Sketchnote to be included in Global Innovators 2013 conference proceedings.
Sketchnote to be included in Global Innovators 2013 conference proceedings.
In our second iteration of the Creative Journalling Workshop with graphic recording, Paula and I decided that it might be worthwhile to focus more attention on the process of writing and the purpose of using a visual element in creative writing. We thought this might help with better defining my role (i.e., staying true to the purpose of graphically recording for the sake of producing a record of the event for future reference/inspiration) for the participants. Interestingly, this second group seemed to better connect with our original vision of supplementing and facilitating inspiration visually, as well as reaching individuals through various approaches (as opposed to verbal or purely text-based prompts).
It is also interesting to me that during the session, I really enjoyed creating the poster, and I felt very relaxed with this group. The participants were complimentary and the group had a positive and vibrant energy. However, looking at my poster today with fresh eyes, I see that it is one of my worst works yet! So much blank space…Not sure exactly what I was saving all that space for! Also, a lot of the text is really small and it looks quite sloppy to me. I still like elements of it…particularly the herbs and spices from the “If I were a herb or spice, I would be…” activity. This prompt was really cool, and I loved the responses. You can see that contrary to the first workshop, I decided not to include the names. This saved me time for drawing and colouring, and it is also in keeping with my realization that general is better than too specific in this case.
One of the highlights of this session for me was the “I didn’t know I loved…” prompt. I actually got out my pad of paper for this one, as I was really inspired to jot down a few ideas of my own. I just couldn’t resist. The primary purpose of these workshops is to help participants record “starts” or initial ideas that might lead to further development or inspiration at a later time. In the spirit of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the workshop simply gets people to put pen to paper and write. In the group setting with that gentle “push” to actually write without sensoring or judging, I had the sense that the participants appreciated the opportunity to have this time devoted only to writing. I told Paula that I might like to sign up as a participant the next time around!
So Paula and I decided to dive right in and try an experiment in combining her creative journalling workshop wtih elements of graphic recording. We invited members of the community who had attended Paula’s workshops previously, as well as new participants, and the response was overwhelming (well, for me anyway…Paula is probably used to receiving such a positive response to her popular workshops).
Our idea was that she would facilitate the workshop as usual – helping participants to get words on paper through a series of writing prompts, timed activities, and optional sharing of one’s work. In the meantime, I would record the highlights as I normally do during facilitated sessions. The plan was to see how graphic recording might inspire these writers visually as they worked with text, ideas, and some of their own visual prompts. In addition, we thought that having a visual record of the evening might also be a nice way to honour the participants and some of the ideas they shared at the session.
I enjoyed the evening immensely. It was interesting to record this unique experience, and as an instructor of English language learners, it was a treat to listen to English speakers articulating their creative thoughts and stories so eloquently and thoughtfully. It reminded me that having an ‘artistic community’ is something I am missing here.
Despite enjoying the experience, however, Paula and I weren’t so sure that the merging of creative journalling and graphic recording actually “worked” in the sense that we had imagined it might. For example, I wondered if the graphic recording ended up as a kind of superfluous distraction that didn’t really add anything to the workshop at all. As the writers were all quite independent and skilled at their craft, they didn’t really seem to need more than the prompts from Paula, so our idea that the poster might inspire the participants didn’t seem to come to fruition with this group.
In addition, the recording itself proved somewhat difficult, as I realized quickly after beginning with the “If I were a colour…” introductions that getting details from the writers might not be the best approach. I started to think that perhaps a more general “feel” for the session might be best, particularly with the possible goal of using the poster as future inspiration. I thought that getting too detailed might be stifling, whereas more general depictions might encourage more freedom in future brainstorming sessions.
Overall, it was a terrific experience in a number of ways – to see how the workshop runs (and get some ideas for my own creative writing!), to try something new and to work a little outside-the-box with graphic recording, and to share this experience with a group of interesting and creative people. It was a pleasure to be a part of this experiment and to brainstorm ways that we might improve it in our next session.
Note: the picture I have attached here is not quite finished, as I am trying to work with individual “quilt blocks” created by the participants in one of the writing activities. My plan is to work them into the empty squares if possible. I will post an update when this happens! As you can see, the poster displays some of the highlights of the actual writing prompts (i.e., Remembering a photograph, This is the hand that…, etc.). It also contains short excerpts from the found poetry activity that captured my imagination (“dead at foot of castle wall…”, “life is fine, fine as wine…”, etc.). It will be interesting to see how the next session emerges with an entirely different group!
Thank you to David for putting together the video montage of the Great Teachers Seminar. I have had endless trouble trying to embed the video, but finally realized that anytime I try to add text, it reverts back to a link rather than an embedded video. Strange! If anyone has any insight into this problem, I would love to hear your suggestions!
My second AI session was with a group of AI facilitators-in-training in mid-April. The group was fantastic – energetic, inquisitive, and full of great metaphors and creative ideas. I was inspired by the AI materials and their use of the daisy, so I incorporated the flowers as a tool to organize group contributions. However, organization continues to pose challenges for me in real-time situations. I guess this is always a challenge – choosing what to write, how to represent it (i.e., text, pictures, which pictures will evoke the best connection to the original idea, etc.) and where to put it on the poster. If I over-think this part, I am immobilized and waste valuable time that I could be using for listening and filtering more from the group. If I start committing too soon, I may miss an opportunity for more appropriate placement of ideas. I’m not getting too stressed about this in the moment, as I think it could ruin the entire experience; however, I do reflect on this process afterwards and wonder whether and how I could have done things differently.
