WE MAKE THE FUTURE – COMMUNICATION CAMPS AND KNOW-HOW-TALKOOT Marja-Liisa Viherä
© Tekijät ISBN 978-952-67783-3-4 (nid.) ISBN 978-952-67783-4-1 (PDF) 1. painos Kansi: Kari Delcos Teksti: Marja-Liisa Viherä Kuvat: Kari Delcos Käännös: Mikko T Helminen Taitto: Johanna Viherä Kyriiri Oy Helsinki, 2012
WE MAKE THE FUTURE – COMMUNICATION CAMPS AND KNOW-HOW-TALKOOT Marja-Liisa Viherä
COMMUNICATION CAMPS: A FUTURE STUDIES PERSPECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Communication meeting basic existential needs COMMUNICATION CAMPS Origins of the Communication camp Modes of action of the Communication camps Tietotuutti is published every morning Radio Viekas has a long range 10 pm: viewing together A gamut of options in the restaurants The camp’s heart and blood circulation – info desk and camp money Work in the kiosk is fun The internet – a window to the world Life management with Chaos Day Principles of Communication camp activity Operating principles Learning together Making use of communication and information technology in Communication camps Interpersonal communication Remote services Automatic processes of administration Information retrieval Entertainment Mass communication Independent production The Communication camp heading towards interaction society KNOW-HOW-TALKOOT CONTINUING AND CREATING NEW FUTURES THINKING The goal of Know-how-talkoot Basic principles or good practices of talkoot Realisation of Know-how-talkoot events Future-talkoot motivating futures thinking Possible uses of future-talkoot FINAL COMMENT LITERATURE
INRODUCTION What we do in our daily life affects more and more the future of the entire planet. It is therefore important to develop future tools for everyday life. Communication camps and Know-how-talkoot are ways to inspire future orientation and give concrete examples on options available in the future. Future researchers, on the one hand, study globally important phenomena and their future influence and, on the other hand, the development of technology and its influence on daily life. Future workshops are an example of a method for examining the future from the everyday life level (Nurmela 2012). Combining global phenomena and everyday life is less common. Narratives (Jarva 2012) are one method, and another one is to produce
examples of the ways of life in a globalised world. Communication camps and the Know-how-talkoot model â€“ developed on the basis of the camps â€“ have been developed due to an interest in the future. Activity in these two is guided by the idea of communication based on mutual trust between people. The motive for developing the models is a concern about the influences of global phenomena (pollution of the environment, loss of workplaces, global inequality, supranational entertainment etc.) on our daily lives; loneliness, lack of vision, insecurity, unwillingness to participate etc. Applications of information technology in different fields are often in the background of these phenomena. At the communication camps, information 9
technology has been intentionally put in the service of future interaction society. In this article, I intend to explain the role of Communication camps as places for making the future and places that inspire in visioning the future. Therefore, I shall give an overview of the quarter of a century long history of the camps, from the point of view of future orientation. Know-how-talkoot is a continuation of the camps in actual communities, with an aim to demonstrate that creative use of information technology, as one of the future options, is important for the survival of the civil society. I shall first examine ideas from the sphere of future studies for developing the models, and secondly give an overview of the theoretical basis of the models; the three components of communication skills in future information society. One of these components will be analysed in more detail. After this theoretical examination, I will describe the principles and history of communication camps, followed by a description of how the Communication
camp functions – which is the largest part of the article. The description of different functions is focused on different types of communication and a new, alternative way of organising and acting. The Communication camp model is also in the background of pilot training, which is a part of the Know-how-talkoot concept. Finally, I shall give an summary of the analysis the use of communication and information technology on different sectors of the information society, based on an experience on dozens of Communication camps. These experiences are also in the background of the book Tietoyhteiskuntaa ymmärtämässä (Mäkinen et al 2002, “Understanding information society”, in Finnish). In the ending of this article, I shall also explain the principles of Know-how-talkoot, and especially the idea of tulevaisuustalkoot – “Future-talkoot”, developed within the concept. Future-talkoot is a future study method designed to inspire futures thinking.
COMMUNICATION CAMPS: A FUTURE STUDIES PERSPECTIVE Information, including future signals, is best produced in real-life situations, as a result of social learning. The human being is here understood as described by John Dewey (1859 – 1952) as an active and curious person, and learning is understood as based on problem-solving. We learn, through our action and self-evaluation of that action, to examine our previously acquired know-how, and thereby learn new things. The process is the core oflearning (Merilampi 2012). In future work and media education within the Communication camps, the emphasis is on process learning, and Know-how-talkoot can be described as participant and participatory future research. Future-consciousness and abilities are also given a central role in the models. The camps are a testing field for
new conceptions of learning in investigative learning (hakkarainen et al 1999), views on social capital in sociology, trust and communality (Ilmonen 2000), theories on the ritual role of communication in communication studies (Aula, Hakala 2000), as well as social scientsts’ observations on the tension between local and global perspectives (see for example Castells 1996, Eriksson, Vehviläinen 1999). Future studies is a value-rational field of science, as it includes a goal of preferred futures. It is not an umbrella science for other fields, although it uses results and methods from other fields of science in the problem setting that concerns the future of human communities and information on these communities. 11
Making scenarios and future making are among the methods of future studies. In principle, the methods include not only the methods used within the field, but also all the methods used in other fields of scientific research (Viherä 1999). Communication camps and Know-howtalkoot events are methods of future making. Communication, technology and togetherness are combined in the one week camp, and in Know-how-talkoot, within a 12 hour schedule. The creation of Communication camps was motivated by a need to know and understand the importance of communication technology in a human community, and a will to find out empirically whether the use of new technology can be learned by doing. Activities during the camps are planned and carried out with a purpose to test the functionality of the Communication camp model in a community where new technology is available for all. At the same time, a solution is sought for the use of technology as an instrument for human intellectual or mental growth. The models seek an answer to the question: What is the information society like where all have the right to express themselves and be heard? The first impulses for this idea were given by Erik Ahlman in his book “Ihmisen probleemi” (“The Problem of the Human”, 1953, in Finnish), where he states that the idea of the human person is free self-expression, and Pentti Malaska in his writings about interaction society (Malaska 1983). New communication technologies and included communication services are also among the instruments of self-expression an interaction in the information society. Interaction society is a scenario that has been often presented in future studies. 12
Its starting points are in the change in production, brought along by the information society, from industry to services; the idea of rupture. A qualitative change in the multitude of needs takes place in that rupture. The society where traditional agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry were a dominating force of development is referred to by Malaska as a society of basic needs (perustarpeiden yhteiskunta). By this he wants to draw attention to the fact that development phases of societies are not defined by their forms of production as such, but the primordial needs in each phase. Organising production and consumption according to these needs is the focus of social policy and economic challenges. As these problems of meeting the needs are solved as efficiently as possible, each historical situation produces, according to the prevailing conditions and possibilities, efficient methods of production, infrastructure, concepts and systems of work and livelihood, kinship systems, practices of education and child care, forms of ownership and power, and societal values. The sector of production that is connected with the fulfilment of primordial needs holds the highest rank in the hierarchy. Production in the society remained on the basis of agriculture as long as meeting basic needs (food and heat) was a problem. Increasing the use of external inputs led to a situation where the dominating form of production, agriculture, shifted to a phase of intensive growth; less was used to produce more. Simultaneously, a rupture took place in the development of the whole society: intensive growth was its material basis. Agriculture, by large, as the dominating form of production in the society of basic
needs, became non-problematic with this development, and it was no longer necessary to organise the entire society and its values according to efficiency criteria in agriculture. A wider range of different degrees of freedom became available, followed by an increasing amount of needs. This resulted to new problems in meeting the needs (Malaska 1983). The phase that follows basic needs is a society of material needs, with industry as its dominating form of production. Taylorian criteria for efficiency and functionality became dominant in industry, as guiding principles and preconditions of infrastructure, the concept of work, terms of livelihood, family structure and roles, education, health care, as well as agriculture, power and values (Malaska 1983). Meeting material needs requires maximal consumption of the produced goods; this is the only solution for reducing prices to a minimum and launching mass production. In analogy to the earlier rupture, we can now ask what, in the society of material needs, is the “fertiliser” that turns extensive growth into intensive, to produce more from less and save capital, work, raw materials, energy, working space, the environment, and at the same time improve quality and services in order to provide a balanced way oflife for people. In an interaction society, additional wealth can be channelled to the fulfilment of new needs, due to a new production potential created by the service sector. Information and the related technologies are as vital in meeting these needs as power engines are in the case of material needs. The needs of the interaction society can only be satisfied together with other people, on different forums. Meeting the
needs of interaction is a communication process, and requires communication skills. Interaction in the information society has the potential to initiate creative activity among citizens, “however idealistic that seems” (Malaska 1983). The interaction society leans primarily on the communication abilities of its citizens. By now, there are clear indications of the existence of an interaction society, such as the strong growth of social media, references to communality and measures taken for making communality possible. Examining the information society, the notion of digital gap has recently been used to describe a situation where one part of people has been left out of the reach of electronic communication and information services. If Ahlman is right about the human idea of self-expression, every individual in a just information society should have the right and possibility also to express themselves through new communication technology. A balanced social development should include the right to remain outside the use of information technology and express oneself in some other way. In this case, the community is faced with requirements of services of a new type to prevent people from being left outside the networks of interaction. Ideas for these services have been developed in the Communication camps, for example an info desk with a network secretary and restaurants using creative problem-solving methods and electronic services. In Knowhow-talkoot events, papers are produced more often than other publications. Perhaps the case here too is that the community wants to include all its members? After all, the local paper is the most important source of information available for all. 13
COMMUNICATION SKILLS When communication is understood as an interactive process of all the members of a community, citizens need communication skills. These skills have three components: 1) Access 2) Competence 3) Motivation
In order to be able to send and receive messages, access is the first thing we need â€“ a device or a place. Access can refer to a place where communication takes place face to face, or a telephone, a letter, a fax, a message on a board etc. We may have access in many forms, but that is not enough to make a successful communication event. The other party must have access as well, compatible with ours. 14
Second, we have to be technically able to access, and have the needed communication skills: the skill to produce, send, receive, interpret and understand a message and the meaning of it in a broader context. Third, we must have the will to communicate, to belong, and to contribute in a common culture. Communication meeting basic existential needs Motivation is often examined within the framework of Maslowâ€™s hierarchy of needs (see for example the internetix web page). However, Maslowâ€™s hierarchy is difficult to apply in communication. What is the significance of communication
Figure 1. Basic existential needs skills in the human context? What kinds of needs does communication satisfy, what does it threaten? Which needs is communication used for? In the Communication camps, people’s needs have been approached through basic human existential needs: becoming organised through a process of reflection, the feeling of belonging, and doing, that is having a role in life (Turunen 1988). In a talkoo diary in summer 2012, I wrote down the following ideas on this approach: On Friday, together with Kari, I discussed my ideas on the basic human existential needs defined by Turunen: being organised through thinking, belonging through an emotion, and doing, a role that makes one feel significant. We compared these needs to the often used hierarchy of needs by Maslow:
1. physical needs (warmth, food, a place to live) 2. needs related to security
3. needs of belonging 4. needs of esteem 5. needs of self-actualisation Although the highest needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are similar to those presented by Turunen as basic existential needs, they have a number of differences. When I found Turunen’s basic existential needs in the 80’s, I was delighted and saw that these are exactly the needs that information technology can be used for or, on the other hand, threatened by. I remember how I was always annoyed when I presented an idea I thought was fine from the viewpoint of all humans, and it was shot down. We have to become international first, compete, and only then see that even the highest needs of everyone are met. So we built IT services that threatened the fulfilment of basic existential needs rather than met them: work became automatic, was transferred to Asia, business became remote business, entertainment globalised, reality-tv 15
invaded television, food markets were centralised and concentrated, people felt more and more like objects, a pawn in the game of big players etc. Yet, there would have been a possibility also to strengthen people’s own ways of life, ease their work, give more free time, train network secretaries for the support of small entrepreneurship, hire and teach personnel for local communication workshops, direct and guide communities etc. At that time I started to think about developing IT services from the point of view of basic human existential needs. I imagined what a society is like when everyone has the right to organise themselves, join and do – where information is openly available and the atmosphere is based on trust. The Communication camps were started, followed by Know-how-talkoot. It was only after these discussions with Kari that I woke up again: If we had based the Communication camps or Know-how-talkoot on Maslow’s hierarchy, we would have done nothing. We would not have had the resources for organising the camps in fine places, sleep indoors, eat food prepared by others. When we started from the basic existential needs, it was obvious that communication played the main role and other things were attended to according to resources. So, we had slept in tents during the last 25 early Junes, prepared food sometimes out in the rain, sometimes on a smoking stove. And we had always taken part in making a video, a paper, a radio play, used phones, text messaging, navigation services etc. We have always involved new and old technology, the new one out of curiosity – what can this be used for – and the old one according to its serviceability. Food in Know16
how-talkoot events has also been cooked in little kitchens, wood stoves, on frying pans people have brought along etc. But we have always eaten from porcelain dishes, in the name of sustainable development. Taking Turunen’s existential needs as the basis ofour activities has led to a Communication camp-like working method also at work and on free time.
