Warm Welcome for 2014!

The start of 2014 makes me think of Dutch painter Peter Klashorst who once explained that he could see a simple white wall as “One big abstract painting”. The eye of the beholder is a powerful thing!

I did hatch some plans for this year and I do have ideas of what I want to be doing. But basically I have no detailed mental picture of what I will be looking back on one year from now. I will let the year 2014 surprise me.

Of course one could say that any year can do that – and mostly they do, in fact. For instance, one year ago I had no clue that I would deliver trainings in Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2013 or that I would meet friends I had not seen in twenty years during a reunion in London. I did not expect to read up on chemicals management and I had no idea that trying out Instagram would lead to loads of new ideas and even form a basis for project ideas.

Still, the basic format of 2013 was clear from the beginning and many things I did or experienced were not wholly unexpected or surprising.

This year will be quite different, though. Only the first few weeks are firmly fixed. After that I will let my dreams come true by concentrating fully on the development of Changing Tides and my freelance work.

That means the biggest part of 2014 is still a big untouched canvas for me. It can still become anything and everything.

And at the same time, it already is something: a big abstract painting. To me, it looks beautiful, magical and full of unborn opportunity.

One big abstract canvas

“One big abstract painting!”

And what about you? Do you have some untouched canvases in your mental attic that fill you with anticipation? Or do you have a very clear idea of what 2014 will bring you – and of what you will bring the world in this year?

Whichever the case may be, I wish you an adventurous and successful year. May the seeds you planted in 2013 turn out to bear beautiful flowers and juicy fruits. And may you be able to look upon all those ordinary moments with the eye of an artist and see beautiful paintings all around you!

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Visualising What Was Important

As I have written before, I tend not to believe that much in traditional evaluation forms any more. The information you receive is to a large extent not usable for you as trainer or facilitator. For instance if it concerns issues you have no influence on like who is invited or able to come and who is not.

But what’s worse, providing the feedback is mostly not very useful for the participants. That in itself renders evaluations less useful – if there is nothing to gain from spending some brain space on answering evaluation questions in earnest I think it is fair to assume that most participants will just jot something down quickly in order to be off sooner rather than later.

If you can connect the evaluation to the participants’ feelings and to the steps they plan to take in future using the things they learned and developed during the training, you may have a better chance of getting quality feedback that they have actually spent some time on formulating.

In a recent training assignment I asked participants at the end of the training to take a picture of something that for them symbolised the most significant moment or insight of the training and to send this to me with one sentence of explanation. Here is what I got:

From these pictures and texts I conclude that

  • the training was lively and participatory, which was much appreciated
  • participants felt engaged in the team, as they all got tasks for steps to be taken after the training
  • participants gained more insight into the topic of the training and jointly developed an image of what they want to achieve together
  • participants felt hopeful because of the shared vision for the future

and thus that me and my co-trainer Gusztáv Nemes succeeded in creating a shared knowledge base on the topic (including new knowledge provided also by us), in supporting the group to use this knowledge as a basis for a common vision for the future, in mobilising the group to work as a team towards the shared goals and in creating an open atmosphere in which everyone could and did take part actively.

And so these simple statements and picture made me very happy about our performance – much more than a traditional happy sheet could have done, where I would have to guess what could be the reasons for the scores given.

But the main source of happiness was due to the fact that participants actually spent time looking around themselves and considering this and that item as a suitable symbol all the while thinking about what the main moment had been in the last two and a half days of work. Looking at the pictures sent, most participants selected a moment that connected the training to their future actions and work as a team. For me, those two things show the true value of this exercise.

rural development vision for Bosnia and Herzegovina

A picture is worth a thousand words

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Celebrating Your Life

As happens to the best of us, I found myself at a low ebb last week. This nagging feeling that things could be much better, if only I knew how.

And just I was trying to figure what I could do to make myself feel better, the mailman brought me a nice old-fashioned snail mail envelope. Sent by someone I know online only.

LetterHe sent me an invitation to use the remaining 40 days of 2013 to take stock of what and who inspires me, touches me, or makes me happy or proud, and what my dreams are for 2014. To make this easier, he sent me a small notebook and a felt tip pen along with his letter.

This invitation in combination with his personal message about his appreciation of my engagement, drive and sense of humour simply made my day. All this, despite the fact that we have never met in real life.

