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70 minutes | 5 years ago
Michelle Jones: College Professor Turned College Founder (VTV 018)
Michelle Jones has been a college professor for 15 years. Not content with the current state of higher education, she has decided to take a new approach: she’s starting a brand new college. In this episode we discuss the roots of the Wayfinding Academy and what it takes to bring a college to life. Notes & Links Header photo credit of Armosa Studios. Today’s Guest: Michelle Jones (0:00 – 3:14) Introductions and hellos, Michelle from sunny Portland, Oregon and me from two hours south in Eugene. How We Met (3:14 – 8:09) I share the story of how Michelle and I met. Thanks to a tweet from Chris Guillebeau, I bought a ticket to TEDxMtHood and tweeted about sketchnoting it live, which prompted Michelle to reach out and propose a coffee get-together, which lead to us creating illustrated intro slides for the event! What Michelle Does (8:09 – 10:39) The story of our first project together is the perfect example of what Michelle does: “I see you’re interested in this thing. How can I help you build your skills and gain some meaningful experience?” She did it as a professor at Concordia University. She does it as the lead organizer of TEDxMtHood. And she’ll do it as the founder of the Wayfinding Academy. The Wayfinding Academy (10:39 – 14:10) The purpose of Wayfinding Academy is to create for its students a hand-crafted education that helps them to understand themselves and their place in the world and gives them the tools and experiences they need to contribute to it in a meaningful way. Community Plus Collaboration (14:10 – 16:15) The diverse group of professors, advisors, mentors, and community partners will provide for Wayfinding students a network of connections, leading to collaboration opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The Right Combo (16:15 – 19:09) The roots of Verbal To Visual grew through my own self-directed learning, but what I missed out on while building this thing was the structured support of a community of advisors and mentors. Wayfinding students will have that support network, and their efforts will be amplified because of it. Upside Down To Rightside Up (19:09 – 30:06) The current structure of higher education is often based on a set of boxes that must be checked in a particular order and that leads students down a predetermined path. The Wayfinding Academy wants to provide an alternative approach, with student interests merged with an intentional curriculum that guides students toward a successful post-college experience. Gearing Up (30:06 – 38:32) The first class of Wayfinding students will enter the college in the fall of 2016. Between now and then there’s a whole lot to be done: finding a building in Portland, Oregon; developing community partnerships that will provide advisors and mentors to future students; planning workshops accessible to Wayfinding students as well as the local community. Common Cores (38:32 – 43:58) At the core of both Verbal To Visual and the Wayfinding Academy is this intersection of learning and making. Wayfinding students will be making things right out of the gate that are intended to serve someone other than themselves (and someone more than just a single professor who hands down a grade). Through that making they will build both their skills as well as their portfolio, which they’ll be able to carry with them to whatever they go on to do after. Align Then Build (43:58 – 54:32) When building a physical structure, a business, a college, or a life, it’s necessary to go through a process of alignment before you begin building, otherwise you’ll be building on a slant and your efforts will come crumbling down in a few months or years. The team of folks getting Wayfinding off of the ground are currently setting that foundation, and learning a ton in the process. The Broader Impacts Of Wayfinding (54:32 – 1:03:45) Through the Wayfinding Academy’s physical location will be in Portland, Oregon, the impact will reach around the globe via the Wayfinder Curriculum (designed in collaboration with Sean Aiken of the One Week Job project), which can be downloaded and used by individuals and groups around the world. Wayfinding Meets The Camino (1:03:45 – 1:10:22) Michelle and I wrap our conversation by reminiscing about a trek along The Camino de Santiago that we took with other professors and college students a few years back, and brainstorming a Camino branch of the Wayfinding Academy (sorry folks, I’ve got dibs). *** For more details on the Wayfinding Academy and their current Indiegogo campaign, check out their site. *** The post Michelle Jones: College Professor Turned College Founder (VTV 018) appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
7 minutes | 5 years ago
The Two New Branches Of Verbal To Visual (VTV 017)
In this episode I share some of the major updates in the world of Verbal To Visual since the airing of the last podcast episode. We’ve now got two new branches of Verbal To Visual – an illustrated video series and an online classroom – to help you bring ideas to life. Notes & Links – Verbal To Visual Video – We are now 17 episodes into the Verbal To Visual Video series! For a full list of illustrated video episodes, click here. Here are some of the most popular episodes to date: How To Sketchnote Without Drawing The 50/50 Rule Of Visual Note-Taking 8 Ways To Build Your Sketchnoting Skills – The Verbal To Visual Classroom – If you’re ready to take your visual note-taking skills to the next level, join The Verbal To Visual Classroom! There you’ll find a growing number of instructional videos, practice activities, and ongoing conversations with a global community of visual thinkers. *** I’m looking forward to chatting with you on the podcast again soon! The post The Two New Branches Of Verbal To Visual (VTV 017) appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