Planning the camps, we have always had the background idea of finding the best way to meet the basic existential needs using communication. In contemporary society, basic existential needs are under threat. We can usually state that global information streams are the threat. Becoming organised through reflection is difficult if one does not know the origins of entertainment and news streams, and, for example, distinguish fact from fiction. Self-organisation is not facilitated either by global power structures one has very little influence on. Human communities disintegrate, families become fragmented, work communities change. Local communities wither in the absence of activities and active members. People find it hard to join through emotion and find their own communities. Change is what makes work and activity meaningful. Tasks that were valued in the past are now without value, or can be substituted by machines etc. It is truly time to find solutions for meeting the basic needs of people. Fulfilment of material needs in industrial society does not answer to everyone’s basic existential needs. Our environment no longer supports consumption in the western countries. It is time to reflect on the basic existential needs of interaction society. Mass communication is nowadays the most prominent feature of information networks; television for example is watched over 2 hours a day, while
newspapers are read less than half an hour (Statistics Finland, Survey on the use of time, 2011), and music plays on the background most of the time. When video was introduced, its use was justified by the possibility to watch oneâ€™s own programmes. However, the use of video, DVD or files in the web is mostly recording and postponing the time of viewing, or watching bought/rented productions. Time is spent with professionally produced entertainment end programmes. A person is an object in the networks, very rarely a subject. The internet is becoming more and more commercial as web pages and social
media reach for large numbers of visitors in order to attract advertisers on the pages. With social media, a universal possibility for self-expression is becoming a reality, as promised by the information society. In the communication camps, ways of self expression that differ from the media are used face to face; self-produced papers, TV, radio. One could say that Communication camps as such are social media, because during the camps, social media does not take an important role in the mutual communication between camp participants (Facebook questionnaire study on camp participants 2012 and Giuseppe Lugano 2009).
Figure 2. Communication skills 17
Meeting basic existential needs requires new kinds of communication skills. Selfexpression and interaction are not possible without the ability for self-expression. The components of communication skills are summed up in figure 3. A human being does not communicate alone. If we examine communication skills from the perspective of the individual alone, we leave the individual alone, either as a consumer of mass communication or as a net surfer. At the same time we lose the idea of communication as an interaction event between the receiver and sender of the message. In a community, all members participate in the communication process; they all have their significance in the
Figure 3. Community communication
communityâ€™s culture. Keeping a community in time and bringing out shared views are essential things (Carey 1989). In this case, the community has to ensure that communication skills are compatible. When methods of communication change, when they are even in a period of transition, the danger is that a part of the people is dropped out of the communication in their own community. For example in a group of youth, more and more people get information on an event by text message or in the social media. Someone who does not have the possibility to receive these messages can easily be left outside, unless she or he is very popular for some other reason.
In the Communication camps, we have made sure that all have communication skills. There are plenty of means to access information, skills are shared; when needed, each participant can serve as a guide for others, and answers are found together when no one has the skills. Motivation starts from the basic existential needs: people in the camps organise themselves through thinking, for example when they write stories in papers, make radio plays, interview experts. They join the group emotionally by taking care of others, calling each other, talking, hugging. Actually, the communication camp is a place where communication is on a maximal level. Camp participants communicate with each other, all messages have a sender and a receiver, and communication is open. Nobody is left outside. All of this takes place in the camp community within a period of 8-10 days. Could it happen in the overall
society as well? If someone in the Communication camp community cannot make a correct interpretation of a message, she or he can ask others, and then go on with communication in other media used in the camp etc. The communication devices used in the camps are mainly compatible and can be used by everyone. However, it occurs often that for instance different operating systems are not compatible, but these difficulties are overcome with experience and different solutions for bypassing the problems. All camp participants are volunteers, which ensures high motivation. There are also tutors for the youngest ones to make sure that they too feel safe. This is another way of raising a feeling of togetherness. In Know-how-talkoot pilot training camps, the pilots keep up the community spirit, guide and motivate.
Communication camps have not deliberately been made for research purposes, but they have originally been a test, inspired by scenarios (Malaska, Viherä et al. 1982), about how we learn the use of new communication technology and how we use it. The possibilities of an interaction society, once presented as a future utopia; does redefinition of needs create a new type of community? The firs Communication camp was held in summer 1987 and since then the content offered in the camps has grown steadily. The technology used in the camps has evolved with time, but its value for the camp participants has proven to be instrumental. The camps have become places of intellectual growth where social capital accumulates in an atmosphere of 20
trust, life. Technology has adapted to this form of life, although the newest technologies have been tested, but not self-purposefully. Origins of the Communication camp The idea of a Communication camp was developed in 1987, when Viestintäkasvatuksen seura, an association for promoting media education was founded. The basic idea of the camps’ activity has been nearly the same since the beginning. A paper is made daily, as well as a video and a radio programme. Interaction is based on and channelled through daily media. For a comprehensive view and in order to
understand the structures of the community, camp members rotate their tasks daily. In this way, everyone makes a paper, a video and a radio programme, takes care of the information desk and the restaurant. This is also a way to learn to appreciate one’s own work and the work others do. There are no outside personnel as cooks or cleaners: these are also tasks of the campers. Communication devices are used to enhance the activities and also for self-expression and interaction. Play is taken seriously. (Luokola 1989). Registration to the camps can now be done online. The camps are not advertised; information has spread like a snowball effect, but all have fitted in. There have usually been nearly 100 participants in the June camp. The camps have been organised in different schools in the countryside, and camp participants have slept in tents. In early June, all the equipment, machines, paella pans and other necessary things are transported to the site by van. The camp is built together with the camp participants. During the years, the equipment has increased, and a few days are now needed to set it all up. It includes about forty computers, video equipment, a radio station, catering accessories, tents and tent groundsheets... There were a hundred telephones in the past, but now just a few mobile phones, and radios. The expenses of the camps have mostly been covered by participation fees and the use of voluntary labour. The Sonera Corporation has contributed to the costs of communication and the Ministry of Traffic and Communication has given a small subsidy. In addition to youth summer camps,
there have been Communication camps in commercial schools, other schools, schools for the handicapped, on courses designed for the unemployed, in day centres, villages, and in the context of advanced education of future studies. Summer camps are the actual Communication camp context, and they are the ground also for new experiments. The model can be applied to school work, but this requires a number of changes in the curriculum. My wish is to have activity in schools according to the Communication camp model where all pupils would have a week’s camp every year. The schools would gain their own daily paper, video, radio, kiosk and their own interactive web pages. Besides communication, the pupils would learn about business life. In case the camp could not be organised in the school premises, communication clubs could work in the same spirit (Härkönen 1994). Besides mass media – the newspaper, video and radio – targeted communication has always had a special role in the camps. Tests have been made on mobile phones, radio telephones, voicemail, virtual faxes, and a phone in every tent. In order to involve targeted communication in such a way that it facilitates daily life, daily tasks must be done by the camp participants, and they must also get used to the services of the local grocery store and small bakery in order to learn small-scale logistics. Targeted communication has also been used for social relations. At the first camp in 1987 for example, network chat was used (with neighbouring rooms and a few outsiders on the videotex discussion channel), long before social media became popular. This was future making as well.
The fact that the Communication camp has received subsidies from the Ministry of Communication and Sonera, and not from the Ministry of Education for instance, reveals the future making perspective of the Communication camps. 21
Modes of action of the Communication camps In the beginning, camp participants are divided into five groups. Everyone takes part in and gets familiar with all of the five activities during the camp (Figure 4). Each group has two or three instructors who move along with the group from one task to another. The instructors are called “kultsi” (darling). Darlings have taken part in at least three camps. They are over primary school age, young people with an open, inspiring and caring attitude. Adults who have several camps behind them are, regardless their sex, called “Vanha
Figure 4. Operations map
Rouva” (Old Lady). The camps have only one written rule: people under 18 years old are not allowed to drink alcohol, and those over 18 will only consume beer and wine with meals. The rhythm of the action is defined by the goal of accomplishing. Camps have their own restaurant, their own money, a kiosk, and a scoring system for invisible work. These are used for learning to perceive structures, learning about entrepreneurship and appreciation towards every kind of work. In the following, I shall explain the different activities in the camps, as well as the technology or access needed.
