Learn. Lead. Innovate.

Learn. Lead. Innovate

keskiviikko 14. joulukuuta 2011

Greatest Finnish innovating tool ever ? Thinking Sauna

What could be the most influenced place in earth to Finn? Obvious it’s Sauna.

Picture of my PTS=Personal Thinking Sauna

Earlier there was dozens of different ways to use saunas than warm up and wash yourself. Sauna was place were mamas delivered babies, sometimes we tried to cure diseases with hot steam, Finns dried their food in saunas and in the very end bodies were washed in saunas. But the greatest use has been thinking.

“Problem solving in hot sauna”

There are many stories about solving problems in sauna. During the Cold War Finland and Soviet Union had some difficult problems and diplomatic crises. Many times the answer was sauna ! Our former president Urho Kekkonen was known about that. He has done lot of politics and compromises in his private sauna. After few beer conversation and dialogue is easier.

Sitting bare naked we are equal

It is obvious, when we are sitting bare naked in sauna, we are very equal. There is no titles, status, merits, positions or fancy clothes. You have only your thoughts, ideas and dialogue. You can’t hide anywhere or stand anyone’s back. There is no time. And if you want to have conversation, you should “listen” your companion – do not give too much hot steam.

Refreshing steam stimulates your brains ?

In sauna you can focus and concentrate certain issue without interrupted. You got privacy and you sit there with your own thoughts. There is no hurry. This kind of calm down is crucial in this busy world. I do often thinking sauna sessions.

We are very lucky, that we are living in Muurame Finland, where is located the world biggest sauna factory Harvia Oy http://www.harvia.fi/ and we have also the Sauna Museum. Sauna is under my skin. I will invite you to Finnish Sauna – marvelous thinking tool !

Have you ever tried Sauna ? What did you liked ?

maanantai 5. joulukuuta 2011

Learning Bus...

Have you developed total new learning environments and places?

We found and discovered quiet nice place – the Learning Bus.

Our 3rd grade students and our teachers had common bus drive to Helsinki. Students had their Studia expo, where they joined and explored postgraduate studies like academic universities and universities of applied science round the Finland.

Teachers visited the Finnish
National Board of Education http://www.oph.fi/english and one of the very famous Finnish coaching company Trainers’ House http://www.trainershouse.fi/en/Services/Philosophy.aspx .

So we both had plenty of time to spend together in bus. We should have more time together with students and of course with staff. Having common experiences, ideas, thoughts and discussions we will build our community. It is obviously that schools should go outside of the school like companies, authorities, organizations and so on.

We had three iPads 2 (3G) with us. Some of our teachers have used iPads few months but most of our group did not have any experiences about these devices. So our experienced teachers show the benefits of iPads and let others use tablets. This teacher to teacher mentoring helped everyone understand the basics of these marvellous devices. At the same time we show Facebook, Twitter, blogs and some teaching applications. Everybody was very pleased about mentoring and learned something in very short time.

Secondly we had possibility to tell learning stories during bus drive. Students and teachers could tell didactic, educational or other informative stories in their lifes, hobbies, memories, schools or homes. We must encourage students and teachers tell more stories. People connect, affect and rely more stories than texts. Digital storytelling in one new way of telling stories with photos and videos. Still oral storytelling is crucial.

This kind of Learning bus -method has got lot of good points and potentials :

-in bus we had almost eight hours to work and learn
-everybody was in same room and very near by
-discussion and dialogue was easy with your sitting companion
-telling stories is great
-sharing with students and teachers
-learning each other
-have fun and jokes
-build a learning tribe

maanantai 7. marraskuuta 2011

Tribe has spoken

Last week we had our Finnish Social and Entrepreneurship Network meeting in Kouvola Finland. Our Network consist 23 Finnish High Schools which have chosen entrepreneurship and social media in their curriculum. These high schools want to have entrepreneurship principles in their strategy and policy widely. This kind of entrepreneurial working culture will be the only way to work also at schools. It is true that action speaks much more louder than words.

“Ideal and effective tribe”

We all heard marvellous lecture about tribes. Entrepreneur Jari Lammi from Kouvolan Innovation told us lot of good information about social media and tribes. Effective tribe consist 150 persons and contacts. Normal Facebook user have 130 friends, he said. More is less, because huge mount of tribe members don’t feel fellowship. This idea we must remember, when we are building too big schools or communities.