64 minutes | 6 years ago
VTV 016 : Derek Bruff – Trends In Higher Education And Visual Thinking In The Classroom
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I chat with educator Derek Bruff about the trends he is seeing in higher education and the way he is incorporating visual thinking into his own classroom and helping other teachers to do the same. Notes & Links Find out more about Derek and his work at his website. Here are some visual notes I took during our conversation: Derek is the director of Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching and he also teaches within the math department. We talked about the idea of the flipped classroom – here’s an FAQ on the topic that Derek wrote. With high-quality content coming from TED Talks, Khan Academy, and others, flipping your classroom is now an easier transition to make. Derek mentioned the work of Randy Bass at Georgetown University on the topic of social pedagogies and having students construct their knowledge by representing that knowledge to an authentic audience. Writing and mathematics go together! Here are some posts Derek has written about a writing seminar course he teaches on the topic of cryptography. A number of the students in that course have submitted posts to the blog Wonders and Marvels. Here are the books that came up during our converstion: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam My chat with Derek reminded me of this chat with K-12 educator Paula Wilkes, who also brought visual thinking into the classroom by teaching her students how to create mind maps. A good entry point for educators to start using visual techniques in the classroom is with VisualsSpeak – a curated collection of high-quality photographs to spark creativity. The coolest TED Talk ever, according to Derek. Derek has created some wonderful Prezis: here’s one on visual presentations, another on visual assignments, and a third on visual engagement techniques. Connect with Derek: Website Twitter The post VTV 016 : Derek Bruff – Trends In Higher Education And Visual Thinking In The Classroom appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
10 minutes | 6 years ago
VTV 015 : A Framework For Evaluating Your Sketchnotes
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I share some ideas about how to look back at past sketchnotes, critique them based on your own needs and purposes, and determine what specific skills you might want to develop next in order to take your sketchnotes to the next level. Notes & Links This podcast topic was sparked by the one-on-one sketchnoting instruction that I recently started offering. I told the story of how that one-on-one work came about in Episode 13 of the podcast. Just last week on the podcast Nitya Wakhlu shared some great ideas about working with groups and focusing on the primary goal behind your sketchnotes and graphic recording. THE STEPS: 1. Identify the purpose of your sketch. (Do this before sketchnoting if you can!) 2. After sketchnoting, look back at your sketch through the lens of your purpose. Does it meet your needs? 3. If you answered yes in Step 3, great! Go on and use those notes for whatever purpose they were made. If you answered no, ask why it didn’t, and use your response to determine what sketchnoting skill to develop next. You are fully capable of going through those steps on your own, but if you’d like some outside perspective check out the details of one-on-one instruction in case you’d like to sign up. The post VTV 015 : A Framework For Evaluating Your Sketchnotes appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
54 minutes | 6 years ago
VTV 014 : Nitya Wakhlu – Serving Groups And Solving Problems As A Visual Practitioner
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I chat with Nitya Wakhlu about how she got into the field of graphic recording and graphic facilitation, and the work that she is doing to keep the field of visual practitioners moving forward. Notes & Links Find out more about Nitya and her work at her website. Here’s a sketchnoted summary of our conversation: In our chat about the differences between graphic recording and graphic facilitation, Nitya mentioned recording work that she had done with The Portland Creative Conference. Nitya was first introduced to the world of capturing ideas visually by Tony Buzan, who is the inventor of mind mapping. When she brought her skills from India to the states, Nitya connected with XPLANE and On Your Feet, both based in Portland, Oregon. (You might recognize the name On Your Feet because its co-founder was former podcast guest Gary Hirsch.) Nitya and fellow graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck are working with the International Forum of Visual Practitioners to survey the field in order to get a sense for the different types of work people are doing and move toward some common standards for engaging in this line of work. Connect with Nitya: Website Twitter Facebook Email The post VTV 014 : Nitya Wakhlu – Serving Groups And Solving Problems As A Visual Practitioner appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
22 minutes | 6 years ago
VTV 013 : Sketchnoting A Surprise Ending To The World Domination Summit