I was particularly pleased with the content of this poster, as I again was pressed for time – 1.5 hours total and no post-session edits. There is a lot of white space, but it seems to work with this particular poster. The colours are appealing, and I think I was able to really capture the essence of the entire segment I attended.
There was a lot of interest from the group about graphic recording, and the facilitators invited me to come back at the end of the week to give a short presentation on my experiences of graphic recording – specifically in the 2 AI sessions I have done.
I am even more eager to complete the AI facilitator training now, as I think it will give me more insights into the process that will help me to provide better representations of these sessions.
Thank you to the attendees of this group, who were so complimentary and enthusiastic about having me record their session. It was a pleasure to meet you all, and to be involved in your training week!
This is a slide showing my notes from Doha Debates on March 19th, 2012. I had the opportunity to attend the live taping of the debate thanks to a colleague who managed to snag me a ticket (thank you!!). The audience comments and questions were intriguing and informative, while the panel itself left much to be desired for this particular debate. I was happy to have the chance to attend and see how it all happens behind the scenes. It was also another chance to try out my note taking skills using Brushes.
I struggled with whether to post this as-is. You can see where I got tired/lazy and my handwriting gets sloppy. I’ve been meaning to edit this slide, but things are piling up, and I’d rather share it unedited, than keep it too long and not want to share it at all. This is a test of my perfectionism – to let something go before it’s polished to my liking. So, here it is – warts and all! If I do get around to editing the slide, I will certainly post the edited version for comparison.
I continue to be amazed with the visual facilitators and recorders I keep finding online. This Prezi beautifully illustrates how multiple approaches to facilitating creative group processes can complement one another in different settings. I personally enjoy the stickies – I use them with my students a lot. I also thought it was interesting that Powerpoint found its place in this creative document. Powerpoint gets a bad rap, but can indeed be useful in certain contexts and for specific purposes.
Visual representation synthesizing recommendations based on the Technology in Higher Education (THE) conference February 27-28, 2012. I incorporated ideas from CNAQ’s conference delegates, as well as conference themes around mobile learning.
The Technology in Higher Education conference in Qatar was hosted by Texas A&M Qatar on February 27-28, 2012.
This was an opportunity for me to try out the iPad for note-taking in real time. Using the Brushes app, I prepared the title in advance for Bob Munroe’s session, “Let a thousand iPads bloom” and took notes during the presentation. This was an interesting experience, as the conference was about using mobile technologies, and I was using mobile technology to visually represent the content. This particular presentation title really caught my imagination, and I was eager to record it mostly for that reason (of course, it also interested me because I was eager to hear how other institutions in Qatar are introducing/supporting mLearning). Interestingly, the speaker’s metaphor of choice was actually sunflowers (not tulips, as I had prepared), as they apparently are low-maintenance and you can scatter the seeds haphazardly and they will grow where they fall.This was the “Carnegie Mellon approach” represented in my recording through several themes that Bob Monroe highlighted.
As you will see from the youtube video (below) showing the brushstrokes from start to finish, earlier notes are sketched in hastily to ensure I am capturing the main ideas of the lecture. Later, I went back and did some post-session editing to add some finesse to the lettering and a few more visuals.
I am currently working on an iMovie with voiceovers, which I am editing for length and to smooth out some of the rough edges (like the part where I messed up the layers). I hope to have the edited version ready to share in the near future, but in the meantime this one might be interesting for you to see the unedited process from beginning to end. Please view it in full-screen mode so you can read the text!
I welcome your feedback and suggestions!
Below is text from the script for the iMovie of my recording, which summarizes the main points from this conference session (I used the abstract for the session to make sure I included all of the key points set out by the presenter):
As Bob discussed in his session, over the past two years Carnegie Mellon Qatar has made a deliberately unfocused effort to substantially increase their use of mobile computing devices for education, integrate them with teaching and meta-curricular activities, and make them ubiquitous throughout the campus. After conducting a poll of university staff and faculty, it was recognized that opinions on exactly how to approach the introduction of mobile technologies on campus were polarized.
Despite this lack of agreement, an executive decision was made to try to incorporate one type of mobile technology – iPads. iPads were purchased and provided to faculty, Computer Science post-graduate students, and the campus library for students to borrow.
While it appears the initial financial investment is paying off, it remains to be seen whether the iPads will be utilized in more focused ways to enhance learning environments on campus.
As Dr. Munroe observed, there appear to be limitless opportunities to use iPads in interesting ways in education, but the question remains…HOW will educators accomplish this?
Rather than pursue an aggressive top-down program, a very “Carnegie Mellon” approach was chosen. This involved making devices, time, and energy available to faculty and students and encouraging them to experiment and report back on what they discovered – what works well, what doesn’t work so well, and how to make effective use of the devices and their ubiquitous network connectivity.