Tietotuutti is published every morning The camp newspaper called Tietotuutti is published daily and the delivery takes place in the early morning hours. The paper has an address sticker and it is delivered in every tent. It is read in the tent and in the coffee table in the morning. The paper has a great importance in the formation of interaction. As it really is published every morning, the themes in each paper can be continued in the next issue. Things are deepened in interaction. The fact alone that the name of the paper has remained the same all these years is a proof of the importance of continuity. A sufficient amount of computers is available for making the paper. All can write their own stories or add a photograph to the paper. On the other hand, there are different sections in the paper, intended for attracting the writers. Examples of these are the opinion column, the editorial, gossip page, a greetings section, practical advice, “Ursula answers”, interviews, serial, horoscope and news. The gossip page has had a special importance. The gossip is goodtempered – although sometimes intimate (who is interested in whom) – and is guaranteed to attract readers. Everyone has also an experience on what it is like to be in publicity. These stories would not attract any public outside the community. They hold the community together and make everyone part of the interaction. There is no censorship or gatekeeper in the paper to black out anyone’s story. The writers may discretely be guided with a
discussion on the best ways to make a message understood. If a story exceeds the tolerance of the reader, he or she may reply with a better story. The background idea for the camps is the Greek tradition of humanism: an ideal person is a social and thereby political creature. The person’s own nature determines him or her to serve the community (vonWright1954). Making the paper, a writer can download news and for example weather forecasts from the web. The paper has also got a camera and a scanner. Techniques of photography have changed a lot during the camps in 1987-2011; in the beginning, pictures were taken and then rasterised by the local newspaper. Then there were summers when a Polaroid camera was used, and everyone was allowed to take 8 pictures. A still video camera was a big improvement in photography. Now, in the age of camera phones, taking pictures is not technically challenging, and there are plenty ofcameras. It is therefore surprising how difficult it is to get pictures with good content in the paper. Even the photographers themselves do not approve their pictures. Learning visual communication is one of the important issues that have emerged during the camps. People have to be able to play with photography before they are ready to learn theory. Of course, an instructor can guide the press photographer in the situation of taking the picture. For many, the process of making the paper starts with bringing the news for the paper from around the world. Once they have succeeded in this, the next story can already comment the news. While they choose the news to be brought from the internet to the paper, they learn to get an organised picture of the multitude of news. The paper’s layout design was first made manually and later on with PageMaker. Today’s tool is Scribus, which is free software. There are four or five 23
computers reserved for page layout and everybody gets a chance to lay out their own story. A youngster with experience from several camps usually gives the finishing touches to the pages. Working with the paper is perhaps the easiest task. The editorial office is a safe and familiar place where a product is made collectively every day. The columns in the paper intensify the feeling of belonging, and it has proven to be fun and interesting for the camp participants to read little pieces of gossip about themselves. The gossip columns are also a part of the things that make the camp one unity. Another thing that creates togetherness is the opinion column, where events in the camp are discussed, food and bedtimes are commented, and things of interest to the camp members are discussed. Joining the surrounding community is taken care of by making interviews and reports on the camp’s neighbours, the shopkeeper, or sights in the village. Information is gathered on the surrounding society and belonging in the Finnish countryside on an emotional level increases as well – which is not always obvious for urban youth. Making the paper itself is a great experience; it involves everyone and brings feelings of success. Delivering the paper in the tents at night is an exciting and anticipated experience. At the same time, people become familiar with the entire process of making a paper and learn to appreciate every phase of the work. The position of the paper has not changed during the decades. It is still an important medium of communication for the camp participants, not threatened by social media. Examining the future in the light of these experiences, one could say that there should be a demand at least for local papers as they publish news from the world with a familiar perspective. The need for self-organisation is a guarantee ofthis. 24
Radio Viekas has a long range
The camp radio broadcasts daily from 10 PM till the early morning hours. It has a range of about 10km, and so the camp has a window open to the neighbourhood. The programmes are made by camp participants for each other and they can also be listened to on the internet. The internet radio is popular among former campers. Also the radio can be used on two levels: campers take turns as reporters, audio control engineers for example in the studio, or they can answer calls from listeners. Everyone has a possibility to call the radio station; there are lots of interactive programmes. There are lots of telephones as well for calling the radio easily. Interactivity is possible also because the programmes are mostly live broadcasts. Interactive radio is perhaps the most collective media in the camp. Radio technology is usually planned throughout the year. The association’s web pages contain a lot of discussions about content, radio plays etc. When it is time to make programmes, they are very much focused on music. Could it be that most people’s dream is to be a radio DJ? Or is it so that young people have no other model for the production of radio programmes? Of course, there have been good examples of talk radio programmes, due to experience from running the camp radio
station. Winnie the Pooh for example has been read as a serial radio play. The example of more experienced campers inspires the younger ones to make programmes with speech as the main focus. In summer 2011, a discussion on happiness made an adult stop and listen carefully to wise opinions â€“ the content of the programme reached the level of good radio programmes. Making radio programmes, especially as they are public, the camp participants learn to distinguish between announcements intended for the camp only from the actual programme; they also learn about differences between different types of communication. Text messages, phones and the like are used for internal information. The radio station is only for making programmes. The radio receives a lot of phone calls from the camp. Music requests are the most typical reason for calling, the second reason is participation in a quiz. During a quiz, groups of people often gather over the phone to compete on who is the quickest caller and gives the answer first. Quizzes are also taken part in from a distance due to web radio. The radio has proved the need for interactivity long before the current interactive programmes. Radio broadcasting touches the emotional level as well. It unites the whole camp and the environment perhaps even more than those camp participants who edit the paper. The studio only has room for a few campers at a time and the sense of community in that group is not the same as in other activities. The radioâ€™s audibility range is over 10km, which allows the neighbours around the camp to participate in camp life. The programmes are made for the campers, but anyone can
take part. Neighbours have called especially the quiz programmes. The camp radio brings life in the camp very close to an internet listener. At least those who have once attended a camp can sense the atmosphere and spirit of the camp as they listen. Internet radio proves that it can for example maintain the ties with the old home when someone has moved abroad. The campers, however, are not very enthusiastic in making programmes for unknown people. 10 pm: viewing together
Videos made in the camp are viewed together at 10 pm. Video programmes imitate real TV broadcasts. Inserts are made during the day, and the programme itself comes live from the next room to a full audience in the hall. The atmosphere is concentrated, even fervent. At that moment, everyone feels they belong in the camp. Video makers work in two teams: one makes fiction and the other one makes fact. Video is more based on group work than other activities. It is more difficult for a group member to get an idea through, for there must be a common understanding on what to broadcast. In the fact video group, though, a single programme can contain a lot of productions, such as interviews, made by the small group. Only a cameraman, an 25
interviewer and an editor are needed for this. On the other hand, a single camper may have appeared in several video interviews to express opinions on different things. At its best, video making is the most creative activity in the camps. It has been used in making exciting serial and adventure stories. Erkki (11 years) waited all winter for the camp; he had seen during the previous summer how others had made an adventure story. Now he wanted to play the role of the victim in the story and be filmed with blood all over him – ketchup, that is. Video gives good experiences for the makers, and the best videos are discussed for a long time. Multimedia has not been as popular as a video programme based on a story. Video is an important media. A statement made on video is remembered. When camp leaders made a mistake and gave the wrong date for the ending of the camp – one day later than the actual date – the message about the mistake and what had to be done about it was best communicated on a live broadcast in the evening news. Nobody missed that information. Other means of communication might have been a lot more inefficient. Some years ago, a small accident happened during the camp. It was not known at first how serious it was. Although we had all the communication devices in use, the young people wanted to have a discussion about the accident, sitting on the floor. Communication began only when it was known that the accident was not really serious and the patient was fine. People went to the hospital and sent messages with pictures, which were then put into the evening TV programme. There were also radio interviews and a story in the paper. All the possibilities of communication were realised. 26
A gamut of options in the restaurants
The restaurants in the camps and how they function are an example of the social inventions of Communication camps. The camps have no canteens or fixed times for meals, but restaurants instead with several options and menus that are planned with the customers’ interest in mind. In the early days, parents were often surprised: are you cooking for yourselves? – I did not send my child to learn cooking... Today the camps’ own restaurants are selfevident, because of the taste of food, preparation, and the price as well. In this matter as well, the camps have been active in creating future society. The practice adopted as early as 25 years ago was “officially” recognised for the first time; on February 21. 2012 two new books were launched at Tiedekulma, Helsinki University: “Ruoka – oppimisen voimavara” (Food as a resource in learning) and “Kouluruokailu kutsuu nauttimaan ja oppimaan – vastuullista yhteistyötä yli toimirajojen” (School catering invites in enjoyment and learning – responsible cooperation across professional borders). “Food is a window to society, the globalising world, production, economy, the environment, one’s own culture and the culture of other countries, health and nutrition”, said Helmi Risku-Norja, Senior Research Scientist, PhD Agr& For., LicPhil, researcher of the Finnish Academy of Science SEED project.
