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Matanee!

Did you miss me?

 It might be quite the opposite, but don’t worry it’s the last time you here from me, well at least in this form of network activity. Well now, don’t shed such crocodile tears, I’m sure there will be something else even more challenging coming up in the next module. I have high expectations of what our tutors have prepared for us in the following months.

This week we had to create our storyboard that we’ll use as a plan to follow when we film our video. I think that was one of the most useful things that we’ve done for the prototyping of the presentation till now.

Ok let me start from explaining a bit more about the tools we’ll use for depicting our solution. That would be our hands, markers and a camera! And of course the awesome skills of our technological stewards- Melvin and Elle. Basically the video will be in a form of cartoonish drawings that we are going to use to visualize our two solutions. To make it more clear we’ll have Ava to do a voice over that will be matched with our drawings. We’ll use either a whiteboard or a graphic tablet as a plan B. If plan B fails we can always resort to Prezi.

We had already decided on what drawings we should make, but the hard part was actually putting them together, so that it looks as a complete story and sends the right message. This is when the storyboard comes. It made the whole thing more structured and clear. Even though that helped a lot, we still have a couple of sleepless nights to come!

One thing that Meggie reminded us was not to get swept away by the current and keep in mind that the emphasis should be put on the action that PAGE will take in order to become more visible to the audience, not the exact tools they will use to achieve that. We are trying now to get that message across!

Crowdsourcing in terms of gathering people to do something for you in my opinion is the most approachable option that is for PAGE.  In order for PAGE to reach a broader audience, first it has to build a solid foundation of peers, that later will be her main support and link to others. Forming the avalanche effect this strategy will later on make it possible for PAGE to start a successful crowdfunding campaign.  

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ldZFyFPB-AE/Tf1Ogg6UWKI/AAAAAAAADmo/nitFzYs9YsE/s1600/Avalanche-REUTERS_48320s.jpg 

But to accomplish that PAGE should start from somewhere. As PAGE’s main goal is to improve digital literacy, a perfect opportunity will be to establish a virtual internship program in some of the best universities and colleges in the local area. It could be conducted in several ways. The program might incorporate collaboration between the universities. They could work together on topics that will be featured in the summer classes and then apply them in real time virtual conversations with the girls. With time this program could be developed into real internships or exchange projects. The virtual learning could be implemented through:

-        One on one volunteer chat-rooms- provide personal approach; develop relationships; build up trust and confidence;

-        Breakout rooms – they improve the relationship; they are structured and brief; small enough to promote everyone’s involvement.

-        Polling – receiving continuous feedback

* Something that Nancy mentioned is that in order to build strong connections and later on maintain them PAGE has to receive constant feedback;

-        Whiteboard – Interactive & collaborative

All of these could be accomplished through Google apps that represent a vast variety of options:

-Hangouts for conducting video chats that could simultaneously be streamed and saved on a private or public YouTube channel

-Gmail for e-mailing

-Youtube for sharing videos

-Google + as a social media, where useful links, videos and documents could be shared

- Google Drive for sharing document and photos

- Calendar for assignments

Another idea regarding the virtual program is to implement a virtual book group. This will encourage literary skills and will present bigger access to book supplies.  Moreover, it could be also used to continue the tradition of storytelling.

P.S.: Matanee mean see ya in Japanese

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

As promised I documented our meeting in the usual way ! If not food what else can put you in…

As promised I documented our meeting in the usual way ! If not food what else can put you in the right mood!

I have the pleasure to announce that this meeting was one step further for Roxi, one step further for humanity! :D She had never tried sushi before, so she had to brace herself and have a roll! Her reaction- priceless!

As you can see this pizza Margarita, isn’t it obvious what I’ll be talking about in the next couple of paragraphs? Well of course …

Teamwork

‘I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.’ Said ones a guy named Franklin D. Roosevelt

Well in my case I didn’t choose my teammates initially but with time they became the right choice that I might not have made on my own! It is therefore, sad that we will soon have to depart from each other. During this module we went through a lot of new experiences and emotions and we went through them together. We passed through the confusiasm and the discomfort and were able to walk a rather long path helping and supporting each other throughout it. You could say we are like little children that are one step towards building our own sand castle together. At first we were like a bunch of kids at the playground, all minding their own business, keeping to our own pile of sand, and not wanting to share our toys. With time we started to realize that we can only build small and shabby sand figures ourselves, nothing impressive. So in order to cross the boundaries of what we can do on our own, we all had to succumb our ego and selfishness and share what we know and have. Some brought their little tinny shuffles, but also a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm that kept us going forward towards our goal. Others had a huge arsenal of tools and third, in contrast, didn’t know what strengths they possess and how they can do their share of the work. None of us much useful by themselves, right?

