#clmooc #makecycle6 geolocate your space

I have been so busy that I haven’t been able to tackle the CLMOOC 6th project which is a wonderful theoretical collaboration between the U.S. National Park Service and educators on geo-mapping the spaces where we come together.  And given that we camp every year in the U.S. at these amazing places, it would have been easy and joyful…  So much fun and so inspiring to see what others are doing, though.  Which always makes me want to participate.

But I’ve taken a new half time teaching position in an actual college after years of teaching adults of all kinds in the places where they work and live and play. I’m pretty excited and getting exciteder (some oppositional quality makes me want to be anti-grammatical after becoming faculty) – the classes I am teaching are great, the texts are exciting, new colleagues are so helpful and there’s a nice mix of things I know really well and look forward to sharing as well as new things to learn about and I like those differential explorations. But, still.  New texts, old texts, someone else’s syllabus and lectures to support making my own, and three new tech platforms, a new-to-me institutional department and figuring out letting go of half of what I’ve been doing at my regular and much-loved work – whew!

So I figured I would forgo this as, taking on a new MOOC, I’d already given myself permission to lurk more than participate but then today as I multitasked – getting the car serviced whilst reading and annotating a text and creating lecture notes on how students might think about survey classes and master the assignments I suddenly looked down and realized I’d drawn a map. And then thought about how maps appear often in my graphic recordings.  Sometimes as pictures of maps… But, even so, the graphics themselves are maps – ways to get from one place to another.  That’s the point.

And so is the art I make – the mapping of movements and intersections…  I like this quote by Albert Einstein, “Nothing happens until something moves,” and often think about how it applies to our interactions of all kinds.

I was fascinated by the intent watchfulness of this young art student as he circled The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, and tried to draw his movements as well as the sculpture for different perspectives...  in about ten minutes :)

I was fascinated by the intent watchfulness of this young art student as he circled The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence.  I tried to draw his movements as well as the sculpture from different perspectives as I, too, circled it… in about ten minutes 🙂  

RapeOfTheSabinesDrawing

So I thought it would be interesting just to share some of these useful mapping metaphors.

How a survey course takes a HUGE amount of tangled information and supports the student through a combination of readings, reflections on their own experience, interactions with others, and projects, to create a kind of sense-making map about what happened when, some of which can be organized into things I now know, but also leaving one with a list of many questions to be followed up later.

Draft of an illustrated mindmapping/Venn diagram.  How a survey course takes a HUGE amount of tangled information and supports the student through a combination of readings, reflections on their own experience, interactions with others, and projects, to create a kind of sense-making map of the subject – about what happened when, some of which can be organized into things we now know, but also importantly, hopefully leaving one with a list of many questions to be followed up later.

Messy!!!  Private graphics like this (see Brandy Agerbeck’s draw quad) only need to be understood by the person who made and will be using them.  For me these are always interestingly meta-pedagogical as I can see in them how the larger graphics assist the memory, inspiration, organization and planning of larger groups that I work with – at those events I’m often so focused on the listening that I’m not always aware of the usefulness.  Mapping out how one idea from the text – in this case, how stereotypes develop and may be countered – through the text, the research they cite and one’s own experience (in brown) through a kind of messy mind-mapping process out of which one can begin to formulate the paper to be written.

MindmappingCounteringStereotypes

Then I started thinking of other, earlier examples.  This is a not great photo of one of the first graphics I created publicly, a combination of graphic recording and using templates with a group of people with disabilities on “Climb Every Mountain” – what’s a challenge that you’ve addressed and what did you learn that could help you in your next challenge?

ClimbEveryMountain2010

Often graphic recording is the recording of processes.

Parents organized this evening of speakers talking about different parts of the development of their children, their children's networks and themselves.

Parents organized this evening of speakers talking about different parts of the development of their children, their children’s networks and themselves.

In these two graphics, the first maps the future plan for a transition and independence by one organization doing great work, while the second maps what another organization has done in the context of similar actions around the continent.