“Including nutrition education as an essential part of sustainability education, school catering becomes a solid part of education contents and goals”, said Eila Jeronen from the University of Oulu. The same thing has been empirically observed and noted by many researchers, which we, in the context of Know-howtalkoot and Communication camps, have intuitively and empirically done for 25 years now. Although books and studies deal with school catering, including food in the programme of Know-how-talkoot proves that the same things apply among adults; when we discuss our diet, we also discuss globalisation and sustainable social and economic development. Bringing out these features does require a common guided discussion first, a thing we have done more modestly in the food scoring system, but in more depth within futuretalkoot events by choosing food according to the scenario. Especially in the seminar on future studies in summer 2011, food and the structures of production raised discussion, also afterwards by email, about many phenomena related to food production in the world. We had discussions of the same kind at a futuretalkoot event held at Mankkaa secondary school, where industrial versus local food opened the eyes of many to see the importance of our choices in future making. Restaurants in Communication camps are run by the campers themselves. Orders from the shop were in the past made by fax and email, but now we have to collect the ingredients ourselves, because large chains of stores have become very bureaucratic. In transports, we use logistics-related communication: text queries in the beginning and now text
messages and mobile phones. The food group uses guided creative communication and integrating communication. First we make plans in a creative manner, and then take care of the tasks using efficient communication. The principle is “Take along as you come, bring along as you go”. Menus are planned with methods of creative problem-solving: first suggestions and ideas, then evaluation, taking into account the taste, healthiness, easiness, availability etc. of food. By this method we make sure that everyone is committed to the menu, and all are involved in planning and making the food (Viherä 2012). Camp kitchens at schools are small home kitchens, domestic science classrooms or school kitchens. To our disappointment, many school kitchens have turned into delivery kitchens where only a few kitchenwares are available for cooking. Meals are usually eaten under canopies outside. Outdoor paella pans are popular, also under a shelter in rainy weather. The restaurant serves at least two courses, often more. Practise has shown that smaller amounts are easier to make, and adding spices is more convenient. Everyone finds a favourite food from a variety of options (the rule of thumb is: 1/3 healthy food, 1/3 junk food, 1/3 gourmet food). In this way, there are not many leftovers. A slogan has been adopted in the camps: wasted food is the most expensive food. This happened long before it was common knowledge. Each restaurant takes it as a matter of honour to make such an amount of food that there is plenty for everyone but no leftovers. Campers can of course have snacks anytime. Baking at night is a popular activity that especially boys like. The 27
division of food production now and in the future can also be observed through this model: 1/3 healthy food – emphasis on the health effects – 1/3 junk food – fast food chains, cheap ingredients, the importance of price in decision-making (school) – 1/3 gourmet food: delicacy stores, good restaurants, the best ingredients. The one who is able to combine these three makes the best results, as we can see in the case of organic food and high quality production. Bread orders are made at night to the local baker. Communication camps rely on nearby food production and delivery with the principles of sustainable development. If the activity was constant, the short transport distances would save energy and the local production structure would stay intact (Rajala 1997). In this regard too, the last few years have been difficult; it is becoming hard to find small, adaptable bakeries near the camp site. There is not a single day when something has been forgotten from the list of orders. When campers leave the camp to take pictures or an interview, or goes to the shop, they take a mobile phone along and tell the info desk where they went and which phone they are carrying. The kitchen quite certainly notices that something is missing. A phone call, and the one on the road brings what is missing. The info is the secretary on call of the camp and network secretary. Working in the food group with others is also a good experience. Deciding together what to do, not seeking the easiest solution, but figuring out what others want to eat is also a good way to increase togetherness. Camp participants have often told this is the only place where they can make decisions on what to 28
cook. Even in domestic science at school, only a few options are given.
The camp’s heart and blood circulation – info desk and camp money The info desk is particularly challenging. It is used for many supplementary needs in the camp, for bookkeeping on camp money and points given for invisible work, for arranging transport service, finding a camp member when parents come for a visit. It serves as a kiosk, a delivery point of papers for outsiders, and it is used for uploading pictures on web pages. Camp experiences show that organising is the most demanding type of work. The info desk is supposed to “hold all the strings” and make things work smoothly. Another social innovation that helps in organising the camp is camp money or Lecu. Using Lecus, invisible work has for years been made visible. Camp money was invented for practical reasons. In the early years, prizes were competed for during the final cleaning. The one who collected the biggest amount of litter got the best prize. In summer 1990 already, toilet cleaners were rewarded instead of sports competition winners, the fastest runners. In spring -92, ideas were gathered together with the campers about how places could be kept in order without “nagging”. Good experiences were remembered and a scoring method for
work was chosen among ideas pondered on together, as well as badges given for earned points. The badges came as gifts from different companies. One more of the bubbling ideas fit well the spirit of Communication camps: a briefing is held on the scoring and all the camp media are invited daily. Scoring has been used since then and badges are given for a certain amount of points. A system of noting was developed: people mark their own points on a Filemaker file on computer. A train badge was earned with 30 points during the first summer, and 50 points were worth a euro badge. Points are earned by sweeping floors, collecting litter, cleaning toilets etc. A common agreement is made on how points are dealt: sweeping 5pts, cleaning the toilet 50pts, civilised discussion at the dinner table 10pts etc. The method works well, everything is clean and invisible work becomes visible. The best workers are 12 year-old boys; the broom is swinging and rags are sweeping so that from time to time banning toilet cleaning is under consideration – but it was soon realised that toilets do not wear out from cleaning, and a clean toilet is nice to visit. There was a joint planning session in 1994, where the question was how to make the camp work in a school with only two toilets indoors. How to keep from running out of water? Especially as the two showers were opposite to the toilets. We were not willing to make strict rules, as prohibitions are against the policy, and it is hard to supervise things that cause disputes anyway. Somebody came up with an idea: we will impose a fee on the use of toilets and shower! It is worth noting here that the toilets outside and the sauna were in use all the time for free. The next thing
was how we should collect the fees, was it right to involve money in the activity etc. And again someone had a quick idea: we will make our own money that one gets by doing invisible work. Everyone was excited about the idea at once, and so the 1994 summer camp had its own currency: Lecu. One Lecu was the price of a visit to the toilet indoors, a shower was 500 Lecu. The price of wafers: normal – 1 Lecu, with jam – 2 Lecu, jam and whipped cream – 3 Lecu. Camp money is designed at the info desk and it is distributed as a civic income of 8 Lecu in the beginning. Money starts to circulate immediately. In addition, Lecus are earned with points, one Lecu for ten points. The briefing and awarding were maintained as they were, and we even got more badges: nmt-gsm, yellow transport, Euro badge, 101-badge and Euro snowman. The hard workers had a nice row of badges on their chest. This is how honour and publicity encourage; Lecus are not enough for that. The score chart is open and public all the time, and all campers mark their own points on the computer – a way of maintaining trust and openness. This solution clearly shows that solving an annoying problem can create a new permanent practice. The camp money innovation has been a success beyond expectations. Lecus have been used in learning the rules of economy, the finesses of finance politics, and the way finances can be used to influence a community. Of the latter, water supply is again an example: the sewerage tank of the camp was full and a disaster was close. Using voice mail voting we asked the opinion of the campers: A) should we use the toilets as before – 1 Lecu and hope for the best, B) 29
remove the fee and prepare for the worst, or C) raise the fee up to 2 Lecu. The voting result was A) 30% B) 17% and C) 52%. It was easy to raise the fee. The importance of open decision-making was a constructive factor in this solution again. In summer 2011, the camp ran out of water. The problem appeared to be the well that could not pump enough water. Very quickly the rule was learned by all: when a text message said the pump was going to be shut down, everyone could keep from using water, until the following message arrived: the pump is working again! There were no protests about the practice, since the reason for the water shortage was commonly known; it had been explained in the evening news and the morning paper. Just banning the use of water without giving a reason, I do not think we would have succeeded. Before printing Lecus, young men were wondering how to prevent forgery. Stamping the Lecus was the solution. In fact, no one ever tried to print false Lecus, but there were many discussions about it. The use of Lecus was taken as seriously as the use of Finnish Marks. Towards the end of the first camp, lecunaires came into the picture, those who had Lecus beyond their own needs, and there was a black market as well. This was also a lesson on the change of the value of Lecu. With Lecu, the campers had already gotten used to the Euro before it was introduced! On the second camp, Lecu notes were no longer dealt excessively, but people were advised to leave them in the bank, which happened. The balance could always be checked from the bank, and it satisfies many needs. The Lecu bank is open and this also raises the feeling of honour. Black market has not appeared at all. It appears that people are also eager to use Lecus. 30
Information is a great help here as well. If the camp operates on several locations, it is wise to have a score chart and Lecu bank, whatever its name is, online. Lecu withdrawals are then possible in every office, and the situation is always under control. All in all, Lecu has come to the camps to stay. Now we come up ideas on how to increase the use of it, what else besides cleaning can one do in order to earn money, what else besides the use of toilets and showers, wafers and little services can they be used for? Since 1998, Lecus can be used for watching football on TV, playing, surfing, chatting, or buying desserts. In the adults' camp, the Lecu is difficult to take into use; adults are not motivated unless they are together with young people in the camp. There have been discussions in the camps on whether normal activity should be based on the Lecu as well, so that food would be paid in Lecus, a video ticket would be bought like tickets to the cinema etc. And Lecus would be earned by cooking, working with the paper, radio, video etc. How is work scored then? An extension of Lecu activity would give information on work and evaluation of its results, as well as common decision-making, but would it draw too much attention away from the camp activity properly speaking? Would it reduce or increase the campers' own initiative? The camp is a good testing ground, but testing should be done step by step, and we have to change or omit ideas in case they fail. It is probably wise not to imitate real money economy too much. Even now there were camp participants who did not appear to be interested in money economy or find it motivating. Motivation comes from collaboration instead, achievement, and ofcourse selfexpression. It is probably wise to let these be the motivating force instead ofmoney.
The way I see it, villages and other communities, such as communal habitations, could use the model of the Lecu experiment and design their own village ecus or local ecus, Lecus. This could be the first step towards interaction and interactive growth. There are examples of testing local currencies around the world, but the idea may not have been applied to such â€?ordinaryâ€? things as it has been in the camps. Lecu-based activity was a success in one camp for a village community. It motivated mothers in making crepes, young boys in cleaning, men in taking care ofheating etc. Local money expands the principle of reciprocity to a wider community. It serves the growth ofsocial income (Volkman 2011).