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I chat about my experience at the 2014 World Domination Summit and share the two surprise endings to that event, both of which involve the use of sketchnoting skills in unforeseen ways. Notes & Links More information about the World Domination Summit here. They’ve got some cool recap videos of previous years that will give you a better sense of the event than my description alone. Big thanks to Armosa Studios for many of photos you’ll find below. I was ready to sketch at a moment’s notice: The only sketch I was able to complete before my role as a volunteer took over: Thanks to the folks that made it out the sketchnoting meetup on Saturday night! Here’s a blurry picture of us hanging out at Vivace in NW Portland: I put together a small pdf with a few of the templates included in The Verbal To Visual Notebook. Take a look at those if you’d like help laying out your visual notes on the page. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Gary Hirsch in the making of these Brave Bots. Such a fun project (no matter how time consuming): Planning Sunday’s surprise ending with host Chris Guillebeau and WDS Magician Michelle Jones: The closing party was spectacular – here’s a shot of the dance floor: The folks from Fizzle led a wonderful workshop on Monday about finding and refining a business idea. I dig the way these guys approach business. Here’s the empathy map that I created for a person I made up named Jenny, who’s struggling in her pre-med classes and could use some new note taking skills: Since first creating that empathy I’ve built some resources that might be helpful to Jenny, and maybe even to you too! Learn more about them below. Want To Dig Deeper? If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking. If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos. If you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom. And if you want to create new personal and professional opportunities by sharing the authentic journey of your skill development online, check out Learn In Public. The post VTV 013 : Sketchnoting A Surprise Ending To The World Domination Summit appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
60 minutes | 7 years ago
VTV 012 : Sacha Chua – Adventures In Sketchnoting And Semi-Retirement
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I chat with Sacha Chua, who is in the midst of a five-year experiment in semi-retirement. We talk about what led to that experiment, what she is learning from it, and the role that sketchnoting has played throughout it. Notes & Links Sacha has been documenting her experiments at her site Living An Awesome Life. One of the early presentations that Sacha added sketches to was The Gen Y Guide To Web 2.0 At Work. She also sketched out her presentation The Shy Connector: How to get strangers to talk to you. Here are Sacha’s thoughts on digital vs analog note taking. Here are some tips from Sacha on how to draw a visual summary of a book. We talked about the benefits of sharing while you learn, which Sacha outlined in these sketches. Where you can connect with Sacha: Website Twitter Flickr Thanks to Sacha we’ve got a full transcript of our conversation! Doug Neill: Welcome to the Verbal to Visual Podcast, a program about bringing ideas to life. I’m your host, Doug Neill. My guest on the podcast today is Sacha Chua, who is in the midst of a five-year experiment in semi-retirement. She saved up enough money at her job to be able to take five years in order to spend time on whatever she felt like spending time on. During that experiment, she has been documenting the things she has been doing, the things she has been learning, the projects she has been working on and how she is spending her time, and what she’s learning from the whole experience. One of the things that Sacha has spent her time on is sketchnoting. Back at her job, Sacha first started using sketches in her presentations to clarify complex ideas and got such a great response from her coworkers that she kept doing it. She started sharing some of her sketch slides online, and she has been connecting with the broader community of sketchnoters. In our conversation we geek out on some of the specifics, the tools she uses, the process, the digital versus analog question of notetaking. We also get into the big picture discussion of learning and sharing at the same time, and the benefits of doing that–not just for you, but benefits to others as well when you learn and share simultaneously. And I think the breadth of Sacha’s knowledge and experience is such that you will definitely learn something from our conversation. So, let’s get into it. Sacha Chua, thanks for joining us on the Verbal to Visual podcast. Sacha Chua: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Doug: From what I read, you are in the middle of a five-year experiment in semi-retirement. I thought that might be kind of a fun place to start the conversation for the listeners to hear a bit about the background of that. Then we can kind of dive into the role that sketchnoting has played as part of that experiment. Why don’t you start by kind of explaining the story behind that experiment? Sacha: Ever since I started working, I’ve always saved a large portion of my income because I wanted to learn how to start a business, play around with different ideas and in general, experiment with alternatives to the usual kinds of career paths. When I tallied up the numbers–I’ve been tracking my expenses and my income since about 2005 or so–I realized that I almost had enough to take five years off without worrying too much about paying bills or making ends meet. So, I told people at work, I turned all my projects over, wrapped everything up nicely. Then in 2012, in February, I started in this five-year experiment. The idea is to be completely unhireable for five years. It’s so tempting to run back into what’s familiar. In my case, I actually really enjoyed working with a large company. I knew that if I gave myself that option, I might–at the first sign of things being weird, or uncertain, or