one ranged for the participants in Moodle. place. A 3D virtual environment is not the best option For most participants, operating in a virtual world for those purposes. The course Moodle was considered was completely new and lessons were very intensive important and at the end of each course students ex- experiences for them. We tried to include some experi- pressed the wish that Moodle would be kept open for ential elements in all lessons that could not have been some time after the course. implemented on other platforms. Blunders and absurd situations happened often dur- FEEDBACK AND MATERIALS COLLECTED ing the lessons. These situations brought zest to the DURING THE COURSES course and made studying outright hilarious. In the new Participant feedback environment, both students and trainers blundered and After each course, we collected participant feedback stumbled, and we tried to learn from such situations re- with a Webropol online survey. The surveys had 25 re- membering the maxim “muck-ups are gifts”. spondents. The courses were graded as excellent by 52.1% of NEW SKILLS WERE PRACTICED THROUGH the respondents, as good by 42.7% and as satisfactory ASSIGNMENTS BETWEEN CLASSES by 5.2% of them. The use of Second Life requires a great deal of individu- The total duration was considered good by 68% of al practice; therefore, all training modules contained as- the respondents and too short by 32% of them. The signments in which students could revise and practice number of assignments satisfied the participants: as the issues from the lessons during the interval between much as 92% thought the number of assignments ap- the lessons. These assignments included excursions to propriate, and only 8% thought them too many. Second Life destinations which would be interesting and The quality of teaching and guidance was considered useful from the future trainers’ point of view and also excellent by 84% of the respondents and good by 16% included familiarisation with various sources of informa- of them. The quality of the assignments was considered tion in the web. These assignments included the modifi- excellent by 56% of the respondents and good by 44% cation of avatars’ appearances: there is a limited num- of them. The quality of learning materials and sources ber of predefined avatars and they do not necessarily of information was considered excellent by 52%, good by please all users as they are; it was also practical during 44% and satisfactory by 4% of the respondents. lessons that avatars did not look alike. The quality of the Second Life learning environment78    reports 2012
    • was considered excellent by 36%, good by 52% and sat- • Guidance in Second Life was good, nobody feltisfactory by 12% of the respondents. The respective too clumsy.numbers for Moodle were: excellent 52.2 %, good 41.7 • My learning was advanced by the appropriate% and satisfactory 4.2 %. phasing of the instruction, pair work, individual The usefulness of the course for the participants’ feedback, interaction with others and learningown learning/work was assessed as follows: excellent in a group.48%, good 44% and satisfactory 8%. Factors hindering the learning andFree-form feedback the reaching of the goalsIn the free-form feedback, the respondents analysed fac- By far, the greatest factor hindering learning during thetors helping or hindering their learning and the reaching course was the students’ shortage of time, which hadof their goals, giving development ideas and improve- its impacts on how they completed their assignments,ment proposals for the organisers. Italics indicate ed- studied the materials and found time slots for theirited excerpts from free-form feedback. pair work. Having two meetings in the last week of the course was also criticised.Factors helping the learning and • Studying was very intensive, which had its goodthe reaching of the goals points. Because the course was in the spring andThe good team spirits and the relaxed atmosphere dur- required learning about a totally new field on top ofing the courses were highlighted in the feedback. Pair one’s regular work, it was not possible to benefitwork during assignments also received a great deal of from it fully.positive feedback: • Pair work was rewarding but it would have required• Good team, humour and atmosphere that matching schedules, so we occasionally only promote learning. pretended to be working together.• Working together with someone as a pair, I learned • May is very busy for teachers so there should not be much more than I would have learned alone. more than one meeting per week. Otherwise it is• Pair work forced us to reserve the time for the impossible to arrange the time for any homework assignments. that is supposed to be conducted in pairs.• Working on the assignments with my partner was fun • The shortage of time is always the problem; and helped solve the problems. We also clarified lots this time I clearly marked the hours required by of other interesting problems together. this course in my calendar, and it worked.Working in small teams during lessons was consideredgood:• Three trainers attending almost all of the sessions made sure that all participants got the personal attention they required in their own levels.• Working in small teams made it easier to learn; the trainers had time to monitor us and listen to what we were doing.The use of Moodle to supplement Second Life was con-sidered a viable solution, and discussions in Moodleand Second Life were rewarding. The complete courses, i.e. the guidance in SecondLife sessions, how the subject matter was organised,the assignments, their levels, materials, hints and even Technical problems were brought up too, but they werelinks got steadily positive feedback; feedback was posi- not as significant as the shortage of time:tive also concerning the trainers’ professional skills, • Audio problems frustrated me. There was no way tofriendliness, active approach, feedback skills and their help them and they prevented me from attending theway of noting all participants individually. third session and some pair work as well.   reports 2012 79
