Two Hour Symposium, SITE 2012: Emerging Technologies for Informal Learning. Part 1

Scott Warren
“Are we interested in teaching fixed world views and respect of authorities (modernism) or criticism and scepticism (post-modernism)?”

What (video) games can actually teach us? Directly, indirectly?

Compare e.g. Civilization’s “you can win by destroying your enemies” and “the state has the power to survey and command their people, and they should do as they are told.” In what ways can we use this, and other game situations and contexts in learning?

Paul Kim


Learnings from the field around the world (India, Ruwanda, Palestine): Simplify things (e.g. user interface).

SMILE: People in all ages can ask questions, answer them, rate and evaluate them. No textbooks. The students take pictures around them.

Hardware, software and pedagogy must be all integrated as a cohesive whole.

Grand challenges:
Rigid instructionism: We still think we need to teach.

Research must look at ecosystems, not just technology.

Remember unique local clock speed. People often go back to teach the way they were taught. Sustainability.

So What Am I Called Then?

Image by DeepBluC

This is a question I’ve been pondering a lot lately when I’ve cleared to many people what I do for a living. Could a simple deduction practice help to determine this?

So am I a,

1. Creative Director?

This is something I even printed on my business card, because at that time it sounded this is what I do.

But in order to be a director, shouldn’t you be having people to direct, right? Well, first of all, I work through networks, and my job description varies a lot, so simple Creative Director [although it sounds good and very mighty] doesn’t do the trick.

2. Just a “Creative”

Well this is most definitely an ambiguous term in a time when everyone and everything is somewhat “creative” or “innovative”. So, no thanks.

3. Social Media Expert?

I find this term a bit hilarious, but I had to put it here in order to make a statement: If there’s someone telling he is a social media expert, don’t believe him. At least too easily.

There are people who understand a lot more about the current web than others, but there are also some of those who try to open up for you a Twitter account or a Facebook Fan Page without really making it clear what it all means.

I would be most cautious about how much we can currently understand what will become of this early mess that we call social media, social web or whatever.

4. Digital Native

I could also be called digital media native, but it’s not quite selling and most likely there aren’t too many people who even know what that means. And in the end it’s more a description than a profession anyway.

5. Digital Media Agent

I tried this for a week, but the word agent sounds like I’m a movie agent, or something from the James Bond saga. Yes, I’m investigating things and sometimes wear a suit, but that’s about it. No Walther PPK, just a Mac, sorry.

With this description I wanted to be considered someone who connects people with digital media.


I believe that new times need new descriptions. We didn’t say ” Metal horse” when the car was invented.

So what am I then? Like I’ve always said that I don’t want to categorize people or to be categorized too heavily [that can prevent self development and growth], but sometimes it’s just something that you have to do in order to make other people understand what you do for a living and where your professionalism could be helpful.

So currently I’m using the title Social and Digital Media Coach. This for two reasons,

1. That’s the closest thing that sums up everything I currently do.

During my time as an entrepreneur I’ve been working with social media in education and in business, from the training to concept creation and even graphic design [yes, I still occasionally open Photoshop too]. I’m also a project manager in an international ICT project which includes usability, eLearning and Mobile. In addition to this, I’ve also designed user interface / experience and graphic design for a mobile application.

As you can see, describing my work with one sentence can sometimes be a hard task.

2. Because I don’t want to be mixed with the label “professional” or “expert” too strongly. I believe the things in social media to be flexible and something that you need to consider with your client or whoever you are working with. You know, together, and not from your professional ivory tower.

And this is how I want the process to be, because that’s the only way to make people understand the new possibilities the web can actually offer. Possibilities that go far beyond than just simple status updating or Fan Paging.

EDIT (after much reasoning): I have to admit that I was wrong; there’s no one definite term I could currently use. There’s just situational terms and being a creative person I just cannot lock myself up with one.

So yes, unfortunately the term “Creative” that I’m mocking up there is a good term, and so is “Trainer”. So let’s keep with these for a while.

Africa rising

Image by Paraflyer (Licence)

I have a feeling, that we’re soon going to hear a lot more news from the mankind’s first home.

Africa is a rising continent, it is probably the next ‘big thing’ in our beautiful need of always something new. Africa is coming in every field.

Most likely people who follow their time have already smelled this in the air, but I have to write this down so I can say to myself ‘I told me so’ when this all slightly happens. Check out my small list of the signs. This is just a scratch, so add more if you think there’s something missing:

  1. Art: I think I just wrote about this here: Exhibition: Tampere Art Museum – AFRICA/NOW Contemporary Art from Africa. Strangely, this has been one of the most read posts in my blog ever since.
  2. Business: Just last week I read from one of the largest business magazine in Finland how this is the time to invest in Africa. Google results happen to know this too: 5 680 000 hits with the words “invest in african shares”.
  3. Videogames: Do I even have to mention Resident Evil 5?
  4. Fashion and Apparel: Just read the April’s Time Magazine‘s Style&Design supplement where there was a large article about African fashion and handmade jewelry, bags and any other things you can imagine. Oh, did I already mention how the H&M’s shop window looked like this morning? That’s right: very tribal.
  5. Teaching, eLearning and Mobile: There has been a couple of very interesting starting collaborations in the field of eLearning and business, and continent has a huge potential study ground in using mobile phones. Maybe this is the place where mobile learning really takes off?
  6. Politics: Obama, anyone?
  7. Music: Well, I’m not a big fan of MTV, basically because they don’t play too much the music I like. But when you tune in to the channel, there’s an awfully lot of music which has its roots deep in the traditional African music. OK, this was maybe too obvious, but now the list is even longer.
  8. I’m somehow writing about this. Of course the most important sign to me.

I hope this possible contemporary development is good. Too many times we have seen that the so-called progress has been just another sign of western greed and pursue of wealth, or just anther trend which is forgotten after it has been sucked dry.

Could this be the time when we stop just feeding donation money there and give real sustainable help to the continent’s needs, which can only be done by honest human effort? The issue is clearly a hard one.