uncomfortable, I might be tempted to run back into that. So, I said, “Okay, you know what? You don’t have to worry too much about making ends meet. You’ve got enough savings to keep on going.” In fact, I had a fair bit of a safety buffer beyond that. I wanted to find out what you could do if you had that kind of space, since so few people have that kind of privilege. In the past two-and-a-half years or so, I’ve had fun with sketchnoting. I played around with that and found it as a great excuse to get into conferences and other events that I wanted to go to. Lately, I’ve been focusing on drawing and exploring things that I want to, whether or not anyone else will pay me for it–hence the interest in using sketches to explain technical topics like Emacs, or just using it to help me figure out what my next steps will be or how I can make most of these moments. Doug: It sounded like from the beginning of your professional life, you’ve kind of had this plan in mind, this idea of saving up enough money and then taking a break like this – if you even want to call it a break. I guess it’s much more of an active experiment as you have explained it. Was there anything in particular that kind of led you to have that planned in mind? Sacha: Well, I’d grown up reading personal finance books. Yes, I’m that kind of geek. I’d read all about these good things you could do. As soon as I started working, I made sure that I took advantage of whatever retirement tax shelters there were. 20-somethings, 30-somethings are already thinking about this. The earlier you think about it, the easier it is, actually, and the more advantage time gives you. So that’s one of the reasons why I got into it. The other reason why I looked at this experiment and decided it was worth going for, was also because I’ve been tracking my time over the past couple of years. I looked at my time. I found out that yes, I do actually sleep a lot, which is good, and I worked a reasonable number of hours, which is also good, and I had enough time to spend in discretionary activities – hobbies, playing games, learning things “just because.” But when I looked at all the different things that I wanted to learn and I estimated how much time it would take me to learn all those things, I decided that squeezing all these stuff into evenings and weekends, that’s one way to do it, but maybe I can [inaudible] into other ways to play around with that. My financial needs are pretty small. I don’t have any student debt. I can live mostly like a student. In fact, I think my lifestyle now is much better than it was when I was a student, because I get to cook a lot more now. Doug: Nice. Sacha: Yes. I figured, I’ve got this opportunity to try it out, and the time is something that a lot of people don’t have. I should explore this. It’s almost the duty to do that. Doug: What are the sort of things that you are tracking as part of this experiment? Sacha: Well, I was very curious about how the way that I used my time would shift–whether I would actually use the extra time for productive activities, or whether I would end up spending it all on video games and the other things that people worry about. They think, “I can’t handle that much free time.” I like to refer to as discretionary time instead of free time, because of course, you only have 24 hours, so it’s up to you to choose what to do with it. That’s one of the things that I’ve been tracking. I tracked, of course, my expenses and my income over this time. I’ve been curious about things like: how does this influence the number of sketches I make? That’s an easy number to get. How does it influence the time that I spend in drawing, or writing, or working on open source projects or things like that? Then I also track other weird things, depending on whatever comes to mind. For example, over the past two months or so, we’ve had this Raspberry Pi, which is a low cost Linux computer with a webcam. We added the webcam too. It’s in the basement furnace pointed at the cat litter boxes. We analyzed cat litter box usage patterns. Doug: Wow. That’s pretty awesome. Sacha: Yes. One of our cats poos outside the litter box, so we want to figure out why. Anyway, the nice thing about this is you can come up with all these little experiments and with a little bit of data, with a little bit of visualization, with a little bit of exploration, you can figure things out. Doug: Is there a software that you have written to go along with the video so that automates the analysis of that? Or do you have to go through and look? Sacha: Well, it’s one of the things that I do plan to learn. I’ve been teaching myself more Python these days which has a lot of these good image processing libraries. My background is in computer science. I really do like geeking about these things. But I found out that it takes me about less than a minute to process each video. I speed the video up by ten times automatically–I use a little bit of software to do that. Then it’s just something that I’m doing in the background while I’m watching a movie (which we borrowed from the library) or just relaxing, kind of watching and tracking the data in something like Google Spreadsheets. Doug: Got you. One of the trends that I’ve been hearing about quite a bit lately is this increasing number of people who are moving toward freelance work. I’m curious because you talk about having this obviously discretionary time during this experiment. What was the first month or so of this experiment like for you in terms of figuring out how to spend your time, and how to use your time wisely in the way that you would like to, and if that has shifted from that first month when you jumped into this to now a couple of years in? Sacha: It’s certainly an ongoing process of learning. It’s a skill that you can develop. I’d been writing abou
