Prelude to vizthink

On September 16, 2008, I stayed home from school to participate in a webinar entitled Global Online Visual Thinking Workshop, presented by vizthink.

A Visual Thinking workshop is all about the visual, including seeing who the presenters are, so I hope the folks at vizthink will not mind my copying and pasting of the above graphic. The workshop was WONDERFUL, but before describing the sessions, I want you to have a sense of what my digital day was like. 

I teach middle and upper school Flash animation electives, and due to the timing of the vizthink sessions, it was possible to teach my classes from home. Thanks to iChat and screen sharing between my Mac at home and Mac in the computer lab, we had two “teacher in the box” classes.

Dave Gray’s session, which conveniently had technical difficulties (not a problem as I was able to view his presentation after the fact), allowing me to spend time with my Mom, who was here to see our older son who was home for a few days (after living in Japan for four years) before he headed off for school in Olympia, Washington

upper school Flash class – answered questions about their current animations and showed them how to post their swf files to our class wiki; we ended 10 minutes early


David Sibbet’s session

grabbed a quick lunch and ate at my computer while checking emails

middle school Flash class – explained how to scrub the playhead through frames, answered questions about their first animations, and reminded them to have someone post the Daily Scribe to our class wiki

Karl Gude’s session

whew, took a break from the digital!

Nancy Duarte’s session

I found the day rather exhilarating for its uniqueness, as compared to a typical school day, yet also rather tiring for all the time I spent sitting in my chair. All of the digital experiences were fully engaging, but by the end of the day I was more than ready for a break from my computer.

An idea floated by my husband (who is the Director of IT where I teach) is to have our school’s professional development day be a simulation of how we might carry on school if there were a flu epidemic requiring everyone to stay home. He thought this would not only be useful for seeing that school could, indeed, take place without everyone being in the same physical space, but would also be a way to introduce folks to a wide range of collaborative digital applications.

Faculty and students already use a number of such applications. However, a simulation would both allow exploration of a number of programs not currently part of most teachers’ toolboxes, and provide an opportunity for ideas to emerge regarding distance learning, and use of digital tools in the process of schooling.

4 thoughts on “Prelude to vizthink

  1. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Jack,
    Yes, I am familiar with Dan Roam’s book and it is on my “to read” list 🙂 Thanks for furthering the conversation.
    Cheers, Laurie

  2. Jack Hadley

    Laurie, thanks for you post about VizThink. I attended Dave Gray and Karl Gude’s workshop in Chicago back in April. It was great. I am starting the Utah VizThink community next month with our kick off workshop scheduled in November. I am sure you are probably familiar with the Book, Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam. If not, it is a great read you will enjoy.

  3. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Alan,
    Thank you for your suggestion – it is well received and will definitely be included in whatever simulation we (hopefully eventually) wind up doing. Indeed, a day of “school from home” should absolutely include time for physical movement.

    I hope that your back pain subsides as much as possible.

  4. Alan Coady

    As a victim of chronic back pain, may I suggest that such a simulation include a few moments on the importance of reglar movement to compensate for the stationary nature of such a way of working. Flu’s bad enough – but flu and back spasms…………

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