Drawing in Research

I’m giving a webinar for the PHC Knowledge Translation Community of Practice today and wanted to jot down a few notes as a companion. Many of the activities I have included were used in my Going Visual workshops at SFU. For the sake of this session, I am revising them below. The title of the webinar is…

“Drawn to Your Research: Using Visuals to Improve Academic and Non-Academic Presentations”, will guide participants through a series of fun drawing exercises designed to amplify your visual literacy. No previous drawing experience is required, only a willingness to make your marks!

Visual Practice

I must clarify first what I will mean by “presentations”.  It could in fact be a powerpoint presentation that you are working in which, many researches would be used to. But for the sake of this session I will widen the scope of presentation to anytime you are telling the story of your research, whether that be in the boardroom, the classroom or elevator. You may in fact find yourselves presenting your research on the back of the proverbial napkin, and if so, this workshop is intended directly for you.

Drawing, and more specifically drawing comics has been making headway in academia lately. In my world of teaching and learning, we use it to help synthesize ideas for the classroom, but in the research world the audience and the time you have with them can be much more diverse, and unpredictable. Regardless of audience, there is something much more approachable about a quick doodle or sketch compared to a graph, diagram or white paper. Case in point Jorge Cham (PHD comics) and Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to bring us  We Have No Idea a collection of comics dedicated to answering some of sciences toughest problems, in a comic book format.

So many ideas, a sketchnote

Continue reading “Drawing in Research”

Collaborative whiteboard technical report (The knowledge wall)

From  report for a project started July 27 2012

Activity summary: We are seeking a web based product that will allow participants to contribute text, drawings, images and possibly other media to a shared space on the internet.

Dubbed a “knowledge wall”, this living artifact should be persistent and editable over the
duration of the course, viewable by all students, and be able grow and evolve dynamically. One
large shared space where all the students contributions can be seen and shared by all is the
desired experience.

Notes: No perfect solution has yet been identified, although Dabbleboard has been proposed
as good enough to begin exploration. The issue that I see is finding a tool that will emulate a
large physical sheet of paper that can be edited by a large group. By its nature, the internet is
divided into smaller ‘pages’ each with unique locations (urls) and permissions. (open,private)
Most of the tools on this list, offer drawing and/or media collaborations on a single web page,
which, in the context of this project might be equivalent to a single teams weekly contributions to
the greater wall. Essentially, to reconstruct the learning activity proposed, a ‘series’ of drawings
or ‘pages’ should be considered as opposed to one large ‘wall’.
Next steps: To choose an optimal product, several should be tested in conditions that may
duplicate the eventual student experience. This ‘user testing’ can be informal but better results
would arise by obtaining feedback with external participants. I would also like to share this
report and a request for input on the internet through my personal learning network and all.
Dabbleboard
https://www.dabbleboard.com
50$-100$ for ‘pro’ service
? Whiteboard
? Text chat
? Multiple pages
? Images
? Save online
? Good for diagrams, non expressive text tools
Flockdraw
http://flockdraw.com/
free – ad supported
? Collaborative Whiteboard
? Text Chat
? Add text (although I cant get it to work)
? Doesn’t save past a single session
Voicethread
http://voicethread.com/
99$ per year
? Conversation Tool
? “Collaborative Multimedia Slideshow”
? Images, Documents, Videos, Audio
? Doodling on images
? Mobile access
Notes: eg. http://voicethread.com/?#q.b409.i848804 Voicethread focuses on the media itself
(images, video, sound) and provides opportunities for rich asynchronous discussions that can
unfold over time. Drawing is supported via “doodles” which could be used in the context of this
project. Based on the project needs, separate ‘threads’ would be started for each teams topics
and these would be navigated through the voicethread UI.
Google Drive (Shared Drawing)
https://drive.google.com/
free
? Whiteboard and drawing tools
? Comments
? Text, Images,
Notes: Google drive may offer similar or greater features for free than Dabbleboard. In general
the drawing tools feel more natural, and ‘sketch book-like’ than Dabbleboard which seems more
suited to technical diagrams and charts.

Observing Cassette Culture: Thesis now available

>
yay for finishing projects!
The above picture was taken about an hour before my final final deadline. I am not even sure how I managed to pull this off, and yet here I am, done my masters degree. Its especially gratifying doing this level of work on a topic that I am so fond of, and has received such little academic inquiry. (these are the kind of things i can say now)

Once again, a big bunch of thanks for all the participants who contributed images to this study. Couldn’t have done it with ya. There are plans to continue this research, and perhaps rewrite the thing into something smaller and more interesting to read, so stay tuned for that.

For those who cannot wait, I have posted the thesis which you can download here. enjoy!

vive la cassette!