    • The differences in the students’ baseline skill levels and The starting point for the courses was that the par- the pace of the training sessions were brought up: ticipants were expected to have previous experience of • Students of many different levels attended. I was a Second Life or similar environments and they wanted to first-timer and had trouble keeping up with the develop and expand their skills and expertise through others. On the other hand, this presented a good project work and theoretical reflection. The course challenge and studying did not feel too easy at any counted for 3 ECTS credits at the university. Despite point, nor was it frustrating. the requirement of previous experience, we started the • The Second Life sessions sometimes felt too short course with a day of face-to-face education to review the because we were covering issues at such a quick features and basic use of the Second Life customer ap- pace. It was good that help and guidance were plication. available in Moodle after each session. Design and implementation of the course DEVELOPMENT IDEAS AND IMPROVEMENT The course consisted of two modules, the first one of PROPOSALS FOR TRAINERS which was used for familiarising the students with the The suggested development ideas did not clearly bring theory and practice of Second Life in education and up any wishes common to all respondents. Many of training. During the second module, the students imple- them were satisfied with the course as such and hoped mented their own projects under the guidance of the for similar further training. Some replies, again, empha- trainers, including project reports that were intended to sised the shortage of time and asked for more slack expand on the skills acquired and observations made in the schedule through e.g. a wider distribution of the during the practical work. training modules on the calendar. In addition to the basic use of Second Life, the first module included lectures and exercises in building and programming in the Second Life environment, as well as an extensive review of the best practices of Second Life in education in Finland and elsewhere, and an in-depth review of the theory of virtual worlds in education. In addition, internationally known guest lecturers were in- The strengths of vited to participate in instruction through Second Life. During the course, we also went on excursions within Second Life and other Second Life to see different types of destinations and virtual environments are environments relevant for training and education; some of the environments were those of educational institu- partly in the strong sense of tions, some were otherwise useful from the point of view presence and partly in the of learning. During the project work, students received one- unlimited possibilities on-one tutoring and group instruction to support their they offer for users. project ideas. The subjects for the students’ projects covered a wide range from instruction in intercultural communication to the production of teaching aids for Second Life instruction, the improvement of the inter- nal communication of a training organisation, and ex- SECOND LIFE — THE NEW DIMENSION tensive international cooperation projects. The key is- OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION – sues for the success of the students’ projects seemed A SPECIALIST-LEVEL COURSE (ÅBO AKADEMI) to include the students’ enthusiasm and how specific and concrete the subjects were. The key issues also Baseline included how clearly the students’ teaching ideas were In connection with the AVO project, the Åbo Akademi connected to certain features and possibilities of the Department of Information Studies arranged specialist- Second Life virtual world, possibilities that make Sec- level courses for advanced Second Life teachers and ond Life different from environments based on physical trainers, Second Life – the new dimension of training presence. Typically, the routines relating to teamwork and education. and international cooperation worked without any techni-80    reports 2012
    • Discussion ongoing in the small group space of the Suomi ry archipelago.cally demanding preparations, and the student projects ing of Second Life in training and education in a wayalso proved that relatively simple modifications in 3D en- that helped them call into question certain assumptionsvironments can enable the implementation of conceptu- relating to this environment and to the use of 3D vir-ally demanding wholes that make full use of the special tual environments in general. It is a different matter tofeatures of Second Life. Virtual presence and the isola- introduce an educational institution or organisation totion of Second Life from any reality based on physical a virtual world than to use this virtual environment pur-presence contributed to projects related to entrepreneur posefully in order to reach the goals of the organisation.education in which the starting point was to provide the On the other hand, the creation of learning situationsparticipating students with certain foundations for es- in the Second Life environment does not and cannottablishing businesses within the virtual world. consist of modelling experiences and situations of the The head trainers during the course were Mr. Isto Hu- physical world, then transferring them as such to thevila and Mr. Kim Holmberg, the assistant trainerin the new environment.spring of 2010 was Ms. Katja Hilska-Keinänen, and ap- One of the course participants reflected on the con-pearances were made by a group of guest teachers, e.g. cept of relaxing environment in his final report, com-Ms. Sheila Webber (FT, University of Sheffield) and Mr. ing to the conclusion that the definition of it was not aTerry Beaubois (Professor, Montana State University). The straightforward issue.practical implementation of the course was greatly facili- Challenges for the learning situations were present-tated by the fact that all trainers had extensive experi- ed by the technical problems encountered as well as theence in Second Life user training in various contexts and baseline skill levels of the students. Connectivity prob-also knew in depth the field of Second Life in education. lems for the participants (students and trainers alike) as well as stability issues with the customer applicationExperiences and insights were regrettably common and clearly encumbered theMany of the same questions were repeated during the development of virtual world education. These problemscourses. In accordance with the goals of the courses, also demonstrate that the use of virtual worlds in edu-the students succeeded in expanding their understand- cation and training is a relatively recent phenomenon.   reports 2012 81