This made me realise that I have absolutely no reason to be moping around the house. Because, I, too, have people in my life that I appreciate, things that I like and that inspire me, and touch me. And all these things and people together bring me dreams, for 2014 and beyond.

All this happened almost a week ago. So what did I collect until now?

These are the people and things I am right now thankful for:

  • Roel Rotterdam, for sending me this invitation and message at the right time, among many other things
  • Ecaterina Melnicenco, for letting me dabble in social media coaching
  • Lidija Pavic-Rogosic, for taking one of my previous posts as a start for developing a very nice project proposal and also – on another level – for sharing a very nice Instagram video
  • Gerdi Keeler, for our cooperation as nul100 which brings me new ideas and inspiration almost daily
  • Barend Barentsen, for letting me ramble on about online tools in learning and all the things he could do
  • this week’s online tools: PhotoSnack and GoogleForms
  • ……

…. and there is so much more!

As it is ThanksGiving today, I would end by thanking Roel Rotterdam for his wake up call and inspiration! I wish all of you out there a happy ThanksGiving:

ThanksGiving

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Things My Mobile Saw This Year

It happened almost imperceptibly. But there it is. I seem to have started using my phone to take pictures. Initially, I did not see the point of having a camera on my phone. After all, I did have a real camera and I hardly used it.

But as I was looking through my phone gallery just now I found I have loads of visual reminders of moments that have turned into nice memories – and that I somehow caught with my phone.

Below you can see a short impression of Things My Mobile Saw This Year, made with PhotoSnack. You can also view 2013 in mobile photos here.

Of course this is just fooling around and a major way of procrastinating online. After all, who apart from myself would care what things my phone caught in pictures.

However, this very easy way of collecting photos into a slide show with the option of adding text and descriptions – I did this in 10 minutes tops – can be a powerful tool when used for educational purposes. Why not ask your participants to make a PhotoSnack of their impressions of your training or workshop? Why not ask them to prepare for their learning process by showing you as trainer their day-to-day environment in which they will have to apply their new knowledge or skills? Why not ask them to show some of their routines, annoyances, or challenges? Why not ask them to show you their highlights and moments of glory after the training?

Why not, indeed. No reason why they cannot spend for instance half an hour reflecting on what they need to change or what they have learned. Such investment of time and attention is peanuts compared to whatever it is they will have to do to integrate their new knowledge and skills and insights into their daily practice. And it may well make that bumpy road ahead of them easier: it can help them focus and it can help them stay motivated if they can look back at their own visual reminders of what it is they wanted to tackle and what tools they got from the training to deal with those challenges.

As for me, it feels good to see some of the things I did and experienced so far this year. There have been a lot of good moments and I feel good to have captured them. If nothing else, that fact shows me I am still developing myself and that I am still building new habits. It is really inspirational to realise that there are always new things to be learned and applied – and this is so easily done!

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Make your online work place ad-free

Recently I was working with someone on a GoogleDoc. A very nice tool to write a text together online. It offers most of the options that Word has, too, like commenting and so on.

GoogleDoc example with comments

GoogleDoc: example with comments

One of the extras it provides is the possibility to have a chat if you are working online on a document at the same time as others.That is, if the chat window is visible. Which in this case, it wasn’t for my colleague.

I wrote a chat message, suggesting to discuss something and while I could see she was online and working in the document, I did not get any reaction from her. I was puzzled, because this is not like her at all, but I assumed she was busy with something else at the same time and I was sure we would eventually discuss the matter. No hurry, no problem.

However, when I spoke to her later I found out that she had not even seen my chat message. It had been obscured by ads.

I am not sure how that happened, and it may have been something else entirely. But it made me consider once again how annoying (pop up) ads can be online if you are there for your work. (Of course they can be equally annoying when you are just Facebooking for fun, I do know that!).

But it is truly annoying if your work is being hindered by ads popping up on vital positions on your screen. Like happened a while ago during a webinar. Some of the participants could not see the full presentation screen or were simply unable to concentrate, due to ads.

Imagine if such a thing would happen offline – if half of a meeting would be inaudible because of ads. Or if your notes in your writing pad would be obscured by ads. Or if, as you can sometimes see during TV reports of football matches, part of the playing field would be covered in banners and ads (luckily the ones that seem really in the way of the game are only virtual).

