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Bikablo + IPEVO = So much Fun & Learning

Yesterday, I was part of a grand experiment. Honestly, I don’t do that a lot. 

I do a lot of training, facilitation, and coaching. It’s true, I do a lot of experimentation within those events but it’s qualitatively different than what we engaged in yesterday. The experiments that I design within my practice are planned—you might even say controlled experiments, in that they are designed, implemented, and evaluated according to the objectives to be achieved and the criteria I develop (although perhaps the acronym DIE isn’t the most cheerful). I mean, that’s what you would expect from a curriculum designer, right?

Yesterday was different in so many ways: 

  • I was a collaborator instead of a designer
  • we dove into the creation of the experience with the mindset that it was an adventure and an experiment 
  • we knew that people would enjoy it, learn something new during our time together, and meet people from around the world and interact with them. 

I have to admit that I was on pins and needles about how it was all going to come together. We were a team of six people coming together from Germany Spain, China, the US, and Taiwan.

In these days of video conferencing, folks getting together from around the world is not exactly a big deal but it turned out we were not only managing time zones, but we were also managing weather patterns which almost disrupted our entire plan as there was bad weather in Spain affecting the connection of our colleague Elena. And then, of course, there was the tech piece—not only were we all using document cameras but we were seeking to use them in new in different ways. While we had two tech sessions and practiced before the event too, I still had a tech glitch then made it challenging for me to participate as effectively as I wanted to, and yet I was still able to contribute. 

Perhaps it is one of the things I love best about working with my bikablo buddies. We are transparent about how things are going, we support each other to do the best we can, and we learn every time we get together in an environment of good cheer. 

The session was a total blast! We had over 100 people attending of the 200 signed up. We did an extraordinary number of activities in a relatively short period of time, with varying results — and that was OK! Frank, Elena, Xiaoli, and I had a choreographed piece that included movement on all four screens simultaneously. When we first started practicing it, I called it synchronized swimming—it was really just like it. It was so cool! We also 

  • drew together across the four screens to demonstrate how to combine simple shapes to make icons
  • did an exercise in which we added to the previous person’s drawing
  • used the bikablo “iconizer” /a random generator of icons to draw together
  • told a story, in four parts—dreaming up the next stage as we took turns on the screen—that used the cut-outs from our previous exercise
  • concluded by drawing a face across the four screens—while she was a bit Picassoesque—she was fabulous!

People were delighted to meet in small groups to practice with the technology, or if they didn’t have it, to find other ways to be involved in the activities. Everyone had a chance to post their work on Padlet—to see the work from around the world and to read their comments was exhilarating!

It was a truly amazing experience—one that’s never been done before and no doubt will now be done in the same way and also improved upon—around the world.

What are your criteria for assessing your work?

As I review my notes in anticipation of hosting my follow-up coaching session with Visual Binge attendees tomorrow, I am struck by the two quotes I found this morning as I was reading.

Bashõ (Japanese poet, 17th century)

“Do not seek after the sages of the past. Seek what they sought.”

Neal Allen (Vipassana practitioner)

“I admire the capacity of any human being to come into wisdom on their own by questioning the assumptions that are around them.”

The preparatory work for our session is to bring and share any sketchnoting or graphic recording completed since the UnConference last month. My second, and perhaps more important request was that participants bring a short list of criteria for assessing their own work and the work of others.

I am all about leaving one’s inner critic ”at the door” AND I see the value in appreciating what is working in a piece and what can be made even better next time. 

What would be your criteria?

What matters to you?

What is important to your audience? (Perhaps there are varying answers based on the different audiences…)

My top 10 criteria are straightforward though not separate—they exist in combination. This task of assessing one’s (or others’) work is both art and science. I believe that the visual I have quickly created is a better representation of these criteria, as the list below seems more mechanical, like a checklist. This (assessing our work) is not that (a checklist to determine quality—from spectacular to inept, or some other continuum). To me, these elements work in concert, and perhaps not enough of something (maybe white space?) is compensated for by something else (the vitality of the colors used or movement through the piece).

What do you think?

1. Layout

    Conceptual fit with the content 

   Title—what percentage of the visual?

   Placement of title on the page

2. Use of white space

3. Use of color

   Literal, strategic, figurative/metaphorical

   Color palette chosen

 Number of colors used and for what purpose (i.e., all the colors of the rainbow are important if there is a rainbow… if not, then I would suggest, two or three colors beyond the foundational black and the color chosen for shading {which might grey, periwinkle blue, yellow, orange… the list goes on!})

4. Logic flow

Can I understand how information moves across or around the chart or “page”?

5. Lettering

Is a hierarchy use and used well/in an easily comprehensible way?

How legible is the handwriting?

6. Interplay/balance of words and drawings

Some subjects require a lot of text—precise terminology, quoting people, etc., in other instances, icons, figures, and containers can be supported more minimally with text

7. Containers

Which ones are used and how?

8. Iconography and graphic elements

Are they a fit for the subject matter?

9. Execution

Neatness,  recognizable/well-drawn icons (Is it a lightbulb or an ice cream cone?)

10. Clear communication through style used (perhaps a more personal taste criteria)

What do you notice when you look at your sketchnotes orographic recordings (yours or other people’s)?

I hope that you will consider these criteria and be in touch with me with your thoughts. I am always (okay, almost always/often…) ready to expand my thinking.