    • CONCLUSIONS worlds. Even though Second Life is suited for lectures and graphical presentations, its best features will re- Strengths of Second Life in education main unexploited if nothing more is required than lec- In comparison with traditional text-based learning en- tures and slides. vironments and video conferencing applications, the The experience of learning to know other people in strength of Second Life is in the versatile functionalities, Second Life is very genuine. It supports team formation the visual aspects that resemble the physical world but which seems to take place more easily in Second Life exceed the limits of that reality, and the strong sense than in traditional web-based learning environments. of presence experienced by students. Students can be Students often feel lonely in traditional web environ- activated and their participation can be prompted with ments because there is no synchronous communication collaborative methods similar to those used in physical- among students and trainers. This occasionally leads to world situations. Organising small group work in Second students dropping out. The strong sense of presence in Life takes place naturally, because instructions for group a virtual environment may, in the best case, cause the formation can be given on the basis of visual reference number of drop-outs to decline, but we have no scientific points (such as sets of chairs or pillows and small group proof for this claim yet. spaces). In learning situations, Second Life allows students This makes it possible for teaching to accommodate and teachers alike the possibility to manifest their per- sonalities. On the other hand, the environment tends to raise surprising, comical and even absurd situations that could not be anticipated or planned by anyone. During class, the atmosphere is relaxed and full of fun when these surprises are assimilated flexibly and with humour. In practice, co-teaching has proved to be a vi- able solution: at any time, there is one active trainer with one or two support persons monitoring the situation in Virtual worlds are the background, providing assistance where needed. promising but they The roles of trainer and support person should circulate. Teaching in Second Life is intensive, and changing roles are not everyday will help trainers retain their activity level and focus. Role changes also make learning situations more var- in teaching yet. ied. In activity-based situations, the use of co-teachers allows the students to be distributed into small groups. The strengths of Second Life and other virtual envi- ronments are partly in the strong sense of presence and partly in the unlimited possibilities they offer for users. In a virtual world, teachers can build, create, simulate and present matters that would be very difficult or im- possible in traditional classrooms. For this reason alone it is important that the possibilities of virtual worlds be studied and the best means be found for us to use different learners’ different ways of learning, particularly these new environments in education. in the case that some traditional web-based learning en- vironment is used in addition to Second Life. When the CHALLENGES OF THE use of Second Life is planned, the similarities between SECOND-LIFE ENVIRONMENT the virtual and the physical worlds form an advantage The greatest difficulties in learning situations are relat- for the planning of instruction and the design of learning ed to technology: slow or breaking network connections, environments particularly at first, because both teach- inoperable audio functionalities, and deficient computer ers and learners have limited experience of virtual en- capacities. At worst, a student or trainer cannot partici- vironments at that point. But when using Second Life, pate in a lesson because there is no sound, the avatar one must be sensitive to the differences between these will not move or the objects that were intended to be82    reports 2012
    • worked with will not appear on screen. Insufficient basic so that they are not too heavy to load. This was meantICT and hardware skills may keep some people from par- to minimise the problems experienced in learning situ-ticipating in Second Life training courses. In particular, ations due to insufficient hardware capacity and slowaudio adjustments in their computers have proved to be network connections. The overall spatial design and allan area that many people do not master. Such skills- building were based on the purpose and the way of userelated problems can be alleviated by specific support of these spaces — they serve as a learning solution andservices and instructions, but it is more difficult to help a conference facility; excessive visual effects and showyissues related to external technical limitations. structures were specifically not our starting point. In 2009, collaborative writing and showing the out-put to others was difficult in Second Life. The situation FINALLYhas since improved with the emergence of media render- Virtual worlds are promising but they are not everydaying interfaces suitable for the display of web pages. The in teaching yet. We must gain much more informationproblem is not completely solved, yet, because Second on virtual worlds and their potential through researchLife is used on various customer applications, some of and experimentation before we can integrate them intowhich do not render media appropriately. our everyday teaching. We have seen several successful Real-time speech in Second Life is a key feature and projects and learned a great deal about the potential ofsupports the use of Second Life as a learning environ- virtual worlds. We are clearly on the right path.ment. However, the delay in sound reproduction and thelack of any visual signs indicating the intention to speakcause the problem of overlapping speech. At worst ina large group in particular, this may lead to some stu-dents’ unwillingness to participate in spoken commu-nication. When planning training courses and schedules, it isnecessary to observe Linden Lab’s service schedulesand restarts of their servers. Unfortunately, advanceinformation about these is not always available. There-fore, trainers and students should discuss in advancethe procedures to apply in the cases in which their envi-ronments shut down in the middle of a session. Mastering Second Life will necessarily require time.If an educational institution is planning to implementcourses in Second Life, it should be prepared to allowthe respective trainers to spend enough time learningto know the environment and acquiring the necessaryskills. The institution should also invest in sufficientlypowerful computers and fast network connections.EXPERIENCE ADVANCEDTHE DESIGNING OF BARRIERLESSSECOND LIFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTSAt the end of 2009, the Citizens’ Forum started plansfor the purchase of a Second Life archipelago of its own.The building plans for Suomi ry., established at the be-ginning of 2010, were based on the experiences fromthese training courses. The space was wanted openwithout many obstructions to vision. Sound-proofed,colour-coded rooms were built for small group work,and the moving from one space to another can be ac-complished with ease. All spaces were implemented   reports 2012 83