Shared values

Our group has promised to follow these shared values and ideology. We want to :

-develop and combine new learning environments with social media
-benefit social media leading our network and schools
-share our best practises with social media tools
-use social media to market, communicate and brand our high schools in Finland
-built new kind of sense of community

“Community of customers” = students

If we think school as an student oriented organization, we have to agree that idea. Every single organization (company, team, school etc.) should have "some kind of customers". In school they are student and pupils with their parents. School must hear their voices in planning and implementing school year.

Thank you Kouvola for comfortable meeting and time !

Proud coordinator

sunnuntai 23. lokakuuta 2011

Russian dolls (=teachers)

"Teachers in Russian are like Russian dolls with many varieties and complex"

Everybody knows the Russian dolls, dolls inside one doll going to little one. We have had honour to work with these committed and wonderful people. We are coordinating and leading education process in Republic of Carelia (Russia)http://www.peda.net/veraja/asbkarelia. This coaching process has put together Russian and Finnish teachers and schools.

In our point of view Russian teachers are very committed to their job and children they teach.
This metaphor ("Russian dolls") describes very well Russian teachers : most of them are women and schooling system is still quite hierarchical. Their system is well organized and ruled. Still teachers we work with, want to have new methods and more flat organizations. They are very willing to learn new pedagogical skills in their own educational ecosystem.

"Mixture of Finnish team learning and Russian way of thinking rocks"

Team learning and lot of discussions suite very well to co-operate. Russian teachers are very
good to depate and argue their conclusions. We Finns have lot to learn from them. They all are well educated and sophisticated. They know a lot of history, litterature and general knowledge.

We noticed that our thoughts combined to Russian way of thinking is marvellous mixture. During last year we have discovered new innovations and new small business together. We should put more foreign teachers together to get new ideas and thinking.

"Both sides respect each other"

We both know that everyone has to give and share. Our system has few good points and also Russian education system includes lot of great elements. We understand our historical background and different development, but still we can work productive together. This is really true and pure dialogue and it works. We will wait for our next meeting in February. It is awesome to get foreign colleagues. We want to have more teachers in our PLN (Professional Learning Network) to learn.

Let's share, let's care and let's dare !

keskiviikko 28. syyskuuta 2011

Visions about leadership

In the future we need leaders who...

separate THE BIG stones from the small ones.

I am working part-time in the Institute of Educational Leadership in Jyväskylä University. Last weekend we brainstormed with 50 principal trainee, what kind on abilities leaders, principals and teachers should have in the future. Every group found out, that future headmasters should be firstly human and have a heart of gold.

"Before you can lead others you must lead yourself"

Leaders of the future know well themselves.They are aware about their feelings and thoughts, because feelings are power and energy.
Good leaders accept all their feelings and use it for good.

Our group talked a lot about Mindfullness -thinking and "downshifting". Mindfulness means that people are living "more" in present. They don't think or live in past or in future.Their most important moment is right now. Like ancient Romans think : " Carpe Diem" - mindfulness thinkers do the same. They find that their most important person is standing in front of them. So we should concentrate people we are dealing now. You notice easily, if another person is somewhere else during conversation.

Don't hurry, take it easy...

Another note was, that every group wanted slow down their working life. We can do this "slow life" for example breathing, walking or eating more slowly during work day. This kind of thinking will confirm your presence at work. And it will help us to find and see positive "forces" around us. Throught this method we encourage positive and creative attitude.It is simply and easy, we think.Our principal traineers are very motivated and clever thinkers. This "we" generation want leaders to be :

- principal as an mirror of the school
- servant and coach
- understand the meaning of silence
- break rutines
- good in dialogue
- understand the power of word and stories
- think out of the box

keskiviikko 17. elokuuta 2011

lauantai 13. elokuuta 2011

PLN - you never walk alone !

"Nowadays employers don't ask what skills do you have but what people do you know"?

If you want to enlarge your possibilities in profession and develop yourself create yourself PLN. Working alone is history and social networking and connecting other colleagues and specialist is future. My vice to new teacher or educator is simple : "Join Twitter, Facebook, Google+, communities, networks, experts, students etc." With these tools you can develop and design your skills, knowledge and get new idea in your education. It is all about learning.

PLE thinking

Most of the learning happens outside of school.Students hobbies, networks, friends, home, games, litterature, comics, societies educate them even more than school. That's why is important to clarify these Personal Learning Environments(PLE)also at school. What skills and knowledge younsters learn through these tools. This social content is crucial.

My Personal Learning Network (PLN)

My own PLN consist few communities and networks. Our school (Muurame High School) has Facebook tribe which includes student and teachers. One of best learning tool is Twitter. We are building Twitter community with other Finnish and foreign educators/experts in #finnedchat chat and blog http://finnedchat.blogspot.com/. Our school has parents' association to support students and teachers collaboration.