Impractical ads - if they were real. From Ajax-ADO, 2013, via http://youtu.be

Impractical ads – if they were real. From Ajax-ADO, 2013, via http://youtu.be/_KlhlaGfRn8

Of course I am aware that all free things have their price: ads and data collection. I am using many free services and I enjoy them a lot. And I hope they will continue to be free tools. And I am OK with paying a small price by giving up some level of privacy and providing some interesting data. That is our deal. But that doesn’t mean I need to see silly ads all the time.

Ads on Facebook

Ads on Facebook that I don’t usually see luckily

If you also prefer to work in a quiet online environment, without ads for women to meet, bras to wear, food buy, equipment to covet and so on and so forth, there is an easy tool to use. The reason why I had no clue that the chat message window was obscured. The reason why I can never cheer up my Facebook friends with posts about the funny products that Facebook thinks I could be up for.

It is simple to install and works miracles. It is called Ad Block Plus. It is available as plug in, for free, for most current browsers (like Explorer. Chrome, Firefox and a couple of others).

LinkedIn ad

So happy that I do not see these things when using LinkedIn

If you want to have a quiet work place online, I would highly recommend investing two minutes of your time, if that, to install Ad Block Plus. After all, we go to great lengths uncluttering our desks and making everything just so, in order to be able to work productively. So why not extend that courtesy to yourself when it concerns your virtual desk?

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Evaluations are Boring and Useless

As trainer I am always curious to learn what participants think of the workshop: was it useful? Will they do something with what they learned and planned? Am I the new role model in their lives because I was so darn inspiring?????

It has become custom to hand out so-called happy sheets at the end of a training, to collect participants’ feedback. Well, they don’t always make you happy, I can say!

Not because participants are negative, but because you so seldom get something useful out of them.

In answer to the question 'what could be better?' - made with Quozio

In answer to the question ‘what could be better?’ – made with Quozio

By the end of the workshop, participants want to get away as soon as they can. The happy sheet is a hindrance for their haste – a few more precious minutes down the drain! In order to leave as quickly as possible, most participants will use as little time and energy as feasible to score items on the happy sheet. Rarely do they take time to write something down for the open questions.

Even the scoring can sometimes be misleading. A colleague of mine once inquired what the rates 6 and 7 on a scale of 10 (perfect) meant for the participants. One of them replied: “The training was useless, but the trainer was friendly.”

And this is only natural. After all, this happy sheet doesn’t have any purpose for the participants. They hand it in, and that’s that. It is no use for them afterwards, at their work place. What do they care to remember how good I was as trainer, or how good the accommodation was, or how much they exchanged. However good the workshop was, it is history by then.

So if you want to have useful feedback on your training you should make the evaluation meaningful or fun for the participants.

One of the things you can do is to connect the evaluation moment to the future: let participants think about how and when and with whom they will use what they learned and planned. If you then ask them to visualise this you ‘force’ them to spend just a little bit more of their time on this question. After all, they will have to develop an idea and will have to come up with a visual representation of this idea. They need to make or look for a photo, draw something, shoot a video, make a cartoon…. All this will make them think more deeply about to what extent the training was useful to them and how they will actually apply their new knowledge, skills or insights.

In addition, they will have their own visual idea with them, physically – it will be in their own camera, phone, tablet or computer. It is not that happy sheet that disappears in a big black box.

If you want to remind them of their ideas and plans you can collect all the visuals and present them in a booklet form (easily made online and downloaded as PDF) one month after the end of the training.

And that could be a great time to also ask them about their thoughts of the training: what was the best working method used? What was the most significant moment, and why? What was the most novel insight they got? Which remark do they remember still? Etc.

The most significant moment

The most significant moment, made with Quozio

Of course a lot more can be said about evaluations: what are the best type of questions, the best tools to use and the best moments in or after your training to ask for feedback.

I will certainly write more on this topic and am also going to organise workshops about evaluating trainings and learning processes together with my colleague Gerdi Keeler. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me!

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Chemicals Management and NGOs

This week, the Republican Union of Agricultural Producers’ Associations of Moldova UniAgroProtect (UAP) is organising – in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment – Chemicals Safety Week in Moldova. During the whole week they organise events, workshops, round tables, flash mobs, ‘ecological hours’ in schools, and the like with different stakeholders and all over the country. The aim is to raise awareness about chemicals in daily life: hazards, possible protective measures and alternatives. So far, they have managed to generate a lot of media attention, including on television.