    • 84    reports 2012
    • ELIAS AARNIO, INNOPARK PROGRAMMES OY / EDUCOSS Case: Educoss succeeded in promoting educational uses of free and open source software (FOSS) Educoss refers to the educational activities of COSS ry, a Finnish Open Source Competence Centre, promoting the educational use of free and open source software. This report will explain briefly what this type of software is, and using three examples, describe some practical activities undertaken as well as their outcomes.The first of our cases is the basic education in the City of 1. The programme must be freely redistributable.Kemi: pupils’ workstations were switched to a Linux thin 2. The programme delivery must include source codeclient system. The second of our cases is the establish- or source code must be freely available.ment of the Educoss-mailing list to support the use of open 3. The creation and distribution of derived works mustsource software, and the results obtained. The third of our be allowed.cases describes the use of open source software in the 4. The license may restrict modified source code fromDream School project in the City of Kauniainen, with Edu- being distributed only if the license allows thecoss as a collaborator. The actual development work was distribution of patch files and their source code.started in Kauniainen before the AVO project kicked off, so It may also be required that derived works, whenAVO had no active role in the working of Dream School. The redistributed, carry a different name or versionsimilarity of interests and objectives as well as the fruitful- number from the original software.ness of the ongoing dialogue were the reasons why the 5. Any person or group of persons must notwriter of this report visited the Online Educa 2011 confer- discriminated against.ence in Berlin to present the Dream School concept there. 6. No discrimination against fields of endeavour is allowed.What does the educational use of free and 7. The rights attached to the program must apply to allopen source software (FOSS) entail? to whom the program is redistributed.The objective of Educoss is to promote the use of open 8. The licence must not depend on the program’s be-source software in education and learning. Open source ing part of a larger software distribution; all rightssoftware means software that meets the criteria specified related to the programme must remain even if theby the Open Source Initiative1: programme is extracted from the larger distribution.1 http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoin_l%C3%A4hdekoodi#Avoimen_l.C3.A4hdekoodin_m.C3.A4.C3.A4ritelm.C3.A4   reports 2012 85
    • 9. The license must not restrict other software. The people did not wish to emphasise the social-philosophi- programme can be redistributed with other pro- cal meaning of the openness of source code but rather grams that do not offer open source code. considered those aspects an encumbrance. There was 10. icense must be technology-neutral. No provision L a need therefore for a concept that would emphasise of the rights may be predicated on any distribution the point of view of software development. The source technology or user interface. code of a programme is like the blueprint of a house. Therefore, the coinage open source, seen as referring to The most essential feature from the point of view of us- the openness, availability and reuse of source code, was ers is that many of the rights that usually belong to the voted the best term in a 1998 conference3. writer of the programme such as the right to copy, modify and distribute it, are now transferred to the users of the The Free Software Foundation definition for free software programme. This has the following consequences: is short: 1. There is greater freedom in the use, modification • freedom 0: the freedom to run the program, and distribution of programmes. for any purpose 2. Programmes are free of charge. • freedom 1: the freedom to study how the program When all people have the right to redistribute pro- works, and change it so it does your computing as grammes, programmes become free of charge in you wish practice. Even though there is nothing prohibiting • freedom 2: the freedom to redistribute copies so you the sale of open source software, selling is difficult, can help your neighbour because the same software is also available freely • freedom 3: the freedom to distribute copies of your distributed and not subject to a charge. The free-of- modified versions to others to give the whole charge distribution is the most common practice; community a chance to benefit from your changes.4 the business models built on open source software are based on support and maintenance services, From the users’ point of view, it is important to know offering the software as a service, and also tailoring that in practice, the concepts of free software and open the software. source software are almost identical. The co-existence of these two separate concepts relates to history, organ- The concept of open source is relatively new. It was isations and personalities. It is quite justified to use the coined in 1998 to replace or supplement the older con- term free and open source software, FOSS, that unites cept of free software. The concept of free software2, in- these two traditions. The antonym of FOSS is proprietary troduced by Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free software. Software movement in 1983, presented two problems. From the point of view of learning and education, the The word “free” means “free-of-charge” as well as “free- benefits of FOSS can be roughly seen as taking place in of-constraint” or “at liberty”. For this reason, people and two levels: 1) the baseline level in which the freedom parties who do not see or understand the significance from cost of these programmes is the most essential and benefits associated with the liberties related to benefit, and 2) the more advanced level in which the free software, as we listed them above, from the users’ liberties acquired under the FOSS licence provide the point of view, tend to classify this sort of software as actual benefits. Level 1 can be exemplified by the instal- freeware. The fact that a programme is available free lation of FOSS such as the Firefox browser, LibreOffice of charge does not mean that its source code would be package or the GIMP image manipulation programme for available or that the other criteria regarding openness of all users in a school community. The second level can source