We are coordinating and networking with 24 Finnish High Schools in Finnish Entrepreneurship and Social Network http://www.peda.net/veraja/yrittajyyslukioverkosto. This co-operation with same level schools is fantastic way to develop and discuss pedagogical and teachership issues.

Working in Institute of Educational Leadership https://www.jyu.fi/edu/laitokset/rehtori/en gives us perspective and new thinking in education leadership and academic research.

Latest marvellous network is international contacts in Reform Symposium http://reformsymposium.com/. This community will share knowledge and contacts round the world. It has been awesome to get new colleagues and have dialogue with them. Schooling issues and problems are quite similar every parts of earth.

As a company (Team Factory ltd) we are coordinating and leading education process in Republic of Carelia (Russia)http://www.peda.net/veraja/asbkarelia. This coaching process has put together Russian and Finnish teachers and schools.

Team Factory ltd is The member of Educluster Finland http://educlusterfinland.com/ which export Finnish Edcucation system abroad. This opportunity to join Educluster Finland will open totally new world for Finnish educators. World and new colleagues are very near by.

Let's care, dare and share !

keskiviikko 3. elokuuta 2011

Teamlearning in Muurame High School


In Muurame High School we have done several years teamworking and teamlearning. This means that every teachers and many student are involved in teams. Our school is normal Finnish High School with two specialities : entrepreneurship and sustainable development.

So we have two teams for these issues. Both teams have two student membership to bring student's voice planning. Teams make their own team agreement with rules, leadership in team, regular meetings etc.

In that "team contract" is also clarified the goals to achieve and some kind of indicators to measure results. This common and general pact will commit people to do the job. Staff and student can influence what's happening at school next year. Principal can give one goal (this season Well-being and slow life).Everybody is heard and committed to work.Teams get small amount of money for their needs and teammembers get some salary for the work.

Teams are led by teacher leaders or student leader.We must encourage also students to lead.Students are doing exactly the same in entrepreneurship studies and their projects. Coaches give them lot of responsible and freedom to do.

Trust is everything !

Next blog is dealing Sustainable development and environmental education in school

maanantai 1. elokuuta 2011

Presentation in RSCON3 e-Conference

We (with my teammate Timo Ilomäki) were honoured to have presentation about Finnish education system in RSCON3 e-Conference last week.

It was excellent possibility to join and connect other educators round the world.

Special thanks to marvellous educators Vicky Loras and Shell Terrel that they gave us opportunity to join. World is nowadays very small and colleagues near. I love to share this presentation to our PLN.

Education is everything in society !

tiistai 21. kesäkuuta 2011

When teacher became a coach !

What is the difference between teaching and coaching ?

Through social media we have to face the fact that information and knowledge is not teachers privilegde. Information is everywhere and the problem is to filter important facts from irrelevant.

Also the relationship between students and teachers have changed. Normally teacher gives the right answers and is leading the lesson and educational events. We need to give students more "space" and responsibility about their own learning. Students are in charge not the teachers. Teachers give help, consultation and intervention if needed. Good coach is available but not in front of class.

Students and coach are little bit "closer" each other than used to. This is possible if we discover new learning environment. We can get closer if we bravely discuss more with students. Cap between student and teacher will vanish if we have more time and dialogue with them. Still coach is an adult but something has changed.

Boring classes must decorate modern way and we can use different learning places like camps, companies, outdoor in real life. Coach do rather "learning by doing" than before. Coach want to try projects and survey phenomenon. Coaching is rather living and testing than teaching.

"If you want get answers you should ask questions"

Coach use dialogue as an learning method. We should ask rather right questions than give right answers. Dialogue is marvellous method to teach, learn and lead. There are four principles we use in dialogue :

1. Be honest

2. Talk straight

3. Listen more

4. Wait for answer

Coaching also supports creativity. If we accept different answers and give students options and choices in tasks, it helps also creativity. Be openminded and willingness to learn also from your students. Younsters have fresh and new perspective about their lives and education branch. Propably they use fluently social media in their daily life.

Coach is all the time learner too !

Aki Puustinen

Headcoach of Muurame High School

keskiviikko 15. kesäkuuta 2011

Marketing and branding your school ?

"Every organization's basic task is built their own community of customers" !

Do you agree this sentence ?

If we think school as an student oriented organization, we have to agree that idea. Every single organization (company, team, school etc.) should have "some kind of customers". In school they are student and pupils with their parents. School must hear their voices in planning and implementing school year.