InCommonAndBuildingCaringCommunitiesFinally, this is one of my favourite drawings – an off the cuff “here by dragons” from a wonderful talk by David Wetherow at TASH‘s open space gathering.  “Here be dragons” is what ancient maps used to say about unmapped places they were uncertain of.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

And by the way National parks board you rock and the Jessie M. Honeyman park is my favourite place in the world so far 🙂

CollageCampingHappy travelling and happy camping!

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8 thoughts on “#clmooc #makecycle6 geolocate your space

  1. I love all of this and need more time to digest it all … mapping and visualization are both powerful ways of “seeing” connections and learning in new light … so glad you found time to connect back in but also, I wanted to wish you luck with the new gig, too.
    Kevin

    • Aaron says:

      thanks Kevin – a lot of my impulse to try out teaching again has come from getting to know a bit about what folks like you, August, Sarah, Dave, Tanie etc. (a bunch more) are doing in actual schools. Ed theory has always been a great place to hang, but i’ve been really inspired by some actual teachers during #rhizo14 and 15 and CLMOOC 🙂

  2. Aaron your posts are so rich with beauty and resources and give me so much to think about. I have no idea how your mind does what it does. How do you think quickly enough in presentations to create these visuals??? Truly a gift and I am glad you share. 🙂

    • Aaron says:

      Thanks Susan – i’ve had some really great teachers and mentors and as i did more and more it got easier and easier but i’m still nervous about every event i go to 🙂 but writing about how learning happens around this kind of learning would be an interesting blog posting…

  3. tellio says:

    I love maps. Love them in the ‘realz’ and in the ‘metaphorz’. And I in no way wish to diminish the play and beauty of these maps. They are useful, but they also have blindspots. Just finished writing a comment on Greg Mcverry’s post here (https://hypothes.is/a/Mph5C7ljQXulpGkRkYCxZA) about the use of ‘focus’ as a controlling metaphor. And I have to argue that we should not valorize these things too much, that we use them in humble ways. The map is not the territory. It is part of the territory, usually the visual and symbolic part, but we have to be careful that we don’t mistake them for the full monty of reality. Lot of these analytical points come from George Lakoff, but some also come from Bret Victor. We would love to see you contribute to watch Victor speak and then have you contribute to a Vialogue here: https://vialogues.com/vialogues/play/23929/

    I will make an ‘aftermath’ cutting from your hayfield above a bit later, but I have farm chores awaiting and hungry sheep mouths to feed and water. Later. Good on ya. Loving what I am seeing.

    • Aaron says:

      great comment on the idea of focus – :::swoon::: i will have to think about those ideas but am really excited by your feedback. i am approaching this more from a perspective of multiplicity and marginalisation – the map is not the territory but the question of who has been excluded and how (through “professionalised” conversations for example) seems to me partly addressed by thinking of other ways of communicating together. in this case drawing, which is a thing i love and am relatively good at, but also drama, performance, other kinds of interaction. i am less good at those things but using them in teaching when i am not so proficient seems instructive in itself in a Friere kind of co-learning way… what i am trying for is supporting those who can’t quite keep up, keep up, or lead. but it also interests me that people who are proficient at that kind of meeting-interaction / lecture-interaction also often seem to get something out of looking at things from a different (visual or?) lens. i’ll check out those links as soon as i can but maybe not this week unfortunately :/

  4. Thanks for sharing your maps. As I’ve said in other posts on the #CLMOOCs there is great potential in drawing people together to discuss and try to solve complex problems via MOOCs and similar on-line communities. When people take time to think through the problem and map their thought process, or how they get from “here to there” I think they become more invested. When they share their visualizations with others, it creates a greater potential for shared understanding. I’ve used concept maps for many years and have seen many examples of mind maps. In both cases, the clutter on the maps works against understanding, while expressing complexity. That’s why I liked Bred Victor’s (http://worrydream.com/#!/Bio) ideas so much. They offer the potential of animating the map, to highlight different parts, and create greater understanding.

    I don’t know if you or others in #CLMOOC have viewed a concept mapping platform called Kumu, but it offers a way to highlight sections of the map. Here’s an example. https://kumu.io/Briandrpm/living-cities-collective-impact#module-4

    I’ll look forward to seeing how you and others apply these mapping ideas in your classrooms and in community problem solving over the coming year. Maybe next year’s MOOC can start with sharing what we’ve done from “not till then”.

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