code would be fulfilled. Therefore, when discuss- be exemplified by the use of Linux thin clients in Finnish ing free and open source software, we pound on the schools. This means that schools no longer use PC’s difference between free-of-charge and free-of-constraint. that run their operating systems on their hard drives. As Stallman put it, ”’free’ as in ‘free speech’, not as in Instead of internal mass memories, workstations start ‘free beer’”. through the local network. The core components of the The other problem was related to the fact that many operating system are installed in workstations and appli- cations are run on central units that serve all users. The 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software benefits include more economical maintenance costs, 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source the accessibility of one’s own tabletop and settings at 4 http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapaa_ohjelmisto any workstation, and centralised maintenance: instead86    reports 2012
    • of hundreds of isolated PC’s, we have a network with After the meeting, work continued in the form of con-only one server or a cluster of servers to maintain. sultation and planning. To extend the LTSP system to cover all of the basic education in the city was consid-CASE: BASIC EDUCATION IN KEMI IS NOW ered an interesting challenge. Once we knew that weUSING LINUX THIN CLIENTS were going to use Linux as our operating system, we hadThe work of Educoss with the City of Kemi started when to verify the compatibility of the various AV systems suchthe project for to renew the IT environment for the lo- as document cameras and video projectors with Linux,cal basic education was first initiated. In my role as di- and include the requirement in all requests to tender.rector of Educoss activities in autumn 2009, I met Mr.Antti Turunen, who had implemented a trial project withLinux thin clients in the basic education in the City ofKemi. The main motive had been to introduce a systemthat would require only modest maintenance efforts andwork on the current hardware platform, one half of which The underlying principle of LTSPwas over 7 years old5. The main problem in Kemi was is simple: There are no operat-that the old, heterogeneous hardware required a greatdeal of maintenance. The maintenance was centralised, ing systems or applicationsbut the age of the hardware pushed the failure rate up; installed on the hard drives ofin addition, the hardware was becoming too old and tooweak to run newer, heavier operating systems and ap- individual workstations.plications. A solution was needed that would extend thelifespans of these old workstations and ensure moreequal access to properly operating IT resources for pu-pils in different schools. Therefore, Turunen had startedtests with Linux Terminal Server Project6, or the LTSPsystem. For others considering the acquisition of an LTSP sys- The underlying principle of LTSP is simple: There are tem, the most essential discussions related to whetherno operating systems or applications installed on the maintenance services should be in-house or purchasedhard drives of individual workstations. The clients start externally. It was difficult to estimate the workload re-through the network and programmes are run mainly on quired for maintenance. The first challenge is related tothe server. A client is like a window across the network the fact that the test use of an LTSP system is reward-to view the activities that are taking place in the server. ing and educational for technically oriented people. In-The user experience is still identical to using a “regular” teresting work leads to the hours not being counted verycomputer. carefully. The other factor is the LTSP community that No resources were available for changing the PC provides support and also a social reference point forstock for newer. LTSP seemed to offer particularly many those involved, creating a sense of belonging for them.benefits for the user. Turunen’s experiences of the tests In such an enthusiastic atmosphere, it is only too easywere encouraging: all of the old hardware was made use to underestimate the workload actually required.of as clients in the new system, and the only new pur- The other factor easy to overlook when consideringchase was a server that cost approximately 3000 euros. one’s personal efforts is that the whole should not de-Turunen installed the test server without interruption in pend on the skills of one expert. A system different fromhis regular work routines. the mainstream should have maintenance routines op- In autumn 2009, dialogue started between Turunen erating even when the support person is ill or transfersand Aarnio. Thoughts were exchanged e.g. on various to other duties. In addition, routine maintenance work isimplementation models, cost formation and technology. quite different from the comprehensive development ofOn 13 January 2010, a seminar was organised for the educational ICT systems. It is necessary to ensure thatstaff of the City of Kemi Education Department concern- working hours are not taken up by routine maintenanceing the use of free and open source software, with a spe- to the detriment of development work.cial focus on the character of the LTSP system. Abouttwenty people attended from various schools, the de- 5 http://avoinkoulu.coss.fi/images/7/72/Antti_Turunen_Avoin_koulu.pdfpartment of education and the IT department. 6 http://www.ltsp.org/   reports 2012 87
    • The project calculated the total costs for various im- erating system), has been searching for a suitable LTSP plementation models in Kemi. The public procurement learning environment as of autumn 20108. A two-day process was used to obtain offers for the maintenance seminar9 was organised in Kemi in connection with this of the system. Two offers were received, one of which project in October 2011, with 40 participants in person fell short on the requirements given. The bid was grant- and more than 10 through the web. ed to Opinsys Oy that offered a level of cost per worksta- tion significantly lower than what the previous model had Assessment shown. According to a memorandum by Turunen, written Supporting the Kemi case was easy and simple in the in January 2010, the costs in the next five years from sense that the technical groundwork was completed. the old Windows-based model would have come up to Supporting the cooperation that was already taking 504 700 euros; the costs from an in-house LTSP sys- place across municipal boundaries consisted mainly of tem, 388 300 euros; and an LTSP system acquired as acquiring additional contacts and networking. On the an