Category Archives: milestones

welcome back…

These are my first lines after 6 months of absence from this blog. Simultaneously, these are my first lines writing in my new domain:

Perfect timing without planing about it. This post emerges in a weekend where Finns celebrate their mid-summer, Juhannus. Changing times in a wonderful summer weather.

My view, over 10PM, towards the koko in Joensuu

My view, over 10PM, towards the koko in Joensuu


Beautiful flowers on my way home

Beautiful flowers on my way home


Enjoyable weather in this midsummer

Enjoyable weather in this midsummer


life’s project

Week 48
Joensuu, Finland

Life passes by SO fast.
The classical saying is: time passes by so fast.

However, as matter of fact it is the life that passes by so fast because time will continue existing after our dead. At least what we consider as time. So, time does not disappear with us, it will continue its function.

Most of this year I have been eagerly seeking to re-connect with myself. It has been a long and bumpy journey to reach 2012. This year for me is a transition, due to the achievement of my dream…. (need to post about this! )

is next?…..

and I am aware:

1) that the clock is ticking…
2) each life is unique…..
3) the real answers come from within….
4) things are moving, slowly, but moving……

Then, today I got this quote on a special card:

“I just play all the time and am fortunate enough to get paid for it” – Martin Gardner, 1998.  Honestly, since I found Gardner’s books, he got my admiration. However I did not know this quote, which it is like sugar for me!

The card was accompanied with this book: Select Papers on Fun and Games from Donal E. Knuth.  I didn’t know Knuth, so research starts. It is when I read about his most important life’s project when things start to come together: what is the most important project of my life?

I am EXTREMELY lucky because as far as I can recall, my most important dream has been achieved. Now, it is time to work for the most important project 🙂  (Thank you Mikko for this present! )

Somehow I know it. It is matter to figure it out how to verbalize it, prioritise steps and gather the courage to jump for it. It is going to be an interesting decade!

light in my special day. Each day is magical and full of surprises!

light in my special day. Each day is magical and full of surprises!


towards the JTEL PhD SS

Week 20, 2012
Helsinki, Finland

Excited and nervous I am traveling towards the JTEL PhD SS. It is the first time I receive several emails in advance about the different workshops 😉  Also, it is the first time I am running a workshop in an international event.

In the workshop I am conducting, will be a paradoxical situation because we were told that “[p]lease do not forget to bring your laptop … will be essential” and in my workshop the participants will work with dices, paper, colors and scissors ….. let’s see how it comes!

The only thing I am sure about the next week is: there will be tons of learning, I will try to keep with my back channel, I want to interview several people for the course I am preparing and the best is I will see a very good friend of mine.

Meanwhile I am working with an inspiring view! 🙂

working view

working view


Have I said, that I actually like airports a lot.

game design course (part 2)

Week 13, 2012
Joensuu, Finland

It is amazing how fast March flew away. The last lecture of my game design course was today. Still I have two exercise sessions next week, and to finalize to qualify A LOT of essays from the participants. However, I feel the cycle of an important personal challenge is closing. I never though I could be a teacher, or instructor…. still the word sounds strange to me. 🙂 Even less I would have though I could enjoy to be an instructor, but I did.

In brief I can say that in this month:

  • My perception of teachers change. In earlier times, my opinion was fundamentally of a demanding student. Now, my opinion evolved because I was the instructor.  Teaching is not easy.  So, I confirm: it is easy to criticize, but once you have to do the things you were criticizing, one’s perception and understanding of the same event evolves. It seems to happen every single time.
  • I have the best group one can have for my first attempt as a teacher. I learn a lot from the participants of my course in different directions and topics.  I want to give them a big thank you! 🙂
  • To be a teacher is more demanding than I though it will be. I am tired. Simultaneously, I have a special fulfill feeling. I did my best in a challenging and new activity and I enjoy it. I had fun. Teaching is paradoxical, yes! 🙂 Cool!
  • Without any question, since I start to conceptualize the course I start to learn.  The whole process to exteriorize what you have learned is an intense learning experience in itself. In addition, I am aware I haven’t given justice to all the thinkers I have learned from…. yes, still is much to learn.

I hope most of the participants of the course also feel they learn something. Well the aim of the course was clear:

  • Discover something new in reference to game design
  • Do your best and take a learning experience in game design.

My interest was to make us wonder. Yes, I was included 🙂 . Thinking is a personal process. However, sharing ideas and reflections helps us to wonder and stimulate our thinking process. Additionally, designing is so stimulating, so…. I am happy!

One of the specific challenges to give lectures in UEF in computer science is: the group is divided in two campuses. Some participants are in Kuopio while others are in Joensuu and the connection is via a video. That is challenging! because it is not 100% face to face neither 100% blended learning neither 100% distance learning.  So, to promote interaction in class is harder than usual. However, I am so proud of the participants of my course because they did great. Today in special, we have presentations in Kuopio and Joensuu, and they really interact with each other (as you see on the photos below). I am so proud of my group!


Last day presentations (1)

Last day presentations (1)

Last day presentations (2)

Last day presentations (1)

game design course

Week 10, 2012
Joensuu, Finland

One motivator that impulses me to be researching in games for learning is: I love to learn and I get bored in lectures. Actually, I confess: I am not a good student even though I am very well trained to be one. 😉

However, last year someone told me that it is time for me to share something of what I have learned. Additionally, I want to do it. So, the idea to give a lecture started to emerged. Today, it is a reality, and…… wowow! Teaching is VERY challenging!!!!

The first lecture of my game design course was yesterday, March 7, 2012 (I should remember that day). I have a chance to hear about some of the participants before the actual course started, because I requested them to email me to hear their motives to join the course. From my perspective it is an interesting group of people and VERY diverse.

The first day I gave the introduction to the course with some of my background. Then the real lecture started by introducing some history of games. I based myself on the work of Huizinga and Callois.

Today I briefly gave an insight of design thinking by Cross and Verganti. Latter I focus on games as dynamic systems of interaction, so after a brief engineering explanation of what systems are I focus my efforts on game mechanics. I used a taxonomy of game mechanics from Schell.

Honestly my feeling is: even that I am putting my best effort on preparing the lectures, I am not making justice to transmit the work of those thinkers…. Undoubtedly, I need more practice. I had been nervous, specially because I am not used to be on stage. 

The course participants are many, so the ideas that I had for an interactive lecture cannot work as I thought. In addition we have the long distance connection with Kuopio.….. If someone knows me, yes I am pushing for new ideas 😉 the technology has been very reliable so I hope it continues like this next week, because I am ready to have some fun 😉

Yes, I cannot avoid to be myself. I will keep on teaching, but maybe we can try new  methods 🙂 After the first exercise day (Monday in Joensuu and Tuesday in Kuopio), maybe the conditions for a more interactive type of lecture will emerged…. let’s see 🙂

Meanwhile a photo taken by Heikki Immonen from the very first day of the course.

my first day of lectures

my first day sharing a bit of what I have been learning