The League of Innovative Schools Spring Meeting took place in Tucson a couple of weeks ago and I was down there with my pens to support their terrific mission of spurring innovation in education. I arrived at the event site while the participants were at lunch and the Digital Promise team asked if I could create a summary of what happened the previous day before the participants returned to the meeting. After watching a video of presentations from the day before, this was the chart I created in about 30 minutes that summarized what I heard in the video:
Sticking with a simple palette of black, grey and red (then adding some yellow chalk at the very end) really helps when the pace is so rapid.
Architecture of a Chart
People often ask how I organize the text and images on a chart so that it fills up the paper but doesn’t appear cramped. The short answer is that it’s fairly intuitive (not helpful, I know), but basically I’m always aware of how much time is left in each session and how much white space I have left and then pace myself accordingly. Generally, an hour-long session is about enough content for one 4×8-foot-long chart.
In this session, we had two large charts set up and I knew the flow of the meeting, so I had a plan. Let me say that the best laid graphic recording plans often backfire as agendas shift, speakers come late or finish speaking early, etc., but in this case it went fine (hurray!). Here’s how the two charts below were built:
1. After lunch each table group had some working time to craft a problem statement, which they came up and shared with me at the chart one by one. I added the problem statements and some key images that we came up with first, leaving room for the solutions that would be presented later in the day. I loved working with each of the groups in real-time to create an icon or two that represented an important concept related to their statement. Group one, for example, wanted the concept of multiple learning pathways to be represented next to their statement, so I added the paths with students standing at different points:
This part of the chart creation process was a great way to help participants develop a connection to the graphic being created. When this connection happens, people are much more likely to share the chart with others after the event (usually a good thing).
2. Later in the day each table group presented out their initial ideas for solutions to each problem statement, and I went back and filled in the area around each problem statement with their ideas. You can see the two charts separately below, and then as one merged graphic that my Photoshop wizard helped me puttogether after the event:
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