external service, 342 510 euros. local level, support consisted of providing expert help: The City of Kemi decided to purchase their LTSP sys- even though expertise in Kemi was perfectly level with tem from Opinsys Oy. At the time of writing this report, mine, they seemed to need an external spokesman who the first contract period is about to end, and Kemi is re- spoke the same language and could convince the locals considering the situation. Despite the good points of the that the Linux thin client concept, unfamiliar to most lo- selected system, there have been certain difficulties. cals, was not a weird idea dreamed up by a few eccentric Windows is so much more common an operating sys- individuals. Apparently, they became convinced. tem that some applications and accessories are availa- The equipping of the Syväkangas school succeeded ble for Windows only. Fortunately, also Linux-compatible well and the school has been very satisfied with the ICT alternatives exist. In addition, work station technology level and performance10. The process taught us that an in the education department differs from that of other LTSP implementation should not be seen as an isolat- departments of the city. Active communication with the ed event. In addition to the over-enthusiasm mentioned IT department is required therefore, because the LTSP previously, there is the danger that the implementation system is not an isolated island. The system uses the process be seen as an outsourcing process and there- city’s data network, for example. In Kemi, communica- fore good in itself, because outsourcing has the ring of tion did not work in all respects. effectiveness. Unfortunately, a hurried outsourcing pro- Due to the increased cost-effectiveness and central- cess usually makes matters worse than letting the cur- ised maintenance, the number of workstations in Kemi is rent state remain would do. Whatever the implementa- significantly higher than before. Before the LTSP system tion model, the planning of the whole has to be allowed was introduced, basic education had 250 PC’s and gen- time, and even if the LTSP system under way were the eral upper secondary education had 80. At the beginning implementors’ pet baby, they need to remember that it of October 2011, the stock had increased to 425 clients has to be an integral part of its environment. in basic education and the same 80 remained in general upper secondary education7. The number of LTSP clients CASE: EDUCOSS MAILING LIST AS A is so large now that it may become more economical to PEER SUPPORT TOOL organise their maintenance in-house in the future. Even before the AVO project it was known that free Even after the introduction of the LTSP system, the and open source software were in active use in many study of open source software has continued in Kemi. A schools. There was a particularly active community project funded by the Finnish National Board of Educa- formed around LTSP that used to arrange annual LTSP tion, Oppimisympäristö vaihtoehtoisessa käyttöjärjest- workshop weekends11 with a very light organisation. The elmässä (A learning environment in an alternative op- core team knew one another well and was active. Com- munication took place through email among the core 7 http://koti.kapsi.fi/~elias/Keminseminaari/KEMI_peruskoulut_ja_ team, and a part of it scattered to various Linux forums lukio_kayttavat_Linux_jarjestelmaa.pdf 8 http://edukemix.blogspot.com/ in a rather sporadic manner. From the viewpoint of the 9 http://edukemix.blogspot.com/2011/06/seminaari-kemissa- educational use of FOSS, it would have been essential 5-6-10-2011.html to have the communication take place in one forum. 10 http://prezi.com/_m67r67mmz4b/syvakankaan-koulu-eduke In autumn 2009, social media had not yet become mix-05102011/ 11 See e.g. 2010 workshop site http://wiki.ubuntu-fi.org/LTSP5_ popular as the communication media for the masses. Ty%C3%B6paja_2010 Because everyone in the target group used e-mail as88    reports 2012
    • one of their daily tools, the core team decided to estab- Assessmentlish a mailing list. Innopark Oy did not have one single The list has proved a good means of pulling togetherserver on which the popular Mailman mailing list man- discussion about the educational use of free and openager software could have been installed. A natural part- source software. Email as a communication mediumner was Suomen avoimien tietojärjestelmien keskus – has probably been overshadowed by the more enticingCOSS ry (Centre for Open Systems and Solutions) 12 that social media. Email messages do not get distributed onwas already using several mailing lists. Therefore, COSS social media channels even though that would be pos-could offer the required technical platform free of cost. sible when public archives are used. The reason for thisIt was justified to use the COSS system also because is probably our ingrained idea of email as a private formCOSS could be expected to continue in operation longer of communication.than the AVO project was expected to continue. If the list The use of email as the daily communication toolhad been set up in a service rented on AVO funds, there is the smallest common denominator among the list’swould have been a problem at the end of AVO as to who subscribers. The highly technically oriented subscrib-would foot the bill and where the list and the related ers do not seem to have stopped using the IRC 16 asarchives would be transferred at the end of the project. their principal social communication tool. Most teachersThis is the typical fate of project-funded www-page ad- do not have the time and energy for many social mediadresses and contents. As it is, the list continues in op- channels for their own communication. Email, simply,eration regardless of the fact that the project ended. The still is the smallest common denominator. Skilled emaillist was established in March 2009 13. users filter their list messages into subfolders and read Software-implementation of mailing lists makes it them at times that best suit them. In fact, this is one ofpossible to establish public archives for list items. All the most important reasonsarchived messages can be read on www-pages. In addi- for using good mailing pro-tion, users can subscribe and unsubscribe for the list in- grammes. Our FOSS activistdependently when, for example, their mailing addresses group has occasionally dis- Email as a communicationchange, and adjust their settings for e.g. whether they cussed whether the view ofwish to receive messages as they arrive or only in daily mailing programmes as inef- medium has probably beencompilations. In view of communication, the greatest fective and