Chemicals Safety Week: press conference

Chemicals Safety Week: press conference

Of course I am far away from all this. After all, I am sitting at home in the Netherlands, behind my laptop. But through Skype I got a glimpse of these events today, as local consultant Marcela Vatamaniuc sent me a message to let me know it is all going very well and that the toolkit we developed together with great assistance from UAP and several experts was received warmly.

Planned workshop for youngsters on products they use a lot

Planned workshop for youngsters on products they use a lot

It was good to be reminded about our intensive cooperation earlier this year: together we developed a training and a toolkit for NGOs on chemicals management and awareness raising. Our task was to help NGOs develop attractive regional workshops on chemicals in daily life and to help them develop informational materials and campaigns on this topic as well. In order to do this, we also provided basic information on a set of key chemicals that are present in Moldovan households, work places and schools as well as on the legal framework regulating these substances in Moldova.

Legal framework

Moldova is Party to a great many Conventions, like the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and SAICM. Each of these conventions governs different aspects of chemicals management, such as trade, transport, hazardous waste, and so on.

In order to make these international conventions “operational” in the Republic of Moldova, national laws and regulations have been developed and adopted. Different ministries and agencies are involved in implementation and monitoring of these laws. This way, chemicals management has been divided over 10 different central public authorities that deal with tasks like licensing and authorization, transport and disposal, emergency situations, etc. A new law that might improve chemicals management was at the time of the training still in the process of being adopted – whereas it had been drafted already in 2010. As a result there is no integrated life cycle management of chemicals across all branches of the national economy.

Labelling

An important piece of international legislation is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, GHS. This was adopted in 2005. Labelling is crucial to help people understand the risk of certain products and to help consumers make an informed choice about what to buy and what not.

Labelling was one of the issues addressed

Labelling was one of the issues addressed

Key Chemicals in Moldova

The key chemicals highlighted in the training and the toolkit are asbestos, cadmium, mercury, lead, POPs, Ozone Depleting Substances and PCBs. The main problem with these substances is that they are both highly hazardous and (have been) considered highly useful. They have been, and to some extent still are, used extensively and can be found virtually anywhere due to the fact that they disperse easily. Once you start reading up on those chemicals you cannot but wonder how on earth it is possible that they are still ubiquitous, not just as a result of having been used extensively in the past when people presumably did not know better, but also because they are still used. And not just in poverty-stricken countries, see for instance below.

In the public eye- Mascara exempt from UN mercury treaty — Environmental Health News 2013-10-23 23-05-36Why NGOs?

You might have started thinking that the issue of chemicals management is by far too technical, political, international and complex for NGOs to play a meaningful role. When it comes to drafting the legal framework or enforcing it, that might indeed be true. But when it comes to informing and mobilising consumers, influencing producers and working with governments on formulating desirable steps to be taken NGOs are indispensable. NGOs are perfectly placed to ‘translate’ this complex topic into practical advice and easy-to-understand background information that consumers can use as guides when choosing what to buy and what not. After all, they have knowledge of the topic and do not have an own economic interest at stake. They also know about the needs and concerns and interests of ordinary people and can connect their information to these. At the same time, they can represent these needs, concerns and interests towards businesses and governments. Again, they can ‘translate’ these into the necessary jargon and connect them to the policy level. In short, they can bridge the gap between the policy makers and their citizens, and empower these citizens to make informed decisions.

That NGOs can be quite influential in their public campaigns, also internationally, was shown earlier this year when finally a temporary restriction was imposed on the use of neonicotinoids in the European Union.

'Victory for bees' as European Union bans neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for destroying bee population - Nature - Environment - The Independent 2013-05-19 14-17-28

Interested?

Toolkit Chemicals Management & Awareness Raising

Toolkit Chemicals Management & Awareness Raising

If you are interested in reading more about the above topics, and want to read the toolkit, please contact me. It is available in PDF format in English, but too big to be made downloadable from here.

Collections of links on Pinterest

The toolkit was prepared in the frame of the project “Civil Society Capacity building in support of SAICM implementation in Moldova” that is being implemented by  the Republican Union of Agricultural Producers’ Associations of Moldova UniAgroProtect (UAP). The project is supported by a grant from the SAICM Quick Start Programme Trust Fund. 

The project is made possibly by these organisations

The project is made possibly by these organisations

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Telling stories

Storytelling is all the rage nowadays. There are many places where one can learn how to tell one’s story, orally or in writing. More and more people are interested in sharing their stories through life books, or through online posts on different social media channels. Organisations and leaders are using stories as a means to convey their messages.