"How can I brand my school ?"

It is easy if you remember these basics :

1. Be different than others. You don't have to be "best of the world", but be different some how.

2. Use sloagan. Sloagan tells us something about our basic task. Our sloagan is simple : "The best years of your life" (Muurame High School).

3. Use symbols or logos in your materials, papers. powerpoint etc. Symbols create spirit and sense of community.(Muurame High School logo)

4. Profile yourself as an expert in some area (teaching, social media, sport, sustainable development, entreprenership etc.). Utilize lot of media publicity like newspaper, events, blogs, social media, local news.

5. Found and host regular events, expositions, festivals, party. We had last spring Great Tribe Reunion -happening( Prezi presentation) with former students and teachers (picture above). We got 240 people in our 15 th anniversary to see the jubilee and student's Musical project.

6. Expand your expertise (be more than school) to other areas like (social media... )

7. Make networks with other experts and educational staff. http://finnedchat.blogspot.com/

8. Do again and again (at least 22 times) those 7 issues and you have brand your school !

sunnuntai 12. kesäkuuta 2011

The Experience Education

What are the most succesfull elements that drives students better learning results?

We have noticed in Finnish Entrepreneurship Network that these 5E elements will help students do better. 5E means more experiental learning than before.

First E means Entertainment. Every lesson or education event should include some "fun". Entertainment is passive and it could be for example music, plays, new places (theatre, company, museum. (to sense)

Second E is Education. People want to learn something new like "playing or learning child". In Education sector students are active and interactive. What students want to learn from their own perspective and experiences?(to learn)

Third sector includes Escapism elements. Somehow educator should create something "abnormal" or out of normal routines in teaching. I have had for example coffee breaks, some snacks, different learning environments like sauna, park, students home etc. Use your imagination for that ! (to do)

Fourth element is Esthetic. People want to see nice, beautiful things around them. You can make your materials (Powerpoint, Prezi documents,papers and other) as well as you can. Class should be well organized and whole school (environment) will tell students quality and style. (to be)

Fifth element is (E)spirit is very important. How you treat students and colleagues. School has some spirit or not. You can influence that doing your own attitude positive. (to feel)

Aki Puustinen
Headmaster of Muurame High School
Coordinator of Finnish Entrepreneurship Network

keskiviikko 8. kesäkuuta 2011

Using Facebook leading the school

In Muuramen High School we have discovered very fantastic way of leading our school partly with Facebook. As we know leading is communication and communication is leading. We have noticed that youngsters use email rarely nowadays. Adults use email, but students have other medias. Of course we have our schools official website(http://peda.net/veraja/muurame/lukio), but Facebook-site will refill information.

Year ago we founded our schools own Facebook-site : Muurame lukio. It is marvellous way to dicsuss with students. Also principal should have some connection to student, if he don't have a lot of teaching among students.This discussion and dialogue is possible via Facebook. Teachers and principals have to hear to "voice of client", if school is for students not for teachers. Two of our students are users as a Facebook-journalists.

Our students have created their own Facebook-site : Lukiomies (The High Schoolman like Superman). This figure is some kind of marketing man of the school and he visit every school events. He teach also manners with good attitude and have always some positive thoughts.

Our Sustainable development idea has also Facebook-site : Keke Muurame. This goodhearted person take care of nature and people in our community. Keke Muurame has made sustainable and environmental video struggling against Mr Garbage in his Facebook-site. Younsters are creative and they know very well the social media and use it. School must look like students. Our students have done this very well !

Proud Headmaster

maanantai 30. toukokuuta 2011

The New School 2030

What kind of education and skills we should have in the future ?

We have some visions about future. Probably we have no more normal work at all. Work will set free from rutines and flexible actions take part. Some kind of abstract level will emerge and precise work vanish.

This mean that the content of work and rules must define with others. Very rare work is done alone. Multi-tasker need group and others. New way of thinking will reflect organizing and leading the work.

"It is not my business"?

Because we work together, everything is everybody's business. Works and teams are linked together and most projects need multitasks. Best way to prepare this kind of world is creativity.

Creativity=intrapreneurship attitude. If we see new possibilities around us, it will help us to survive. Inproving creativity should be one of the most important issues developing the New School.

It means encourage to grab new possibilities. We should testing all to time new teaching methods, equipment (IT) and have experiences from other fields of life.

Important questions/skills in the year 2030 could be these :
-How we are dealing with knowledge ?
-How we are dealing with other people ?

Aki Puustinen
Headmaster of Muurame High School