burdening tools overshadowed by the morebenefit from a public mailing list comes from the sub- is simply not due to the factscription page at a regular address which also gives the that most of the commonly enticing social media.link to the list archives 14. Information about subscrib- used email programmes doing to the list and about its contents can be distributed not feature these tools thatthrough different channels. would be so essential for ef- The amount of traffic on our list has fluctuated great- fective work.ly. In summer when schools are out, there have typically On the other hand, tech-been fewer than ten messages. On the busiest months, nology has surpassed mailing lists. Sending variousthe number of messages has risen to more than one types of pictorial information and other attachmentshundred 15. We do not have retrospective information through mailing lists to a great number of recipientsabout the number of subscribers. After the list was es- would be outright senseless. Still more importantly,tablished, information about it was sent to LTSP com- communication should be integrated to other work: amunities and many FOSS lists and forums, and if I re- communication system should enable collaborative writ-member right, a little more than 40 persons subscribed ing and other work of that kind. A suitable tool wouldto the list. At the moment of writing this report, there are consist of a hybrid of wiki, web forum and email, fea-68 subscribers to the list. turing user-specific options for modifications and distri- The communication on the list has focused on LTSP- bution in social media. However, it is essential for therelated issues. This is probably due to the fact that after solution to be implemented so that it would not containthe list was established, it was advertised mostly amongLTSP communities. There have been a few other sub- 12 http://coss.fi/jects. Common to them all has been their high technical 13 ttp://lists.coss.fi/pipermail/educoss/2009-March/002287.html h 14 ttp://lists.coss.fi/mailman/listinfo/educoss hlevel. There have been no individuals new to the use of 15 ee e.g. October 2009 archives: http://lists.coss.fi/pipermail Sfree and open source software, or at least they have not educoss/2009-October/date.htmlrevealed the fact. 16 ttp://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRC h   reports 2012 89
    • parts that could change or cease to exist at any mo- Dream School Cloud Services ment. Therefore, the consolidation of various gratuitous Dream School Infrastructure internet services will not form any viable solution. The Dream School Platform probability of extensive changes is too great. zee-core communication Load balancer system CASE KAUNIAINEN DREAM SCHOOL: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AMOUNTS TO SERVICES PROCURED FOR LEARNING firewall PURPOSES As we mentioned, the AVO project had no active role in1 IP address the actual output of Dream School. Instead, the project out worked with spreading the good practices and lessons learned in Kauniainen. This case description was written by a bystander well acquainted with the matters. games Educators in Kauniainen have been interested in Dream School Services educational uses of information and communications technologies since the mid-1980’s. At the beginningThe technical structure of Dream School services (Allan Schneitz, 2011 Dream or our millennium, the situation in Kauniainen schoolsSchool). was disquieting: most of the workstations were broken or waiting for service. There were so few workstations Past Present that it was difficult to use them in education – even pair work was difficult. The school department thought they could handle matters differently. Schools and the school department wanted more say regarding the information Multiprofessional technology they had to use. approach The core of the Dream School concept is that school forms a structure that serves learning. Learners, i.e. pu- Student pils and teachers as their co-learners, are the subjects Teacher Students that form the reason of existence for the school and its structures. Everything should be in the service of learn- ing. In addition to information, schools provide learners with skills important for them in their later lives. TheIn Dream School, the focus is on the learner (Allan Schneitz, 2011 Dream Dream School concept is founded on the humanisticSchool). idea of man and the concept of sustainable develop- ment in its extended meaning. The school also pro- motes socially sustainable development as ecological. NO UNDUE RESPECT FOR MACHINES In our changing world, it is important to be able to search, understand, manipulate and combine informa- tion. Information technology forms a tool for dealing with information. The baseline in Dream School in relation to information technology is to understand it as a tool in the service of learning. Information technology is di- vested of all undue respect. The bitterness of IT prob- lems experienced earlier led to a process of thinking, designing and defining how these schools wanted their IT world to be, what they truly needed and wanted. It was known that acquisitions require clear ideas and clear descriptions of needs in order to succeed. The desire toDevelopment model for Dream School services. improve the opportunities for educational use of infor-90    reports 2012
    • LTSP workshop: LTSP workshop in Päivölä Folk High School in May 2010.In the background, pictures of workshops held in Kokkola, 2009, and in the Valamo Monastery, 2008.mation technology also motivated the people involved to powers, such as the right to modify and use the softwareimprove their procurement skills. in the cases of e.g. the vendors’ bankruptcy or essen- In Kauniainen, the people involved understood that tial changes in their business strategies. A fictitious ex-it is better to build a comprehensive whole one piece ample sheds light onto the matter: The school is usingat a time rather than try to specify a huge block to be software A and software B – these are, say, the learningprocured at one go. Their attention was also on how im- platform and an application for practicing the vocabu-portant it is to work on the basis of the schools’ needs lary of a foreign language. The software vendors havewhen the technical environment is developed. Many buy- made their products compatible. Let us imagine that theers trust that as long as they choose software in com- one or the other of these vendors becomes bankrupt.mon use, the various programmes will certainly be com- If all technical expertise and the rights relating to thepatible just because “everybody” uses them. But when bankrupted vendor’s software are held by the vendors,we work with more care, we should divide our structures the school is left empty-handed. This situation can beinto smaller functional parts; in particular, if we choose avoided through the use of open source licences that al-to deviate from common bulk solutions, we need to low users to use and modify the software as they want.make sure our backs are safe. We can make sure of our Businesses also use escrow agreements: if the soft-safety by demanding certain rights from our system ven- ware vendor becomes bankrupt or some other specifieddors that guarantee our position and decision-making criteria are met, the client can have and use the source   reports 2012 91