I experienced the power of stories first-hand some time ago at the annual high-level meeting of the Dutch Ombudsman. In this event the Ombudsman highlights the main issues of this annual report, in front of his target group: CEOs of public institutions and high-level civil servants. He doesn’t do this by sharing facts and figures, even if he does not leave those out. His focus is on the impact of the cases he deals with and on creating a sense of urgency to tackle the issues at hand. For this, he uses stories.

This year I was invited to share my story in a dialogue with the CEO of the institution I was complaining about. When I approached the Ombudsman I started by writing a long, long piece about what happened, what had gone wrong and how, and what should have happened, in my opinion. It was a technical case, and my letter was technical and full of legal humbug. I wanted this case to be taken seriously, and thought a serious approach was required, including using legal terms to make sure it was clear that I knew what I was talking about.

A serious case requires a serious approach

A serious case requires a serious approach

When I was invited to share my case at this annual event, it quickly became clear that this was not the way I was supposed to present it; I was supposed to tell a story. A story in three short pieces, to be prompted by the event’s host. After each of my pieces, the CEO would have a piece, built around the same three questions: What happened in laymen’s terms? What did this mean in daily life? What are lessons (to be) learned? In all, we had around 10 minutes. Ten minutes divided by two? For my 9 page-case?????? Impossible!

Well, it turned out it was possible. And the short version was stronger than the long one, I might add.

How did that happen?

Well, it worked out so well because of the format, and because of the great moderator of the event, and because of a very thorough preparation process.

Ombudslezing

In the preparation process I went through my case several times with a colleague of the moderator. She had read my 9 pages thoroughly and asked detailed questions. She made it clear she understood the issues, the case and my concerns.

Then she explained that we should identify the essence of it all, in order to get my message across. And we started focusing on the story.

The story is not about procedures and legal intricacies. The story is about how it is to count on a certain income and not to get it for almost a year. The story is about not knowing whether this wrong will ever be put right. The story is about the bills that pile up, the letters received and sent. The hope that thrives when at some stage someone says you’re right. And about the despair when it turns out that this stage was not the final stage. The essence is about the impact the functioning of a public institution has on an ordinary person, and the feeling that person gets that they are a number, not a human being.

Step by step my case became a story and on the event itself, I was my story, even if it was not a story about me. And the funny thing was, the CEO got into the story, too. And had gotten into it in his preparation process in fact. So while I had thought we were adversaries, fighting our own cause against each other, we became a common story, together. The power of this process was overwhelming, thanks to the great preparation and implementation from the side of the Ombudsman and the moderator of the day, Margriet Vroomans, and her colleague Esmeralda Böhm.

If you want to know how you could use storytelling in your work as facilitator, trainer or (project) manager, you should participate in the one-day training Facilitating Storytelling – Tools for the Facilitator on 28 November 2013. Look here for more information in Dutch. If you’d like to have more information in English, contact me. The training can be conducted in English, if English speakers are signing up, so do feel welcome!

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Serendipity and Instagram

Last week I shared my experiences with Instagram over the summer. It had taken me a while to put my thoughts into a post and I thought it had taken too long. Not so. It was meant to be.

This week I read an article in Flair magazine about Instagram. It featured 3 people that had started using Instagram just for themselves but for whom their use of Instagram had turned out to be a great success. The one that inspired me was Marianne Hope, who started a company as a result of her Instagram success. The company, SeeMyCity, uses Instagram for city marketing: they send a team of experienced phone photographers to a city and share the pictures with their tens of thousands of Instagram followers. At the same time, they also organise workshops for the local inhabitants, so that they can continue posting pictures of their city and thus can continue promoting their city. Tourist information centres are highly interested in this type of marketing, and the company has done assignments in Oslo, Doha and several other cities in the Netherlands and Belgium by now. See the results on Instagram.

SeeMyCity homepage photos

SeeMyCity homepage photos

This is for me serendipity: I get my thoughts together on Instagram, then I happen to read something about a completely different way of using Instagram at the moment when I am still digesting the use of Instagram in learning processes and thinking about marketing of rural women’s produce and rural tourism in Albania. Sometimes life can be so beautiful!

IMG_20130914_123712-800

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Instagram as a Tool for your Learning Process?!

This summer I was finally forced to try Instagram. Until then, I must confess I had not bothered to. I do like photos, but I always seem to forget to take pictures even if that is nowadays as easy as not forgetting to bring your phone.