 Instead of comparing the forms and sizes of our shuffles, we understood fast enough that we could compensate for our weaknesses and bring the best of our individual traits in a collaborative, selfless way. Though it happened in a very natural way, all of us needed time to build up our trust towards each other, to put the foundation of our castle. It was hard to leave our comfort zone and start not only thinking as a part of a group but also working as one. For that we used not only hard shoving (research and planning in our occasion) but also cold water in order to strengthen up the sand (the euphemism of staying objective, giving feedback, bearing in mind what our ngo can do and will want to do).

 Now when we start to carve the details in our castle shaped lump of wet sand, I look back and see that we’ve gone a long way. Except learning all the fancy terminology that we can proudly use, we received a better know-how about our roles as designers. Going back to the metaphor with the castle, I personally, have now a better sense of the fact that sand can both become too sticky to work with or also too friable and then you’ll never be able to form anything from it.

Well before it gets even more confusing, I should remind you that this is only sand! But when we apply the same principles in life it suddenly becomes more complicated. Why is that exactly? It is simply because people are involved and people are not sand. They have all their own way of thinking and evaluating things. For they are so individual, it is even harder to determine what to anticipate from them.

Then how do we make it work?

My answer, well at least one of them (because I will continue to neglect the main topic of this week’s prompt otherwise) is to build trust in your team and also among your ‘followers’. Trust is essential for a good bond. It means that people no more perceive you as some great authority, but they also seek you as an adviser, as a friend. They begin to want to be a part of your team, part of your cause. That is the moment when people start coming to you, without you begging them to come.

Of course I am not some experienced CEO from a great company, so I cannot expect you to believe a word from what I said. Nevertheless, I think that this is most successful method that PAGE could use in order to raise awareness. Yes it would be small, with tiny baby steps, but eventually it could turn out victorious. Moreover, this will prevent PAGE from deviating from its values and high principles!

v  The job of a good leader is to speak do that people want to listen, they lead by going first in the face of danger, by making the others feel safer, making them want to follow you not obey you!

Simon Sinek

, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmyZMtPVodo ;

What exactly did I learn?!

  •  Online communities and networks could provide useful connections, peers, but one should have realistic goals and aim for the foreseeable. Building a name for yourself doesn’t come with a blink of an eye. It needs time to sink in into peoples’ minds. That’why I think that the best strategy is to never stop dreaming and hoping for the best, but also keep an objective mindset and foster critical thnkng that would enable constant upgrade and growth. In this sense I think PAGE has to remember not to aim for the unapproachable. As an organization PAGE’s current image depicts the honest non-profit desires of the Appalachian people to be part of the change that will make a difference to the girls, the community and the region in general. That’s why the first step for them is building strong connections in this region and maintaining them!
  • Execute your plan one step at a time. Measure how much time and what requirements are needed. If you skip one of the basic steps, you could end up hanging in middle air.

What I WANT to learn:

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

The Green Bar Effect

Another eventful week has passed by.  I am afraid tough that if I start explaining this post will become too long and boring!

So, dear colleges, tutors, and overall curious people! While I was browsing through my previous posts (I was curious to see if I was doing any progress in this new and intriguing thing called blogging.), I realized I haven’t actually said: THANK YOU for following my blog and really reflecting on it… basically reflecting on my reflection… oh, well starts to sound a bit confusing again, therefore I will stop here!

Just before I start I want to share with you the future plans of my group: We still haven’t decided on a specific date, but soon enough you’ll be all bombarded with photos of our sushi meeting! As always food is stimulating an effective working process for us.

Back on track!

Today I want to tell you a bit more about crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and also as an addition peer funding! Most of us have heard those terms before, but maybe haven’t put much though into them. My opinion till now for example could be simply described with ‘That’s smart!’ What is my opinion now, when I know a bit more about it? ‘That could be smart!’  