    • code. Escrow agreements in connection with small pro- curement projects are expensive because they require expert work and time. Open source licences benefit the client better: the right to have and use the source code is integrated into the concept. The most modern aspect in the technology imple- mented in Kauniainen Dream School is the Dream School platform onto which all the separately procured elements can be integrated. When new items are ac- quired for the system, vendors are given the technical requirements to ensure that their parts can be seam- lessly integrated. When the client is the party originat- ing or controlling the technical description, the power of specifying the technical description is held by the client. The vendor is required to deliver a part that suits the whole and the common situation is avoided in which the client is left suffering from the unsatisfactory compat- ibility of the new part with the older parts. The interfaces and technical description of the Dream School platform are publicly available. This makes it faster and easier to provide potential partners with this information. THE LINUX CLIENT SYSTEM WORKS SMOOTHLY The Dream School workstations are Linux thin clients. The model is similar to that of Kemi. In Kauniainen, they compared various implementation models and decided upon the LTSP system for pragmatic reasons: the old PC’s could be made use of as clients in the new system. This is both cost-effective and ecological. As there is no operating system on the hard drive of any of these clients, the procedure in the case of a fault simply in- volves disconnecting the lines for the power, keyboard, mouse and monitor, connecting a new client in the place of the faulty one, pushing the ON-button, and waiting the minute or two that it takes for the system to come back on. Even inexpert people manage to change devices in five minutes. The headmaster of the Kasavuori School in Kauniainen explains the key feature in a thin client system, “It just works”. It does not matter to students whether their computers run on Linux or Windows. They just work. Teachers quickly get used to the small differ- ences. In view of the user experience, it is essential for the users to be able to have their personally tailored desktops with all their contents available in any client machine, and also to have the same software and tools available for remote use from their homes.92    reports 2012
    • Notes   reports 2012 93
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    • Writers1. CORNERSTONES OF COORDINATION AND Lotta Linko, Web Communication Officer,COMMUNICATION IN THE AVO PROJECT HAMK University of Applied SciencesTiina Front-Tammivirta, Development Manager, www.mobiilikesakoulu.comThe Association of Finnish eLearning Centre 5. THE NETFOLKS – WEB-AGE CIVILAnne Rongas, Project Planner, SOCIETY DEVELOPED AND TESTEDThe Association of Finnish eLearning Centre NEW OPERATIVE MODELShttp://opeblogi.blogspot.com Antti Poikola, Web Facilitator, Otava Folk High SchoolTiti Tamminen, Development Manager, www.mahdollista.fiThe Association of Finnish eLearning Centrewww.eoppimiskeskus.fi/avo 6. SECOND LIFE — A VIRTUAL WORLD IN THE SERVICE OF EDUCATION2. AVO PROJECT MEMBERS’ Riitta Liski, Planner, Web Education and Communication,DISTANCE COMMUNICATION TOOLS Educational Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAFJoanna Kalalahti, Project Researcher,University of Tampere Päivi Svärd, Lecturer, ICT,http://avoimestitutkien.wordpress.com Educational Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAF3. SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATION FOR TEACHERS Kim Holmberg, Researcher,AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS EDUCATION Åbo AkademiAri-Matti Auvinen, Managing Director,HCI Productions Oy Isto Huvila, Researcher, Åbo AkademiKaisa Honkonen-Ratinen, Project Manager,HCI Productions Oy 7. WISDOM IN WIKI PRODUCTION – PEER PRODUCTION ESTABLISHING4. “WE WERE SO OUT, OUT OF THE NEW FORMS OF ACTIVITYCLASSROOM – AND WE LEARNED!” Joanna Kalalahti, see item 2Outi Vahtila, Training Manager,HAMK University of Applied Sciences 8. EDUCOSS SUCCEEDED IN PROMOTING EDUCATIONAL USES OF FREE AND OPENJohanna Salmia, Project Planner, SOURCE SOFTWARE (FOSS)HAMK University of Applied Sciences Elias Aarnio, Expert, Free and Open Source Software in Education,Annika Michelson, Lecturer, Innopark Programmes OyHAMK University of Applied Sciences http://educoss.blogspot.com   reports 2012 95
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    • Vibes in AVO Open Networks — Descriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008-2011contains eight stories, each shedding light on the project’s practical implementation from adifferent angle. The report is intended for experts and anyone interested alike. The themesinclude open learning, open working cultures, social media and content production. In addition,the report touches upon virtual worlds and mobile learning devices for educational purposesas well as the use of free and open software in education and organisations. The AVO – Open Networks for Learning project was implemented in 2008-2012 under theESF Operational Programme in mainland Finland, axis 3: Active Citizen of the Open LearningEnvironment. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport andthe Environment in Lapland and coordinated by the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre.There were 11 member organisations. AVO – Open Networks for Learning project reports Oili Salminen & Tiina Front-Tammivirta (eds.) Vibes in AVO Open Networks Descriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008–2011 AVO reports 1/2012 Joanna Kalalahti: On an open collision course Challenges in combining the real and the virtual AVO reports 2/2012 Joanna Kalalahti & Riina Ojanen: AVO ripples propagate Openness in sight, effectiveness study AVO reports 3/2012 ISBN 978-952-67714-0-3 (paper publication) ISBN 978-952-67714-1-0 (electronic publication)