32 minutes | 7 years ago
VTV 011 : The Making Of The Verbal To Visual Notebook
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I share the process that I went through to bring to life The Verbal To Visual Notebook, a book that I recently published to help you develop the skill of visual note taking. Notes & Links You can find more details as well as sample activities from The Verbal To Visual Notebook here. Other books that serve as a good introduction to the skill of sketching out ideas: The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde and The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown. A snapshot from the brainstorming stage of creating the book, using the idea of heuristic ideation (which I learned from The Doodle Revolution), using this episode from Radiolab as inspiration: As I entered the illustration phase, I posted every activity to the wall and started with pencil sketches for each: And then I started sketching: When I went to scanning and editing, the skills I learned from Sean McCabe came in handy. Check out the 100% sketched Verbal To Visual Notebook here. The post VTV 011 : The Making Of The Verbal To Visual Notebook appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
45 minutes | 7 years ago
VTV 010 : Gary Hirsch – Improv Applied To Business And Life, And The Power Of Asking Why
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I chat with Gary Hirsch about how he uses principles of improvisation to help groups work together and individuals see opportunities. We also chat about a recent sabbatical he took which yielded some valuable insights related to his art, his work, and his life. Notes & Links Gary and I met at the 2013 TEDxConcordiaUPortland event. Check out his impressive talk titled Meet Your Monster that kicked off the event. Gary is the co-founder of On Your Feet, a consultancy that uses improv to help people work better together. He illustrated the book Everything’s An Offer, written by the other co-founder of On Your Feet, Robert Poynton. This is the book that pulled me out of that slump I mentioned on the show. What improvisation principles can do for you personally: Seeing opportunities (recognizing the many offers around you), even in hard times. Being present. Here. Now. Letting go. Gary’s recent insight: the value of stopping and asking that question of why you do the things you do. A few subway artists turned famous that inspired Gary: Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring. Check out Gary’s unique art – bots painted on the back of dominoes. On his recent art-making sabbatical, Gary painted a mural at Daimler Innovation Lab in Portland, Oregon and another in Boulder, Colorado that got some press here and here. We saw some connections between Gary’s work, the Before I Die… wall, and the work of Rebecca Shapiro – a previous guest on the podcast. I mentioned Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work while we chatted about the benefits of capturing and sharing not just the final product, but the process as well. Gary will be leading a co-creation workshop as part of The World Domination Summit this July in Portland. Where to find Gary: Twitter Facebook Botjoy On Your Feet The post VTV 010 : Gary Hirsch – Improv Applied To Business And Life, And The Power Of Asking Why appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
18 minutes | 7 years ago
VTV 009 : The Research-Based Benefits Of Writing By Hand
In this episode of The Verbal To Visual Podcast I share some recent research related to the benefits of writing by hand. You can now subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. Feel free to leave an honest review via those platforms! Notes & Links We’re transitioning from Visual Vocabulary Month (May 2014) to Handwritten Font Month (June). Here’s the last blog post from May that gives a good recap of the resources I shared related to building your visual vocabulary. Just a few days ago The New York Times published an article titled What’s Lost As Handwriting Fades. I found that article thanks to a tweet from Nancy Duarte. Check out her work related to presentations – it’s both impressive and inspiring. Also, this resource on diagrams is particularly useful for visual note takers. How Handwriting Trains The Brain, from The Wall Street Journal. Some of the studies referenced by those NYT and WSJ articles: The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard The Effects Of Handwriting Experience On Functional Brain Development In Pre-Literate Children Summarizing the research that I highlighted in this episode: Learning to write by hand makes you a better reader. Higher-quality handwriting corresponds to a more active brain. For note taking purposes, writing by hand is more benefitial than typing on a computer. Applying those results to visual note taking: The benefits of note taking by hand seem to be solid. It’s worth it to develop good handwriting. (Good to know at the beginning of Handwritten Font Month here at the site!) Topics for further investigation: The impact of using multiple handwritten fonts in consistent ways. The difference between cursive and non-cursive handwriting on the brain. The difference between caps and lowercase handwriting on the brain. The difference between writing on a screen (stylus and tablet) and writing in a notebook (pen and paper). Here’s a great video from Dave Gray showing how he digitally doodles. Do you know of any research on these topics? Do you have your own experience to share? Let us know in the comments below. The post VTV 009 : The Research-Based Benefits Of Writing By Hand appeared first on Verbal To Visual.
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