Work in the kiosk is fun The kiosk is an important working spot in camp info. The kiosk too is originally an initiative of the campers themselves. The first impulse was on a camp that used the services of a shopmobile. The shopmobile owner was afraid the campers would steal merchandise and disturb other clients. A couple of boys decided to open their own kiosk; they got an allowance from the camp's finances for buying sweets, soft drinks etc. They sold them at the same price to buy more. By the next summer, the kiosk was a part of the info group's practical activities. Gradually the kiosk started selling not only products that were paid in marks, but Lecu products, such as crepes, wafers, juice, milkshakes and other. As the Lecu-
kiosk and the Mark-kiosk are at the same spot, a camper inadvertently learns the use of two currencies. Two currencies and the related bookkeeping are no problem to the campers. Taking care of the kiosk is the most fun activity for many in the camp, especially young girls. It is nice to be able to choose independently the products to be sold, buy them in the shop and mark the price. They can see at the same time what price formation means and what the actual price of products is. A lot of attention has been paid in the camps on ways of taking care of daily business in a practical way, following the principle of reciprocity. The instruments used, logs, Lecus, points, briefings etc have made daily life easier. Experiments reveal that the use of different methods increases interaction and makes things work more smoothly. The internet â€“ a window to the world Along with other duties, the info group takes care of the camp web pages. Network communication devices, such as Videotex, have been used since the first camp summer 1987. The outside world was accessed via internet since 1995. At that time, the info desk made a web page based on the paper of the previous day, as well as a few homepages. In the summer 1996, the internet group was already working all day and those who wanted could make their own homepage. This was still not a great success. There was not much interest in surfing the web either; approximately one fifth of the 31
youth used web pages, and chatting was even less popular. In summer 1997 a reflective page for remote participants http://www.viekas.fi was created to give information on what goes on in the camp. The intention is to give access to those who cannot participate, and also a channel for the campers to the outside world. Adults were usually more excited than youngsters, but a newsgroup common to all camp participants, since spring 1998, was used also during summer camps. The newsgroup gave information on events and contained expressions of emotions and descriptions of the atmosphere. Remote participants were given a lot of information on the camp and its atmosphere. Since then, the newsgroup has been lively before, during, and for some time after the camps. At other times, nothing goes on. Also the campers' own web pages are unused. The internet is used outside the camp and between camps rather than during the camps. It substitutes camp communication as it reaches people in different locations simultaneously and yet with intimacy; few outsiders find their way to the newsgroups. Within the camp, the internet has a minor role, but it serves as a place where information can be found. It has been noticed that the web works best as a publication channel for ready programmes, rather than a new medium. During the first ten years, the Tietotuutti paper was sent by fax to parents and friends outside. Faxing tens of copies is quite laborious, especially as the papers are double-sided. Nowadays the paper is directly published online, for which both senders and receivers are delighted. Of course, the paper's outlook is far better when printed from the web than a fax copy. Internet radio is also very 32
successful. Former campers are a guaranteed audience. With radio, the atmosphere of the camp can truly be felt by those who have been there before. In contrast, it is a confusing experience for outsiders. In the early times, video programmes were copied during the winter for all those who wanted, and the copies were posted. Now the videos are in mobile phones and in the web. Internet and social media are still looking for their place if we look at their ability to reach everyone. Lugano and Peltonen have studied the matter, also interviewing camp participants. Clear differences can be distinguished between methods of communication in different groups. (Lugano, G. & Peltonen, P. 2012). On the other hand, campers reflect on how to place oneself completely out of the reach of any media (Kirves 2008). Is this a sign of a future where the media has no supremacy? And can we come to this situation exactly by being able to produce a lot of media content at an early age; there is no reason left to glorify the media? Life management with Chaos Day One of the social innovations of Communication camps is ”Chaos Day”, kaaospäivä in Finnish. It was initiated by Pentti Malaska during the Hankasalmi camp in 1994: ”It would be nice to see if we could add to all this self-advocacy and joy of making the option for everyone to choose their group when the day starts!” These words remained in the air, and after a few years, perhaps in the summer of 1998, the idea of Chaos Day was implemented. The rhythm of the camp was then changed so that there was one extra
day to use, and it was agreed that the last day would be Chaos Day. Everyone chooses a task freely on that day. Chaos Day has proven to be a good invention. People can express themselves on the last day choosing the task they like the most. During the week, someone may have had the idea “I wish I had written about this or that, made a video on this topic, cooked something else etc.” The sceptical ones were first afraid that nobody will cook and we would be hungry at the ending of the camp, ad too many will just do nothing. These fears have been proven wrong. The restaurants have worked, videos, radio programmes and papers have been published; the thickest paper has usually been published on the last day. Even the kiosk has been open, and there has always been someone to take care of the info desk. Chaos Day has come to stay. Chaos Day teaches all the campers community spirit and control over situations: these are talents that have been mentioned also as important skills in future management. (Kirves 2002). Principles of Communication camp activity In the information society, it is important to consider also the position of children; how are children raised as subjects and active actors in an information society where they too are constantly bombarded with information streams? To answer this question, it is not enough to learn the use of technology, to have an user-friendly interface or good virtual study material. If learning technology user skills is separated from the actual situation and need, technology
becomes the purpose itself, the master, instead of a servant that helps in something more important. The use of technology is a natural part of Communication camp activity. Technology is the object of play, a toy. The use of it is a happy thing. What is said, how people act, and how others are taken care of are more important things than technology. Communication has a major role in all these actions. Communication cannot be learned in books only, through knowledge on the communication devices available. Learning takes place in live situations, when things are taken care of and organised, that is through experience. Communication camps are examples of situations in which one can learn communication in interactive situations and through action. In talks about communication and evaluating communication skills, the skills of getting to work and using technology in daily business are often left unmentioned. All of these are learned in the Communication camp context without paying special attention. The use of communication devices in the Communication camps is part of the process towards interaction society. In the adaptable environment the camp participants themselves shape their environment and make it meaningful by their actions, their habits and their active communication. When a camper perceives – even unconsciously – the effect of his or her messages, new things and meanings are learned. Active participation of parents creates models as well. Decision-making, practices and attitudes towards other people have a greater influence than for example lectures or presentations (Lonka 1999). A lecture on the subject “How to communicate” is a waste of time, Lonka says. The listener finds it hard to find 33
motivation in an abstract topic, and communication is not only a technical skill; it has to be put into practice. Practices are what the Communication camps are formed of. Since the camps have more democratic and unprompted practices than elsewhere in the surroundings, camp participants also learn to observe things in a new way and question existing practices. They learn to compare the environment with a vision of the future, based on a future interest of knowledge. Knowledge and know-how are shared by all to others during the camps, for the productions would never be accomplished without collaboration. Nobody can make it only working alone, but everyone has a possibility to act independently. Camps are places of growth towards independence, communality and management of one's own life. Good camp spirit is based on openness and mutual trust
between the campers. Trust and openness emerge from an atmosphere of appreciation. Others are not criticised in the camps, they are appreciated ever more. Even in the camp's media, criticism has an appreciating tone. Power and structures are openly displayed in Communication camps (Old Ladies, grown-ups, resources, Darlings, campers, first-timers), but the titles only take some of the power away. With the social invention of earning badges and camp money by activities such as cleaning, a new power structure is created; the best cleaners are rewarded with badges and applauses. In the camps, all talks are contributions to a common debate. The Communication camp has formed a theory: access, know-how, motivation, and the basic existential skills, self-organisation, belonging and doing. In this manner, a small-scale reform in activity and structures has resulted to a strong theory. (Nurmela, 2002).
Operating principles The main principles are based on sociability and togetherness. They can be presented as follows:
− learning by doing − accomplishing tasks − initiativeness − taking care of others − taking and showing responsibility − everyone is a teacher and a student in relation to others − independence in collaboration − teamwork − perceiving and understanding the overall process − appreciation towards the work of others
With these principles, people in the information society grow to be subjects who manage their own lives and cooperate with others. There is a progression in the camps from self to world community (belonging), from concrete to abstract (self-organisation), and from a close distance to a long distance (doing). 34
Learning together The more skilled ones give advice to other camp members, or solutions are sought together. This is especially true in mastering “button technology”. Those with experience from several camps give example on how to do. Model learning is in a key position in the camps; newcomers watch for a while and then do the same things as camp veterans. The first camp week is often spent observing and doing thing along with others. When the next summer comes, ideas gathered in the mind during the winter about the possibilities offered by the camp are met by an enthusiastic group of implementers. The camp, set up at noon, will produce a camp video by the evening, the radio starts broadcasting right away, food is prepared in a few hours, and the paper, often 20 pages thick, is delivered the next morning. Instructions are often given on things the campers have no previous model of, such as interaction and daily logistics. The more experienced ones must be able to say “here you could have called, sent a message, ask”. Continuous questioning of habits and activity has its own importance as well: which is a better option, this or that? If a better solution is found, practices will be changed. Groups and group leaders can be changed, as well as structures or the location of equipment. By taking responsibility, the campers learn the necessity of accomplishing things even without the skills. The resulting experiences of successful action teach and give self-confidence. People are encouraged in trying again, never forgetting to give positive feedback for
good performance. Fine details are found even in the worst performances. Antti Mattila, camper and Darling, writes in the Tietoyhteiskuntafoorumi paper at the age of 17: Many have learned that there is no reason to be scared of machines and technology. They are meant as aids, not as holy cows. With their experiences from the camps, many have also become interested in the field and in the work of a journalist. The camp teaches small, practical skills that are useful in studies and work: finding information online, organising, group work. All of these are recognised as important ones, but they have been left out of primary and secondary school curricula, for example. It is difficult to say how much one camp week affects anybody, but those who are camp-addicted are not likely to feel inferiority towards the media. In a future society dominated by information, the most important thing is to have a critical attitude towards information. The best way to learn this would be a situation where everyone realises that there are only people behind communication. I wish every camp participant would learn to understand this.
Making use of communication and information technology in Communication camps Communication and information technology is involved in all camp activities. However, the situation is not similar when we chat this and that with a friend or, on the other hand, we take care of the camps bookkeeping or make evening news. Different ways of using technology and services have partly the same type of access, but also require their separate applications. Different functions 35
also demand different skills; some demand a creative touch and others have to be used with accuracy. You have to be precise in a given situation, but at other times you can just let it go and free your mind. Different uses also point to different motives; information has to be find to support comprehension, people must be contacted in order to maintain human relations, and one must use messaging in order to make things work out smoothly. I have therefore divided functions that make use of communication technology
into seven sectors that differ from each other both in the camp context and in society. Understanding the differences may help in planning communication services for different environments: work, hobbies, associations etc. Know-how-talkoot has focused on producing content and mass communication for the community itself. The dream is to create also talkoot events that meet the requirements of administration. This need is also presented in the study by Susanna Kivel채 (Kivel채, 2012).
Image 5. Sectors of activity using information technology 36
Interpersonal communication Interpersonal communication refers to ordinary communication between people. A typical feature of this kind of
communication is that there is usually one sender for each message (although it may represent the opinion of a group), one or several receivers who are specific persons known to the sender. Communication here is non-public and it is founded on constitution-like secrecy. Messages in the communication are unique, often disappearing.
Communication in the Communication camps can be divided into three sectors: 1) Communication necessary for the activity. This can be seen in the camps as operations of the info desk, orders sent to the shop, lunch or dinner invitations etc. Preparations for the camps require a very large quantity of organisationrelated communication. To increase efficiency, different bulletin boards have also been tested. During the last five years, group text messages have proved to be the most efficient method for reaching everyone. 2) Communication needed for connecting. The best examples of this during the camps are people's calls to friends and people at home, emails etc. Text messages are exchanged. Communication related to connections has also been developed using for example different image galleries from the camps. If the messages are between private persons, image galleries are included in this sector. Published on a camp web page, they belong to the sphere of mass communication. Communication required by connections in the camp context is still mostly face to face communication. Social media has very little importance in the camps. This makes one think about the impact of social media on social structures. 3) Understanding things together, thinking aloud, reflection. Things are thought about aloud mostly when the day's work is being planned. To make this more efficient, creative methods of problem-solving are being used as well. For years now, the dream has been to make specific computer applications for creative problem-solving. Once this is achieved, perhaps the entire planning process of the camp and thinking aloud can be an online process as well. After face to face communication, phone calls are the most typical access to a thinking aloud situation. Social media is not used at all in the process of understanding.
