In July I filled in the blank: “If my brave got a little bigger, I’d probably ________________.” I surprised myself by my boldness, as I actually did not know how much I was hoping to join my friends in the International Sketchnote Community at the first International Sketchnote Camp in Hamburg, Germany. See my response below.
The event would be held in September, a lovely time to travel, but an inconvenient time for my role in education. Seeing it pop up in my response on Facebook (a platform I visit infrequently) made me ponder: “Could I actually make it happen?” (The community nurtured by Mary Anne Radmacher encourages an intentional life and taking the risks necessary in remembering to do what matters.) Over the last several years this global community of Sketchnoting friends has mattered to me. Our work spreading the love and efficacy of sketchnoting “one shape at a time” has created a family of sorts. I call it the United Nations of Sketchnoting, and my brave got a whole lot bigger when I made my first visit to Germany.
Each segment of that trip deserves an individual blog post; consider this part 1 of 3.
A satellite event was held at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremerhaven where Sketchnote enthusiast, Professor Katharina Theis Bröhl, is Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Katharina organized The Wonderful World of Sketchnotes for the faculty, staff and students of the University. Their coastal location supports such topics as maritime technologies and renewable energies. It was an honor to be asked to step in for Mike Rohde and begin the workshop with an introduction to sketchnotes. Katharina was our moderator and the other panelists: Marianne Rady, Mike Clayton, Andreas Teufel, Franziska W. Schwarz, Diana Meier-Soriat would focus on the nuts and bolts and process of Sketchnoting. I set the stage for the what and why including the brain based benefits of sketchnoting for education. Coming off of planes, trains, and shuttles from a 36-hour travel itinerary from the states made me dubious. Could I pull this off? Looking out at the audience, a group of eager, interested, and accomplished faces gave me the energy I needed to articulate my reverence for the skill while also sharing the research based benefits in education. You could have heard a pin drop in that room, but it was not until intermission that I realized the magnitude of our efforts.
Working on jetlag, in a new country, amidst international Twitter friends, many of whom I had never met, it was exciting for me to mingle amidst the crowd. Of course I was drawn to the students. Scientists, and engineers, they were eagerly paying attention and seemed to want more. I was not disappointed when in halting English one described his dilemma when during long, formal lectures his ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, but, he used another term) kicked in and prevented him from paying attention. He was intent on finding a way to stay tuned into his lectures and engage with the content in a new way. Katharina had done an amazing job spreading the efficacy of Sketchnoting in her classes. Several spoke of an upcoming trip where they would immerse themselves in an island habitat and wanted a better way to capture all that they would be experiencing. Instead of leaving at the break, each and every one of the students stayed for the second half of the program and actively participated in the question and answer segment at the end. I left with such hopefulness that this university was inspiring students to listen well and remember wisely through new and creative methods.
After the event we gathered to share an authentic meal with many of the attendees. The gracious hospitality of my host and her coastal town took my breathe away and I slept that night eager to embark the next day on the official first day of the International Sketchnote Camp. More to come.