And it will be, if only used properly. How do we do that? How do we turn these strategies into assets in a hypothetical fundraising campaign or awareness campaign? First, in my opinion, is avoiding the mistakes from previous unsuccessful experience of other organizations:

  1. Crowdfunding is not a lottery, it requires preparation and consistency
  2. Setting a goal that is too high. In contrast, more reasonable is to: set a realistic tipping point, for example securing the first 30 % from your own circle of relatives and acquaintances; contribute the first couple of days and not wait till the end of the campaign.

Almost 90 % of the campaign that hit their goal exceed it. This is the reason why setting an accurate goal so important!

  1. The green bar effect- the fascinating thing about it is that people will intuitively chose to contribute to a campaign with a bigger progress rather than a campaign with similar amount of money raised, but smaller progress!
  2. Rushing the process .Timing is everything! And for that sometimes is needed great patience.
  3. Telling the wrong story- having a dry business-like pitch In order to promote best your campaign. On the contrary,  it has to be addressed according to the target audience. It is important to show a personal touch and transparency. Visuals will enhance the interest of the crowd/peers. For example there is this singer that wanted to collect money for her performance, so she took a picture of herself with different outfit every day and asked the crowd what should she were on stage. (Other very interesting examples can be seen on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1_viddQGSQ )
  4. Promotion of perks that don’t work- put yourself in the shoes of the audience!

*Here is a link to an article related to that topic: https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2012/05/5-rookie-mistakes-in-crowdfunding.html

A great part of this information I found during our project community class, the other I researched myself as I tried to answer some of the questions I had towards the stairway to success. For us to do our research about crowdfunding we were separated into different groups, in which we worked on a certain resource which we later on discussed among this group. Afterwards we went back to our original groups with whom we had to share the most valuable information that we extracted. In my group we watched or maybe it’s more honest to say we almost watched (we didn’t have enough time) a video about the principles of crowdfunding and how they are exactly applied to the ‘Start Some Good’ website. Eventually we figured out that we have all gathered very interesting and useful information. In fact I realized that crowdsourcing has many applicable possibilities, for crowdsourcing by definition can have an enormous diversity of ‘crowds’ that would show interest in different campaigns. Crowdsourcing is all about connecting with people via a platform or social network in order to receive in return expertise, knowledge, time or resources. Crowdsourcing can be used differently, depending what you aim for, it could be crowdfunding, cloud labor, crowd creativity, and open innovation (sounds familiar?). Basically, crowdsourcing gives us the opportunity to achieve whatever it may be that we want. We only have to reach out. And of course beware of the way we promote our selves. When wanting to achieve big results, I believe a campaign should think very realistic first about the possibilities and set accordingly its initial goal.

I can’t say I was surprised to find out that many of the campaigns end up in failure, but it was interesting to me to find that there are different approaches some of them more riskier, others safer in way of achieving consequently short-term and long-term goals. That’s the reason why I fully respect companies and organizations, small people like us followed their ambitions and achieved something truly great despite all the risks and possible failures! Some of them are names that now immensely influence our world, like Wikipedia and Pebble for instance.

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

How to NOT turn ‘Ta-Da!’ Into ‘Oh-Oh!’

Journey vs. Destination or a short introduction

If you are wondering about the headline, don’t be! It basically summarizes my hopes for a good outcome in the end of our project. More or less everybody has already developed a certain pattern in their own group: a role for each team member, how valuable and motivated one feels, what pace do they take, what progress do they make, the extent of personal contribution, the overall working environment. And even if the strategies to reaching the final goal, and the goal itself may vary, the purpose that drives us remain the same: the ‘Ta-Da!’ moment- this sweet feeling of fulfilment in the end, the knowledge that you have used all your personal assets and tools in the name of a common cause. But don’t get confused… the ‘Ta-Da!’ moment usually is NOT necessarily connected to a successful end result, but rather to THE PROCESS of achieving it. As a wise man once said: It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.

It’s an ethical matter…

However that doesn’t mean we should lose track of what we aim for. Quite the opposite: I believe that the secret lays in the golden middle: yes we should thrive for the best, but not sacrifice the things that matter in the process. For instance, in the sense of helping PAGE- we are trying to raise awareness, but we should always keep in mind that there lays a boundary between presenting the girls to the world and objectifying them as a pity case! Why is that important, when it could be easier to attract attention by using them instead as a marketing tool???Yes public awareness will raise, but what will be the cost? Drifting away from their initial views and principles, and high values that have formed the organization till now! Doesn’t this mean that what that will lead to eventually is increasing the popularity of a cause that by concept does not exist anymore!