Properly speaking, the entire camp is social media, and this new concept is not necessary at all in a community where all communication devices are constantly used by all. 37
Remote services Transaction services include orders and deliveries, part of which can be made digitally. The beginning can be very modest, for example a text message order. A particularly big challenge is to combine information services, transaction services and interactive services. Transaction services can be divided into commercial and other transaction services. Electronic transaction services have been used in the camps since 1987. Potatoes were then ordered from a farm using Minitel. Later on, orders have been made by fax or email. During the last few years, shopping has been forced back to physical visits to the shop or bakery. This development feels unbelievable from the point of view of an ordinary customer. The reason is probably that small, adaptable and service-oriented shops and bakeries have disappeared, and also that shops in large market chains do not have the right to make flexible arrangements for services. We need heavier measures for the production, transport and consumption of local food; the camp has only shown an example of the need and possible implementation. For several years now, registration for the camps is only possible online. Camps have used different voting services, based on voicemail for example. Actually, enhancing transaction services starting from the camp's own needs has been the most important target in the 38
history of the camps. It has been noticed to make daily routines easier and bring new possibilities to act, when for example ingredients for food no longer had to be ordered several days in advance etc. We have become so familiar with this activity that despite the difficulties, we buy daily what is needed daily, and drive tens of kilometres to the home bakery for bread. We give regular warnings to the shopkeeper about our needs: organic milk, meat, escargots etc. Automatic processes of administration Automatic services required by administration are not among the first things that come to mind when one thinks about Communication camps. And yet, since the beginning, camps have had administrative services for example in keeping score of votes, the use of camp money, bank services, membership register, bookkeeping, the logbook etc. The camp phone book has been a very demanding task since every tent has been equipped with a phone and personal mobile phones in addition to that. The camp has had a digital library since 1987, although it was no longer compiled online since the first summer. Instead of that, an index of CD records has been an attempt every summer, to be used in radio broadcasts. In the mid-90's, store bookkeeping was
an important task in the camp. A separate system was created for taking care of equipment. Administrative services have mostly been an interest of older campers. The score counter and the camp bank are managed by anyone after a little practice, and give a first touch on creating databases used in administration. Information retrieval
The internet with its search engines is a very good source of information when different publications are produced. In the first decades, news of the Finnish News Agency STT were read every hour. It would have been useful from the point of view of learning if the copyright fees would not have been so high at the time. Now news are read and taken from the internet services of several news agencies. Copyright fees are paid for music in radio broadcasts. The internet may have collections of and links to good recipes for camp food. Sometimes nutrition databases have also been used to calculate the nutritional values of meals. This, however, has not been of great interest to the youth. Today it is typical to look for information on the origin of products or information on fat and carbohydrate percentages. All activities in the camp need information for support. It is is most often found by asking someone with more
knowledge. The camp radio has had programmes where camp participants have called well-known experts to ask about things they are curious about. Databases are created also on material produced in the camp. Entertainment The use of commercial entertainment in is rare in the camp (TV, games). The explanation for this is on the one hand that other activities are interesting, and on the other hand that using entertainment services (gaming, chatting and watching TV) have a price in Lecus. Watching entertainment programmes made in the camp is interpreted as self-expression. Mass communication One would think mass media should be in a key position in the camp. But this is not the case in the traditional meaning of mass communication, since traditional mass communication is professionally edited according to given topics. A journalist has to be a neutral observer, an instrument of information production. In the Communication camp, instruments of mass communication have been submitted to the service of self-expression. The form of the products is a form proper to mass communication, but the ethics of producing content are different. Perhaps this is a realisation of constructive approach; information and opinions are produced on the basis of each and everyone's own values. 39
Traditional mass communication can be divided into three parts: 1. Journalism (neutral observer) 2. Public relations (from a goal-oriented employer perspective) 3. Marketing
Public relations are included in camp action when a camp information leaflet titled Tietotuutti is published, when messages on the camp or pictures of camp life are displayed on the internet bulletin board for parents to see. The campers do not seem to be very motivated in public relations outside the camp. It is often resting on the shoulders of older camp participants. This is often the case in other communities as well. Big companies have their own public relations officer, but in smaller firms and small communes this is taken care of as a secondary task. Is this another example of the competitive advantage oflarger units? The Communication camp has not been marketed much, but marketing letters were made when there were several camps each summer in the mid-90's. Campers have also advertised their own products, restaurants etc. to other campers. The radio has its own theme music. Independent production The cornerstone of the camp is formed of producing the paper, radio and video. Unlike in traditional journalism, these have been used for making own products for other, externalising one's own expertise. These 40
are key skills in the information society, for if people do not learn to produce their own content, they remain in the position of public for major producers. As content production is increasingly concentrating, how we learn to externalise our experience and knowledge is a crucial issue. It is also a key factor in collaboration. This is how the Communication camp has invested in the fundamental skill of the information society long before it has been commonly recognised. At the same time, the Communication camp earns its place as a maker ofthe future. The Communication camp heading towards interaction society The founding idea of Communication camps is to meet the basic human existential needs: doing, connecting and self-organisation. In the following, I will examine the way in which the basic needs have been taken into account in the camps. Does the camp meet the expectations in this regard? Doing, having a role in life, is important for people's happiness. Everyone in the camp has a number of things to do. One of the typical features of the camp is the flurry of activity: the paper, video, food, all must be made and finished. The paper is often ready only in the early morning hours and makes its way to the tent before the resident wakes up. In 25 years, the paper has not missed one single publication, not even because of a thunderstorm, a network malfunction or shortage of ink. People rush to see the video at 10 pm: it has to be ready by then. Radio programmes have their own schedules. Meal times depend on the
hunger of the campers, but food has to be ready when hunger hits. If these normal tasks are not enough for activity, one can always collect points from invisible work: cleaning, collecting litter, helping others. Invisible work has provided additional pastime for many active young people in the camps. Although doing is play in the camps, it is also goal-oriented doing. During the activity, the idea of accomplishing is always in the mind, especially so in the case of products people are familiar with. Everyone has an image of a paper, the camp paper in particular. Likewise, making video programmes, earlier attempts are in the memory, earlier programmes, and TV programmes in particular. Interviews follow a well-known pattern. Making something new and different starts by getting experience first. Motivation has always been hardest to find in the info desk where one should act as an organiser and intersection of the network of interaction. The result of the work does not become visible as a ready product, but the motive has to be found in the moments of success and heuristic experiences: this is how things are done. A well done info task is not praised much, but when it is badly done, criticism is dead certain. The motive has been sought by scoring the work, or by making timetables, finding the motive by diversion, not in the task itself. People connect through emotion. The camp offers many possibilities for connecting. Basic-level connecting is based on the fact that all are accepted as they are which creates a feeling of belonging in the group. Campers change
from one point to another, switching tasks daily. In this way, everyone belongs to the whole camp and not only his or her own group. The group also includes an instructor of young children or an adult sponsor whose duty is to see that no one is left outside. One of the basic existential needs is self-organisation through a process of thought. The camps have in many ways provided motivation through selforganisation. When “mass communication” has been produced independently, it has been understood better. Rotating from one group to another provides an overall understanding of things. By creating a “concrete utopia of the information society”, the campers get a grip of the future. Using different communication services they understand their significance. A step towards network literacy is taken; technology becomes an instrument, not an end in itself. Camp money and invisible work are ways to learn to understand operating mechanisms and the value of work. “Ursula's column” answers many questions asked by camp participants, sometimes difficult ones. Ursula is usually an adult who answers anonymous questions dropped in a mailbox. Ursula is not necessarily at the camp, but sends replies virtually. Ursula's identity is a secret. The most important thing is that she really provides serious answers to the questions, finding the information and at the same time teaching how to get information. The answers often contain a great deal of wisdom of life. The importance of a community's own communication has been proved in the Communication camps. Communication 41
creates the community and its own receiving audience motivates communication. Camp media contains well-known stories of familiar people (gossip, opinions, events, camp news, interviews etc.), which gives it a label as the camp's own media. Communication with one's own audience is continued, which creates a chain of communication. The Communication camp proves that an interaction society is possible, at least momentarily, in small communities. Yet, there is no reason to assume the interaction society would not be possible on a broader scale. It preconceives a redefinition of human needs, for instance in economic and political decisionmaking. It is not enough that fulfilling basic existential needs is only possible for some part of humanity. In a democratic society everybody must have a possibility to this. Communication camps among for example mentally impaired, blind, deaf and elderly people have indicated that the model works for all people. Communication camps give a spark to seize and develop small new and traditional media. It is worth noting that local communication offers a lot to do and a lot of content to communities (housing organisations, NGOs, associations, hobby groups, quarters, villages etc.). As communication is facilitated, it also refreshes interaction in an existing community and thus keeps the community alive. Without a balanced communication structure, in relation to time and space, a nation's existence may be threatened. Such a structure is a blessing for the whole community. (Varis 1995) Communication technology does not 42
necessarily require large investments. It is not easy to evaluate communication skills in general from the point of view of people's existential needs. When a person's basic needs are not satisfied, the symptoms are anxiety, dissatisfaction, contentiousness or passivity. If again these needs are satisfied, a person is balanced, joyful, harmonious, goal-oriented and tolerant. In Communication camps one can, through a positive feedback to basic existential needs, feel joy and find enjoyment in activity, have an experience of growing towards citizenship of information society. Communication technology has been made into a playful, happy thing. The idea of the Communication camp in society and as a developer of social and digital capital (independently produced content) is explained in figure 6. The paradigm of learning the Communication camp model and the collaboration process can be traced back to constructivism. The paradigm in the camps has not been a conscious choice but a practice based on intuition. Constructivism is not a new doctrine; it is based on the basic theories on learning in our history of ideas. The essential view in constructivism is that both learning and teaching are active human processes, phases in the same process. The starting point is the learner's own activity and motivation. A camper is excited about his doings and has a high motivation. Active action has to start from personal interest. We learn as we do. It is essential to combine one's acquired know-how and understanding with observations in the
Figure 6. The communication camp heading towards interaction society camp, whether it is about emotion, cognition or skill (Jäntti, Suonperä, 1999.) Communication camps are not only dealing with learning, but with the overall process of collaboration where all are teachers to each other – according to the Greek concept paideia. Any work today requires comprehension and consciousness of one's own expectations and conceptions. This has been attempted to achieve in the camps, fading the hierarchical concept teacher/student to the background. The reason for doing so is simply that faced with the new customs and devices of the information society, we were all students in the early times, and the practice adopted then has prevailed. A future studies perspective, future making, has allowed us to work intuitively
according to the idea of constructivism since 1987. Cooperation and interaction contribute to the social capital of camp participants: common goals, norms, values and trust. Along with their products, their digital capital grows as well – papers, videos, pictures, radio broadcasts, member databases, the discussion group, travel accounts, all saved in a network – allowing the accumulation of common understanding through interaction. I see and I feel that the Communication camps are steps towards a future where all people have the right to express themselves also with communication devices, where a local community grows to become an international actor for the good a common, sustainable world.
