Tag Archives: community mapping

#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 🙂  


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.


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?


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.



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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#clmooc Remediation Make Cycle 2

I’ve been really fascinated by what’s coming across my social media feeds as educators of all kinds have tackled the idea of “reMEDIAtion” over the last week in the #clmooc group.  As my avocation is special education for adults, I was particularly interested in this idea: “Remediation – as we’ll be thinking about it here – is unrelated to another use of the term in education: we are not talking about “remediating kids” as in “remedy”-ing them.  Here, the focus is on media, and ways in which moving from one medium to another changes what we are able to communicate and how we are able to do so.”  On the other hand, I’ve been travelling, and teaching in some new places, and trying to wrap up some projects, and dealing with a hospitalized family member and a paper I am supposed to be readying for publication so I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself…  but one of the folks was talking about the idea of constraints as compelling…

I’ve been teaching drawing as communication to adults, and it’s always fascinating to see who is scared of what.  To watch someone draw perfectly well and beat themselves up with every line.  To watch someone who didn’t think they could draw anything, draw something recognizable, and then the next day come back to say their children were so thrilled they insisted she hang it on their fridge door.

Yet, as interesting as it is, it’s a bit hard to relate to, honestly.  I’ve always been able to draw pretty much anything, and while I had a few art teachers who didn’t think that was true, or wanted me to want something “more,” the shyness people have about this skill range is difficult for me to fathom.  Thinking about this, I realized how invested I was in the idea of control…  even when I decided I’d rather fail the drawing course than do what was wanted, I was in control.   About the same time, I ran across an old reference in some notes I was looking at, twitter bots – in this case, twitter-bots you send images to and they re-create (re-mediate) your images – either randomly or by sending them commands.  This led to me discovering a whole family of twitter-bots that, as it happened, were at war!

TwitterBotWar.08 AM TwitterBotWar.39 AM TwitterBotWar.33 AM

As a graphic recorder and facilitator (and illustrator and researcher), my actual job a good part of any month is re-mediation – I listen to the conversations people have about certain subjects, and turn them into drawings.  In my research I get a lot of people talking about one subject and then turn that into a drawing as a recording.  This was part of my Master’s thesis and is part of what I am continuing to look at in my PhD program.

So, this kind of interaction:


Turns into this kind of documentation, through my drawings and (often) the incorporation of drawings and work by the groups (in this case, “name tags” in which the “my name is…” was replaced with “the gift i bring to community is…”):


There are lots of good things about such projects but in essence what I like is that we focus on the ways people can communicate (visually) as a way of congregating information that they can present to those who are empowered to make changes.  In this project we went to six different cities in the end, in which agencies, government and policy makers were as excited to hear what people with disabilities wanted as people with disabilities were to tell them.

I also continue to be fascinated by technology and its effects on our lives and relationships.  So I started sending some of the documents and images to the twitter bots.

I combined a picture of me drawing with a drawing and send them to imgblender – which takes two images and overlays them in different ways: 

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Then, using the twitter-bots JPGglitchbot, imgshredder, lowpolybot and Quilt Bot, I continued to experiment with the photo of me drawing a research project plan for a collaborative group of researchers with intellectual disabilities:

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This led to me combining and re-mediating more of the graphic recordings, and in particular one of me and my family, combined with a recording about how people who live with folks with disabilities feel about their “jobs,” lives and the idea of “home”:

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Finally, I made myself stop but then, in bed with my iPad and reading one of my favourite comic series, Paul Pope’s Batman Year 100, I could not resist combining the iconic cover of this future-Batman in a dystopian world with a publicity photo of me, and really liking the effect 🙂

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and then, the next day, I discovered the twit-bot UShouldFrameIt and decided my new portrait needed framing:


and then, in an act of post-structuralist robotics, that a sarcastic comment from LowPolyBot to UShoudFrameIt as part of the twit-bot-war needed a little framing too….

TwitBotWarFramed.47 PM

To see the Imgblender Gif in action, go here.

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UBC Center for Community Engaged Learning: “Celebration of Community”

UBCExpEdGraphicMoreThanLocation I was asked to serve as the graphic recorder at this event with the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning, and was very interested, as I’d heard about this group, had a little bit of interaction with them, and other parts of the agency I am part of has worked with them (but not the part that is mostly my focus).

However, my other current interest is the resurgence of the rhizomatic education group/class/mooc (maybe) through the lens of, “Rhizomatic Learning: A Practical Discussion.”  I was interested in how this UBC initiative instantiates some of the ideas in education about how we might learn in different ways, in different collaborations, within community that is, as one told me, “connections beyond classes.”

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Most of my job throughout the evening was to graphically record the feedback of the community partners (more than 80!), the UBC students who had spent time with them engaged in learning projects and those faculty who are excited about the potential of these connections. The gist of these conversations was that folks are transformed by their experience of each other, by moving out of their silos and into other worlds.  Professors told me how excited they were to see the kinds of research they love put into practice and about getting feedback that their work was “needed” and applicable right there, in that moment, in that situation; students told me about how exciting it was to take what they know and what they loved and be able to test drive their skills in places where their work mattered; community partners told me how they’d been nervous and then learned so much from their student partners, been able to reflect on their own work in ways that mattered to them and felt empowered by the connections they’d made.   And some people got jobs or were connected through one partner to another place where they might work.  And everyone grew in confidence.

A theme of some participants was their growing mastery as they participate year after year.  This made me wonder about the practices of collaboration and how we get better and better at something that can be difficult to enter into.

It was a powerful experience to be part of and serve as witness to and made me consider Dave Cormier’s course outline and this week’s question: “How do we design our own or others learning when we don’t know where we are going? How does that free us up? What can we get done with subjectives that can’t be done with objectives?”  One of the conversations I had was with an academic from another country, who had done a project with an organization that supports the poorest and most vulnerable population of women in Canada, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and how excited they were to find each other.  “Allowing things to happen, in their own way, in their own time, is what worked,” said one.  “It’s about connections: that’s what it should be!” said the other.  They discovered what they wanted to do together as their connection grew.

How rhizomatic is that? 🙂  So one of my questions about rhizomatic learning is whether our engagement with it is the examination of what is already happening.  The Director of the centre, Susan Grossman, in her introduction talked about these partnerships a way to tackle the kinds of complex issues and problems that we face.  During the evening I talked to people about physics, science, poverty, feminism, LGBTQ rights, education access, disability, economics, woodworking, robotics, and that thing they do with laser beams….  and lots more.  A multiplicity of strengths brought to bear.

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