Although my group understands this pretty well, we encountered some hardships when putting the theory into practice at first. Moreover, when I look back to the first week, when we barely spoke to each other, I realize that we’ve come a long way! Well done, guys!

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

“Distracted from distraction by distraction”

It’s me again! Happy to hear from me?!

I hope you are :)

We are in our fourth week now and we can all feel that things are speeding up and becoming more connected.

During our Project Community class yesterday all of the groups working on PAGE shared their insights and ideas, which I found extremely helpful. We found out that some of our suggestions are very similar and for others we could help each other out and work together. While we were explaining one of our ideas (to raise awareness by establishing/ finding a network/platform where students can go to Appalachia on an exchange program or an internship) one of the other groups suggested something really smart- to research if the same idea can be applied to students taking a gap year!!! Really awesome idea in my opinion! (Thanks, guys!) We also agreed that we can all brainstorm together in order to develop better solutions! Correct me if I’m wrong but we all have the same goal: to improve PAGE’s situation. So I am honestly already looking forward to that. ^^

 I must admit that I caught myself feeling a bit unprepared and insecure though. I think the same goes for the rest of my group. We were gathering all these awesome ideas and some (im) possible plans. But we all came to the conclusion that they are vague and that we have to start to rule out some of them, so that we can find our main focus. It is high time we burst our bubble and I’m glad that we did so. I hope that our hangout with Nancy will help us more with that and with some questions that we have. :)

Our teamwork, on the other hand, is getting better and better as I mentioned in my previous post. Another thing that we decided on was to set up some home rules! No more slacking!:D We decided on a specific date and time, when we can do our meetings, so that everyone can put this in their schedules. I hope it works out good. As for those who don’t have a good enough reason for skipping, there will be no food for them next time (or we’ll make them pay in chocolate currency:D). 

 

We also talked about networks and how we find our way in the ocean of information? Do we dive in alone or are we a flock of fish? Do we swim to the uncharted territories or we feel more comfortable in our own habitat? (I’m sorry if the example is not very accurate).

Let me try again..

I have participated in some non-professional plays in the past. There I learned about the difference of working alone, doing something with a group of people that is also interested in the same thing you are and you share a mutual relationship and also the third group- the professional network, towards which you have responsibilities and specific demands. That’s the principle of the me, we, networks.

How exactly do I apply this to the online network?

For me time spent online is both useful and…challenging. What I will classify as time spent for ‘me’ is browsing through YouTube videos and following some of my favourite chanals:

Vsauce - videos about fun and interesting scientific facts and probabilities.

PhotographersOnYoutube- I think this one is clear 

MoreToArt - this one too…

MinuteEarth-Anthropology and other fun facts

And many others.

I also use other social networks like Pinterest, Pictify, Facebook, Google +, Foursquare, WhatsApp, Viber and Goodreads. It is hard to stay up to date all the time, as often the sources are too many and overflowing with information, from which I always have to extract the essential (and that consumes time…fast!). As Clay Shirky mentions in his book “Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society, they are a challenge to it.”

Nevertheless, these are all places where I can harvest information and enrich my personal knowledge and also networks through which I become part of ‘we’, part of a community. That way not only can I talk to my friends, but also see a tiny bit of their daily routines, new found passions and share what I like, want and need. Of course online communication cannot be compared with the experience of a real conversation, but still it helps me see a bit of how the other person precepts things. And that’s even more useful when you keep a long-distanced relationships with other people.

 I am currently part of two bounded groups on Facebook and Skype for example, where we share things related to our mutual interests and comment. But I am also part of groups, for example my ProjComm group, in which I have bigger responsibilities. Yes, we are friends, but we are also colleagues. And here comes the difficulty sometimes. In case of misunderstandings people, in general, sometimes tend to forget that having open conversations, having demands and expectations and criticizing is not meant to harm and offend the person’s feelings, but quite the opposite to improve the working process and better the results. Therefore, finding the balance between being a friend and a colleague can be pretty hard. It is crucial that everybody from this community fully understands that and differentiates between the both categories. I believe that my group is coming closer to this conclusion, which will better even more our communication.