KNOW-HOW-TALKOOT CONTINUING AND CREATING NEW FUTURES THINKING Know-how-talkoot in a nutshell:
The Know-how-talkoot model is based on a traditional Finnish form of unpaid voluntary action, talkoot. The Know-how-talkoot model offers an instructor (pilot), equipment, free software and food ingredients to the community for a period of12 hours. Within this period, the community makes a communicative product (paper, brochure, history review etc.), a video, an audio production, web pages and delicious food. Communication camps alone are not to organise information. At the same time, enough to open the eyes of people to see as area-specific structures change, people the possibilities of future making, because no longer have a community to connect to. people are completely lost in the they are not anchored into a shared place Most process of globalisation of work. At the end and a permanent community. They are of the millennium, this phenomenon was detached enclaves, showing the way to examined by Manuel Castells (1996), and communality in the information society. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko made a good The change of technology and economy summary of Castells theories. Anttiroiko's affects the course of each day. Social summary is further simplified in the change puts obstacles to everyone's ability following: 44
Development has been enabled by simultaneous technological change and neoliberalism with an economic system based on greed that have gained strength in western countries. In this economic system, technology has migrated to areas with the cheapest price of labour and governments and politics allow unscrupulous activities. In this process, local people are often just pawns in the hands of production. It is no wonder that a tension has developed between global economy and local conditions, a tension that creates uncertainty, lack of control and conflicts, and has discharged as democracy deficit and marginalisation. When changes take place out of people's reach, when they are complicated, and when economic policy makers remain faceless “pyramid players”,
Figure 7. Tension between local and global an individual has no conception of how to develop his life. Economic crises are global, and they affect large numbers ofpeople. Technological development, including information systems, is rapid; new applications emerge all the time. People become anxious and have no strength to update their skills and software constantly. The speed of development is justified with competitive advantage; “the quick and the dead”, a phrase often repeated. The development described above is based on the mantra of competition, economic growth and speed. As long as the economy was growing, environmental change was not discussed, and speed was only for those who wanted it, economy actually showed a positive face for many: a rising living standard, internationality, 45
adoption of new technologies, international connectedness etc. Locally, people were looking for peace and quiet, an individual life in an individual suburban home. Work pressure was left at the workplace â€“ or at least that was the dream. Leisure time was filled by television, also full of global information stream. But then came economic depression and the new techno-economic paradigm was put to a test. People became confused and were looking for security in each other â€“ either through social media or by joining local associations, single-issue movements, ad hoc environmental events and the like. Communality and social capital became the keywords repeated by researchers. But is social media enough to cover social relations when jobs are under threat, when the global meets the local in everyday distress? How to make social capital grow in our own area? The economy too needs social capital, trust. We arise from depression together by creating something new, and also doing what we are already used to. In cooperation with residents and not only authorities we manage things on an ethically sustainable basis. Slow life and slow food are concepts that have become a guideline even in everyday life. The Slow movement started in Italy, where a few men came to realise how food industry, in its process ofcentralisation, sucks joy and enjoyment out of food, cooking and eating, how local production is fading away and people are becoming poorer. The same phenomenon has been noticed in Finland, and discussion on the importance of local food has been going on for a long time now. This has been a personal experience in the Communication camps. What about workplaces then, or international business, money operations, technology development? 46
People have come up with different ideas as a counterforce to globalisation, such as workshops, international networking between people, small banks, experiments on local money, or idealisation of old technology. But these are only weak signals so far, action against the mainstream. Slowness and proximity require local activity and local social capital, mutual trust between people. In order to strengthen this development, we also need good local communication, local information and skills. Information technology has to be tamed to serve local people in organising, creating and being creative. Larger scale activity, organised in the manner of the Communication camps is needed. The Know-how-talkoot project was founded to foster and enable local communality, and also to strengthen democracy. Without a local civil society, there is no future civil society either â€“ Finland, that is. The goal of Know-how-talkoot Participation in social debate and goal-oriented activity has traditionally been channelled through NGOs and other communities. From individuals and communities alike, participation requires shared processes of discussion, access to networks and forums of communication, skills and motivation. Communication skills in many civic organisations and associations do not meet current needs. A community without communication is a dead one. Know-howtalkoot is an answer to communities' communication skills from five perspectives.
1) When communities collectively learn the use of information and communication technology in order to reach a common goal, comfortable use of applications is strengthened, and people of different ages, different levels of skills and motivation are brought together. 2) The user is cared for in the process of guidance; instructions are given as practical problems occur. 3) Pilot training increases the abilities of information technology instructors to assist the users. 4) The citizens’ network participation increases as self-produced material is published online. 5) A talkoot event launches a process of learning in the community; as the communication skills of the participants are strengthened, the practices of the community are permanently changed. The target of the activity gains volume and the activity itself becomes more influential.
Finland has at the moment nearly 120 000 associations. The talkoot model is used to activate them. The increase on a national level of citizens’ activity, interaction and networking is an advantage and a benefit that Know-howtalkoot has a positive influence on. Know-how-talkoot combines motivation, support in acquiring skills and the necessary network connections. Learning in a talkoot event is followed by a change in the community's attitudes, skills and practices, as well as in the target of the activity. On community level, qualitative and quantitative change takes place on a short term (open interaction using web pages, new division of work) and on a long term (solutions and targets
of activity that support new types of cooperative structures). Talkoot participants have put an emphasis for instance on the change in their attitudes, new skills, and the empowering influence of a common goal and goal-orientation. The talkoot event starts a learning process where communities and participants recognise possibilities they formerly judged as unattainable. (Kivelä 2012). Talkoot have a cultural importance as well; products of culture – literary, visual and auditive – are appreciated by people who have taken part in making them. Motivation in doing is strengthened by the principle of accomplishing: common productions are watched/read/listened at the end of the talkoot event as a 47
contribution to social capital. According to Statistics Finland, schools (from primary to upper secondary level) in 2005 taught paper making to approximately 30%, video making to 22% and radio work to 5% of the pupils. Note that the figures have all dropped since 1996, when the first statistics were gathered. These issues are no longer included in the statistics, but my own
estimation, based on answers to the same questions by students at universities of applied science, is that the situation has still not improved in 2012. Yet, the most typical cultural product of contemporary society is electronic communication; this is why we need talkoot events for adults. From an ecological point of view, talkoot events support local activity and production.
Information technology skills can be divided into the following levels: − basic skills (online banking, email etc.) − unconstrained skills (e.g. power point, image processing, newsgroups, blogs, online calls etc.) − creative skills (independent audio production, video, text, images etc.) − understanding networks, their meanings, influence and possibilities (network identity, data security, social structures, commercial sites etc.)
Communication skills are usually viewed from an individual perspective, overestimating people's unconstrained and creative skills. Know-how-talkoot aims at developing creative skills in communities. Know-how-talkoot creates a forum where information technology specialists and active citizens in cooperation increase their understanding and creative use of information technology. Not everyone in the community has to be skilled in everything, but working together the 48
overall vision adds to the understanding of information technology and its possibilities, commitment and mutual respect. A product needed by the community is made together at the Know-how-talkoot event. It can be one of the following: a publication, a newsletter, a picture gallery, a website, a video version of a play, a history review, a radio play, interviews, future scenarios etc. The product is saved on the web pages of Know-how-talkoot.
Basic principles or good practices of talkoot Talkoot events have a few principles that have proven to work well. These are principles on how to progress and how to cooperate. 1. Visioning together
In the beginning of the talkoot event, a common discussion is held concerning the goals of the event. The goal is often unclear before the event, but a vision on the aims of collaborative work is created using brainstorming and yellow notes. In future-talkoot, the vision concerns the whole group’s activity and the time scale is longer. One of the things to vision is what to eat. A common meal is everyone’s concern. It is useful to hear each individual opinion and to learn to take others into account. At the same time, creative models for problem-solving are adopted, to be used later in decision-making.
2. A beginner can do it as well
Family members or friends often join the talkoot, perhaps to take part in cooking for example. Such a person may often prove to be the most enthusiastic image editor, music maker or storyteller. Fear of information technology is overcome by the creative use of technology.
3. The pilot guides and instructs
A Know-how-talkoot event always involves two pilots, responsible for giving guidance and instructions to the participants. Pilots do not lecture, they are not teachers. They keep up a good atmosphere, see to that the project keeps in schedule, and make sure no one is left alone with problems. Eventually, the awkward intricacies of information technology are solved together.
4. Everyone’s work is appreciated
Everyone’s effort is important in a successful talkoot operation. The pilots never forget to thank the participants and give positive feedback for the results. The saying “there’s no harm in trying” is the motto of the pilots.
5. Completed work
A product, designed during the visioning process, is completed in Know-how-talkoot. If a product is left half-finished, with an agreement that someone will continue, it often happens that no one will. The project has in this case been useless, and the doing itself has been frustrating. People’s happiness relies on accomplished tasks. 49
Realisation of Know-how-talkoot events
Hosting communities of Know-how-talkoot events Village University of applied science Pilot training Umbrella organisation Company Societal Hobby Other Social sector
The Know-how-talkoot project has in the years 2009-2012 organised a total of 160 talkoot events. The products made during these events are 69 publications of different types, 54 videos, 33 audio productions and 49 websites. The distribution of the results clearly shows that a traditional paper or other type of printed publication is still a popular communication channel among different communities. The highest number of events have been organised in communities of the social sector. Of these, organisations for the handicapped are well represented, as well as peer support groups of different illnesses. Communication and sharing 50
information is of special importance for these groups. These communities often have few resources of their own and little technological expertise, which has meat that Know-how-talkoot has been a happily welcomed service. There is an illustrated story from each talkoot event, and they can be found on the internet, as well as the talkoot productions. Susanna Kivelä is writing a doctoral thesis titled “Lähiyhteisöjen paikka tietoyhteiskunnassa” (The position of local communities in information society, in Finnish). Her empirical data is collected from communities where talkoot events have been organised. Kivelä's study examines the
question of how local communities develop/are developed into communities of the information society. The emphasis is on how the communities learn to use communication technology from the basis of their own communication-related needs. From the research data, KivelĂ¤ found four strategic emphases for learning and development initiatives using communication: 1) Efficiency improvement strategy, 2) commitment strategy, 3) participatory strategy and 4) networking strategy.
