My wife and I were encouraged to attend the evening event, complete with fancy dresses and a red carpet. We were told to be on time and to prepare an acceptance speech, just in case we won.
Unlike the other award-winners and members of the audience, we are not instructional designers, curriculum experts, ontological coaches or pedagogy professors. The acceptance speech we prepared was fairly unique: six index cards with hand-drawn icons and a pink hula hoop.
When the ceremony reached the Innovation category, Diane and I sat nervously in the dark theater, hoping for our names to be called.
When we heard the winners announced, we felt mixed emotions: sadness that we did not receive the Innovation Award and relief that we wouldn't have to go through with our crazy speech/performance.
Just as we started to relax and sink into the soft theater seats, we were surprised to hear our names called as the winners for the next award: Innovation in Technology.
We doodle for a living! Making marks with inanimate objects like sticks and stones is one of the oldest forms of technology around.
(Thanks to Neuland, those objects have become much more beautiful and easier to use!)
Turns out, our online course on the basics of scribing with markers was nominated by the incoming President of the local ASTD chapter, who is also a student in the Rockstar Course.
This person heads up onsite and online training for banking products and services. Yet she saw our little experiment in online facilitation as groundbreaking.
Although I am proud of our team, I am not writing this to celebrate our own success. Instead, this indicates a sea change in the field of training and education.
Specifically, this points to the confluence of online learning, streaming video, mobile devices (especially iPads and tablets) have transformed the expectations for how and when people learn.
And, the secret sauce is visual storytelling.
Key players have disseminated and democratized the concept of scribing: in particular, the popular online math and science tutorials created by Khan Academy and the thoroughly magical time-lapse scribing videos developed by Cognitive Media.
Talented author/designers such as Edward Tufte (Visual Display of Quantitative Information), Nancy Duarte (Slide:logy) and Garr Reynolds (Presentation Zen) have inspired a generation of presenters at groundbreaking conferences such as TED, PopTech, and the constellation of O'Reilly tech conferences.
Collectively, these folks—and their high-quality, oft-emailed presentation videos on YouTube—have raised the bar for presentation design and storytelling skills worldwide.
More important, the expectations of audiences around the world have risen; we expect both high quality images AND highly authentic voices.
In creating our Rockstar Scribe course, we simply built upon these concepts and played with new digital tools, such as: Sketchbook Pro and Brushes of digital painting; GarageBand for musically composition; Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro for video editing; plus Wordpress and Posterous for the online “classroom”.
All of these digital tools are available to anyone with a laptop or an iPad and the gumption and time to monkey around.
So, what inspired the nice folks at ASTD who gave us the award for Technology?
It must be that we used that technology to transmit the EXPERIENCE of people drawing together and telling stories.
It is a core belief of ours that people learn from watching other people tell stories and make pictures.
We are all mesmerized by the human hand creating something—anything!—on a blank canvas and the human voice speaking from the heart.
More and more, world citizens are rebelling not just against existing political and economic systems, but against entrenched educational methods, typical meeting formats and predictably dull presentations.
As at most awards ceremonies, we ran out of time to thank everyone and share all the things we intended… although we did manage to sneak in our hula hooping skills as a form for delivering our key point.
So, what was our big message?
Whatever you do when working with other people, take some risks, try something new, leave them with something memorable, and (for your sake as well as your audience)… don't be boring!
Alphachimp Studio Inc.
Learn more about Becoming a Rockstar Scribe at School or Work at: http://www.learntoscribe.com