P.S.: Check some of the YouTube Channels, they are really entertaining!

P.P.S.: Here is a link to an article I relate to: http://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-to-inspire-great-team-work.html

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

Zakuska!

Danny here!

One week has passed now, one week of brainstorming. I’m again trying to get my thoughts together. But this time I am just trying to figure out which of the things I learned I should share first with all of you.

I’ll start with our first group meeting. We gathered at my place and made beer pancakes. Actually I shouldn’t take the credits from Roxy - our awesome cook for the evening and hopefully for some of our future meetings! Cooking was the starting point of our bonding ^____^ We had nutella with pancakes, peanut butter with pancakes and liutenica( zakuska) with pancakes. Except the same passion that we share for pancakes we found out that we also have the same worries and that we share the same enthusiasm for learning more about our NGO (PAGE). Right before we contacted Liz we were all nervous and insecure, but as long we started we got more and more involved in the talk.We skipped almost half of the questions that we had prepared beforehand and focused on those ones who popped up simultaneously in our heads. I was leading the conversation but I think that everyone took equal part in it. I felt really supported by my teammates. We completed each other when someone had difficulties and helped each other out. Not only that! After the conversation we were all full of ideas. Some of them maybe too broad, but still we had a mutual feeling that we are going somewhere. 

Another useful thing that we understood was who is good with what. And the best thing about it was that we are so different that we can all put new things on the table! I personally am not so familiar with all of the platforms, neither with making videos. So I guess I’ll be learning from the others. I am eager to do that. I’ve always wanted to get more educated about different social platforms and programs, so I’m looking forward to that. One think that  I could do though was to send requests to some of my friends to like the facebook  page of PAGE ;d. I believe that if I want to see a change in society, I should start with the change in myself. So I guess I’m saying that working with page makes me wanna be involved more in the problems of our society. That’s why we asked Liz if it is possible to talk with the girls from the program. I really look forward to that. 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Partnership-for-Appalachian-Girls-Education/272727879501492?fref=ts

Here is a link to the Facebook page for everyone who wants to now more about these girls :) Please check it out!

I almost forgot to mention one last useful thing that happened during this week. Meggie helped us a lot by asking us questions. It made us us understand that we shouldn’t stop asking ourselves:why, why, why!!!

P.S.: Next time we are making Pizza!

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland

Down the rabbit hole

And here am I tapping my fingers on the desk, full of excitement and uncontrollable inspiration. As I am not sure how a blog post should look like I am simply going to share the terror and euphoria that drained my proper brain activity today. I’ll try to structure my thoughts a bit more as to express the soup of emotions that I am now…there are 3 main aspects that turned my head around today:

I’ll start with the SHOCK!. The one of not knowing what, how and why to do the assignment given to us(basically I could have put all the w-question words next to that). Maybe the reason for it was something that most of us(at least me) have ever wanted - no  boundaries, freedom of choice.We call it also creativity! What is the problem with creativity you’ll ask. The answer is confusion. The conclusion I reached is the following: the lack of clear requirements and expectations sets only one main skill that we should attain and learn how to use during the project community course  and our projects: THINKING! 

Thinking I believe is the key to being a designer, to think like one is challenging yet full of fulfillment. This is also the reason why I find the upcoming work with NGOs  a great opportunity to “acquire” and also  develop that skill, competence, however you want to call it. I admit that I cannot clearly see myself in the end of the project for my NGO (obviously, still under the spell of confusiasm!) but I already have a clearer idea what I what to accomplish through it. That leads me to the second aspect:

 Learning how to HEAR and SEE people’s needs! That means establishing a mutual understanding, creating a positive work and study environment based on transparent and open communication. That I hope will enable me to draw inspiration and motivation in a way so that I can be helpful to both the society and myself. What is even more wonderful is that we can receive useful feedback. I believe communities and networks will not only support my work as a student and designer, but will also develop me as a person by helping and empathising with others.

 For us “new-born babies” I believe one of the most valuable things will be learning from experience. Realising our own strength and abilities and how they can be put in the whole picture. I think we are yet to discover new unknown for us traits of our character and hidden potential (hopefully). As for my contribution to the team, I guarantee positive energy (and chocolate…that also contributes to the positive energy!!!).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlmiCo9hUTI

 

And now it’s ..adventure time!

Posted in Community, Group 8, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Pure Awesomeness in Dannyland