The efficiency improvement strategy is based on the experiences of exhaustion of a small active group, new possibilities provided by information and communication technology, and improved skills. The participatory strategy is a solution to the inefficacy of current communicative practices and a weak attraction of the community. The benefits are greater visibility due to technology-assisted communication and an opportunity for networking. The commitment strategy is again based on the exhaustion experience; community spirit provided by participation
and the increase of social capital are rewarding experiences. Finally, the networking strategy answers to rising expectations, an expanded interpretation of one's own task, joint resources and networking. (KivelĂ¤ 2012). All these strategies have a background idea of finding out how information and communication technology could lead communities forward under the pressure of external expectations. The significant result of the study is that people need a place and a virtual space to fulfil their basic existential needs. Also the skills of the information society are learned by methods ofcollective peer learning. In contrast, the view that information and communication technology can be used for the enjoyment of the community itself, for the support of its own way of life, is faded away. This point of view becomes visible when the data is examined, instead of looking at the survival of the local community, from the broader perspective of community life. For example village communities in Lapland, after their internet-talkoot event, found the motivation to make for their community a publication and videos on their own trips â€“ according to the talkoot principles, above
Division of products paper video audio internet
all. This is how a model became a practice. In the same manner, Different learners made the pilot happy when they presented a calendar they had made using the talkoot model, sometime after their first talkoot event. In addition to collaborative learning, individuals have been able to realise the possibilities of information technology in talkoot. For example, one of the talkoot participants compiled a book on a boat repair project; he even made the page layout himself. Before the talkoot event, he did not know it was possible â€“ an artist as he was by nature. Future-talkoot motivating futures thinking Future-talkoot is a model for motivating futures thinking, developed on the basis of experiences from Know-how-talkoot, Communication camps, and of course future studies. The talkoot event begins with a brief lecture on futures thinking and the methods of future studies, especially the futures matrix method (SeppĂ¤lĂ¤ 2012) It is very interesting to create different scenarios for different areas with the talkoot participants, and to get familiar with their different ways of thinking. Searching for the desired, non-desired, and probable scenarios in the matrix is always fascinating. Since food is the yeast of talkoot that raises the community spirit, it is prepared also at a future-talkoot event. But here we think about what would be eaten in the future, according to each scenario. When there are a lot of participants, we form groups and prepare all of these foods. With a smaller group of participants we figure out together what to make and which scenario the food in question represents. During a common meal we reflect on 52
the kind of everyday life each scenario facilitates, we draw role straws to see our roles (character, profession, distinctive features) and divide into groups according to each scenario. Each group makes a drama on daily life in the scenario, from the point of view of the given role figure. The dramas are presented either as written stories or as an audio or video play. In the ending discussion we exchange views on how the dramas, everyday life that is, differ from each other, and what has been learned. Without involving everyday life, the whole futures thinking would be standing on nothing. Now we are forced to really think about it. The lot-drawn role characters have a great importance. According to my experience, we would maintain to our usual stereotypes without them. The role characters are a way of externalising everyday life as well. In the following I quote a diary entry from spring 2012: Future-talkoot has succeeded in making a future research model that combines largescale phenomena and upper-level scenarios with everyday life; futures thinking has been made experiential. The model thus affects our thinking and the kind of future we are constructing. Yesterday and the day before, we had a training session for our own team (we invited others too) on the theme of future-talkoot. We killed four flies with one slap: we learned the method, developed it, commodified it, and learned about our own future by opening our minds and disarming traps that threaten our thinking. Personally, I found the event very rewarding. It was motivating to introduce futures thinking to a very receptive audience in the beginning, and it was motivating to think about the different parts of the matrix, to
think about zooming in into different factors and get to know how each of us think. The search for desired, non-desired and probable scenarios in the matrix is always fascinating. At this stage we realised a practical problem: we would have needed entrées and snacks before the meal. Our blood sugar went low and the final effort was made forcefully. But it was now fruitful to make plans for food in each scenario. We chose a menu that best suited our needs -and was possible: local food/gourmet, a tapas selection. Still when we were eating, we were talking about which kind of daily life each scenario facilitates. We drew role straws to choose a role for ourselves and formed three groups – and headed home to have dreams of future everyday life. The following day, yesterday that was, we were all well rested and many had ideas on their mind; sub-conscience had done its job during the night. We made three dramas on the future in the form of an audio play. In the non-desired drama, a Citymarket manager with ADHD disorder forces a physically handicapped fashion designer to make clothes for himself, better than his store could offer, and he demands food from under the counter, avoiding taxes. The drama ended up with the solution that he had to hold to the products of his own company since the others had lousy professional skills; vocational training had not been invested in since the 2010's. The audio play is available on our website in the audio productions section. The authors said the possibility of this non-desired scenario made them shiver. The probable future: “Some Brother Is Watching”. A well-known icon painter is “caged” by a flippant traffic controller. The zero tolerance of alcohol for drivers makes him pay a large fine; the controllers fine drivers to pay their salaries. He has the right to make a complaint of course, but the commune uses externalised services for the collection of fees and employs less personnel
dealing with the right of appeal. The icon painter has to pay his fee, perhaps to get it back some day, if his appeal goes through. In this case, whatever he gains will be lost in legal costs... The audio play is also among the audio productions. The third one, desired future, focuses on a reflection on how the characters, a welder, a dyslectic cash keeper and a personal trainer develop their own village in the middle of the town. They found a creative marketplace for town inhabitants, use technology in many ways to enable true interaction between people. The play is also among the audio productions. In our final discussion we exchanged ideas on how the plays or everyday lives differed from each other, what we had learned. Johanna for instance said that without this everyday life section, the entire futures thinking would have been vain; now we were forced to really think about it. The others agreed. Personally, I had afterthoughts about the impact of these characters: it was important. Without this addition, we would have remained with our stereotypes, as it has occurred in thosee future-talkoot events where roles have been included. The characters were helpful in externalising everyday life. I think we have come up with something unique: a model for examining the future – how to combine major phenomena and upperlevel scenarios with everyday life and make them experiential. In this way, they affect our thinking and the kind of future we are making. This method would be particularly suitable for designers of future services, both technical and other. Even now we invented many ways of using technology (desired future) and, on the other hand, we thought about the different negative effects of the use (non-desired and probable scenario). We also learned that it is really important to examine the use of technology also from the perspective of the desired future way of life! Thank you, Knowhow-talkoot people! Give your comments! 53
the future is composed of everyday choices
Possible uses of future-talkoot âˆ’ This method is especially suitable for developers of future services, technical and other. Many new ways of using technology on the one hand (desired future), and on the other hand, what possible negative effects the use of it might have (non-desired and probable scenarios). It is really important to examine the use of technology also from the perspective of the desired future way of life! This is one option in starting to deconstruct the problem that is based on different ways of presenting problems by technology developers, public administration and the civil society. (Viukari 2010. âˆ’ Future-talkoot is a cognitively, socially and economically effective way of starting 54
studies. It deepens the students' futures thinking and thus expands comprehension on one's own goals and possibilities. Future-talkoot also helps the student in group-formation with other students. âˆ’ Future-talkoot is a quick, efficient and cost-efficient model for planning the future of communes. The model gives a tool for creating a common basis of ideas for communal elected persons and functionaries. Future-talkoot raises a spirit of cooperation, genuine interaction between the participants, because talkoot events are not consultations or PowerPoint presentations. There is no supervision by outsiders either in the events since pilots are there as ordinary participants.
FINAL COMMENT What is the desired future from the point of view of talkoot and Communication camps? In the summer 2011 Communication camp there were firsttimers of all ages, experienced campers, visitors, those who stayed for a longer time and those who were there the whole time. All went well, the older guiding the younger and vice versa. Visitors were a supplement to the camp's strength while others were for example taking an exam. Lauri, a high school student, said: The Communication camp is a fine place in the sense that one can come here for a shorter period of time, one can discuss here with older people and play with children. It is not like this anywhere else.
Could this be a possible desired future way of life? If it is, it requires also the adaptation of information technology services to people's desired way of life in order to change social structures. It requires giving up on the idea of age class in education, and the removal of various administrative and geographical boundaries. Communication camps and Know-howtalkoot help us clarify our ideas on future hopes. Once this is done, we find solutions for today's actions from the perspective of knowing the future â€“ the perspective of desired future. This is our way of giving a chance to the desired future way of life. Memory is aimed at the past, comprehension to the present, and care is aimed at the future, said Mikael Wexionius, Professor of philosophy, in 55
Figure 8: Futures thinking as a guide to desired future
1640. We cannot change the past, but the future is open before us, full of optional possibilities some of which will come true. At the founding ceremony of the Academy, Wexionius set a goal: side by side with industriousness and modesty, such cultural achievements will emerge that in the future, no nation shall have more merits than the Finnish. (Niiniluoto, 2001). Has Wexionius's wish come true? Almost, if not completely. This has demanded understanding and conscious goal-orientation in striving for good life from our forefathers. Ritva-Sini Merilampi, Counsellor of Education emerita, M.Sc. (education), has mmade an evaluation of Know-howtalkoot from a pedagogic perspective. In her final report she states that the goal of 56
Know-how-talkoot is not to train media professionals, but to foster general mediarelated education in the civil society – media literacy! This is also true in the context of Communication camps. “Education is a more demanding task than teaching”, Merilampi says. Education is creative and unpredictable, and it belongs to all active citizens. Relying solely on on science and technology in society makes it a factory-like society, even though this is efficient and economical. Education is needed to create a spiritually rich human culture. “The basis of our culture has always been a majority conscious of its past”, says Merilampi in the spirit of Wexionius. Dialogue is possible when people have shared knowledge. Good media literacy
teaches us to be open-minded, tolerant, and gives us the ability to cope with uncertainty. The Know-how-talkoot project is in the centre of media literacy. It attempts to take into account all three branches of the human ability of culture creation: science, art and philosophy. This reveals the conception of man in the background of the project: a knowing, feeling individual,
equipped with a will (Merilampi 2012), an individual that cooperates with others; individuals take care of each other, teach each other and build a common future. As we now take as our goal a medialiterate, industrious and modest people, the future shows us all a hopeful, balanced and positive face. Communication camps and Know-how-talkoot, as methods of future making, help us reach this goal.
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The Know-how-talkoot project is a part of the national ESR development programme 2007-2013, in the administrative sector of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The programme focuses on developing active citizenship in open learning environments. The objective of Know-how-talkoot is to provide communities with better communication skills and create communication practices that are valid also after the project. In the background of all action is the idea that everyone has the right to be seen and heard, to express themselves and participate. This requires access to networks, technical know-how, understanding and motivation. Know-how-talkoot is a part of future studies â€“ future making. What is a society like where the use of information technology is based on the needs of citizens and communities and strengthens the way of life? Know-how-talkoot and the earlier concept of Communication camps are still ongoing. Inspired by future studies, both concepts are a counterweight to global competition society. The author, Ph.D. Marja-Liisa ViherĂ¤ has been involved in future studies during decades. Her experiences on the development of information technology and communication are based on her work in an operator company and the practice of Communication camps and Know-how-talkoot.
Published on Jun 28, 2012
Communication camps and Know-how-talkoot are ways to inspire future orientation and give concrete examples on options available in the futur...