I first became more engaged with Instagram when the Dutch LOSmakers community organised a joint trial of it. The LOSmakers are interested in how social media can be used in processes of learning and change and the community members are focused on practical use of tools and exchange about experiences and best practices. True to form, the trial was practice-oriented: everyone who wanted to join was requested to post one photo each day during three consecutive days. The photos were to introduce yourself to the others. On the fourth day, a joint Skype session was held to share experiences and discuss how Instagram might be used in real life.

I was unable to join the Skype session, but did join the three-day photo posting preparation of it. And became hooked almost immediately. Why?

  • It turned out to be really very easy to take a quick snapshot of something around the house and to share this on Instagram
  • It turned out to be very nice to see how people reacted to this with comments and through their own photos – suddenly many of us started sharing pictures of our bookcases

IMG_20130626_134327-800

  • Some really nice conversations came about with people that I’d never met before, online or face-to-face
  • It was very easy to follow all posted pictures and conversations using Webstagram with a hashtag (web.stagram.com/tag/hashtag)

Webstagram picture

  • As a bonus, we discovered the InstaCollage app that enables you to make a collage out of pictures (whether Instagram or not) including text, frames and effects

collage_4

 

So how could Instagram be used in a learning situation?

  • As an online introduction exercise – ask participants to share pictures of something they did, of something that is important to them, of their kitchen, bookcase, etc. Keep in mind to connect the focus question for the introduction to the theme of the work to be done later on
  • As tool for reflection or evaluation – ask participants to share a picture that represents what they learned, how they feel, what was the most important insight to them, etc.
  • As a tool to take stock of a situation – ask participants to share a picture of their desk, of an annoyance in their daily work or life, of an internal notice board, etc. The focus question will of course depend on what you will be working on

As said, the easy part is taking snapshots with a phone or tablet. Most everyone can do this nowadays.

However, there are some hurdles to be taken. While Instagram allows you to like and comment, it does not send notifications when someone comments on your photo or on a comment of yours. This means you would need to regularly check to stay on top of ongoing discussions.

Webstagram does help, because you can search on the basis of agreed hashtag, and then just visit the search page (web.stagram.com/tag/hashtag) online and browse through. As long as there are not too many photos this is easy to do. It is also possible to comment and like via Webstagram directly, without needing to go to Instagram.

A practical issue is that some people prefer to have a private status on Instagram, meaning that only their Instagram friends can see their pictures. That could lead to a situation where people are posting, but not all participants can see these pictures, more or less forcing that person to change their privacy settings if they really want to take full part.

The main reason why I might be hesitant to use Instagram as a platform is that it requires an account. If you are going to work online with a group, you will already have a platform for which people need an account (Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikispaces, etc) and to ask people to create an account on yet another platform and to have part of the discussion going on there might be too much. Especially, but not only, if the group is averse towards online tools in the first place. Replacing any of the other platforms would in my opinion not do, as Instagram does not have all the features needed for work in a closed group.

What the exercise did give me was a confirmation of the power of visuals, and the unexpected and interesting conversations that can come out of using photos and photo assignments. This is something I will certainly make use of. Those that have an Instagram account could then use that, while those that would not like to create an account on a new platform could for instance easily use Fotor, which can do much the same as InstaCollage, without account.

collage_10That does not mean that I would discard Instagram as a platform for learning and exchange altogether. I have experienced its power on the occasion of Croatia joining the EU as its 28th Member State, 1 July 2013. For many reasons this country has a firm place in my heart and I was very sorry that I was unable to be there at the magic moment. Instead, I became a Twitter junkie and followed whatever and whoever I could to stay updated in the days leading up to the 1st of July and on the night of 30 June. One of my new Twitter friends invited me to link also on Instagram, and that’s when I discovered a wealth of picture posts. And it wasn’t just enthusiastic Croatian citizens posting pictures of the main square, the Croatian government was really very active as well in sharing the atmosphere of these days, combined with information about Croatia and its accession process.

This unlimited sharing of information across borders is what, in my opinion, really shows the value of Instagram. After all, learning is based on being confronted with new information, reflecting on it and engaging about it, and embedding the new insights into your life somehow. Precisely that is what Instagram offered me in the lead-up to Croatia’s accession and in the introduction picture round with the LOSmakers.

wwwvladahr on Instagram

wwwvladahr on Instagram

 

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