The Stress Maker, The Deal Breaker & The Cuddle Chemical

Earlier this week, I posted a short video addressing the #1 factor preventing most people from even attempting to scribe.

In this follow-up segment, I run through three essential brain chemicals all facilitators and educators should know.

Are you familiar with the brain chemicals responsible for the all-too-familiar “fight-or-flight” reaction? How about the one for triggering the reward centers of the brain, or the checmical for building trust?

I give my kindergarten simple summary of these three essential ingredients of brain soup that make working with other humans a challenge and a reward.  :)

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

TEDx: This Is Freaking Awesome

We want to see & share your work!

We've had a blast the past few years scribing for TEDx Nashville, and have heard through the grapevine that many of you have scribed or sketchnoted your local TEDx events. Fill out the form below and we'll post your work at

If you've ever had a thought that you're not capable of doing this work, we have a special message just for you: "Yes you can!"

We'd like to show you how. Rockstar Scribe is relaunching May 1. Sign up before then and receive 40% off regular tuition.

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Special Announcement: Puppies and Bacon Doughnuts!

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During a celebratory video on Tuesday, we announced the launch of a new special 2nd anniversary Rockstar group on May 1st (register here if you are interested).

We also announced there would be a special announcement today. (We sort of already announced it last week, but here's the announcement anyway.)

Note: Our community manager, Evan,  bet me a bacon-and-maple-syrup doughnut that I couldn't use "announced" more than 5 times in one post. Announcement: as you've seen above, he owes me a Hungry Lumberjack doughnut from one of Nashville's many food trucks, Loco Doughnut.


We have invested a substantial amount of time, energy, money, sweat, tears, and blood (not really any blood but inserted here for dramatic effect) in learning the tools, equipment, and processes involved in creating time-lapse scribing and digital videos/animations.

Many of our students and compatriots in the industry have asked nicely, strongly suggested, and even begged us (puppy-dog-eyes style) to share what we've learned to help you avoid some of the painful mistakes that go along with being a pioneer in any new field.

ABOVE: HEY! Don’t give us those puppy-dog eyes unless you are “for reals”!

Mostly, we think we're ready to do so, but to be honest, building a course is a lot of work, and we only want to go through it (again) if we know there's going to be an energetic/excited/fun group to go through it with us.

So just like two years ago, when we built Rockstar Scribe and That Creative Space, we're looking for a group of co-creators that are at least as excited about this stuff as we are to help us build a course that delivers everything our audience desires.

If this short description fits you, let us know. If we feel the love (a.k.a. get enough interest), we'll reach back out with next steps in this co-creation journey.

Happy Birthday Rockstar Scribe

Become a Rockstar Scribe turns two-years-old next month! Everybody sing along in your best falsetto opera voice ...

Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Rockstar Scriiiiiiiiibe, Happy birthday to you!

To celebrate these two magical years, we've loaded the course with fresh content for the Special-Birthday-Celebration group which starts May 1st, 2013.

And, not to steal any thunder—like Daniel did when he threw his high school graduation party on his sister's 10th birthday—we're using Rockstar's birthday as a platform for a very exciting announcement ... stay tuned =)

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Making RSA Style Videos in Schools

ABOVE: The Louisiana Purchase | drawings and voiceover by Kairav Maniar original on YouTube

The best compliment in the world (I believe) is when what you do connects with an eight-year-old.

Even better than that is when said eight-year-old takes technology and makes something that is both very cool and extremely thoughtful!

In this blog post, teacher  describes the nuts and bolts of how to make an RSA Animate style video with your class.

Show this to your favorite educator or student and challenge them to do the same!

Read full details at

(Discovered thanks to Julie Stuart's post on the Facebook Graphic Facilitation Group.)

Jorge Cham: Using PhD Comics To Close The Science Gap

So, what is The Science Gap? It is this vast black hole between those people who dedicate a lifetime of research to understanding how the world works... well, and the rest of us, aka. "the general public".

In this 2012 talk at TEDxUCLA, Jorge Cham explore the public perception of scientists and academics, as well as how his collaboration with particle scientist Daniel Whiteson at CERN resulted in a viral video explaining the why and how of hunting for the Hicks Boson.

Jorge Cham is the creator of the online comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD) as well as the video channel PHD-TV. Born and raised in the Republic of Panama, he obtained his Ph.D. in Robotics from Stanford University and was an Instructor and Research Associate at Caltech before becoming a full-time cartoonist.

More at:

(Thanks to Lynn Kearny for the link!)

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Visual Learning Strategies for Kids

An excerpt from "Thinking Through Art: The Isabella Stewart Gardner School Partnership Program," in which students discuss work from the museum's collection using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). VTS is an educational curriculum and teaching method which enables students to develop aesthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills, while giving teachers a powerful new technique they can utilize throughout their career. Their mission is to foster cognitive growth through interaction with art, and to boost academic achievement in every school where VTS is implemented, facilitating systemic change in how students learn and how teachers teach.

More at

(Thanks to Coniqua Abdul-Malik for the link!)

The Making of a Neurocomic

The brain is an amazing organ, with rich settings and intriguing characters. It lends itself nicely to metaphors. Unfortunately, there is little room for metaphor in scientific papers.

In this video, you can follow artist Matteo Farinella and neuroscientist Hana Ros of University College London as they collaborate to create a graphic novel called Neurocomic.

This scientific fantasy is about a hapless character who is sucked into a human brain where he encounters bizarre creatures and famous neuroscientists.

Their objective is to introduce the neurochemical workings of the brain to a wider audience, so entertainment, storytelling and clever metaphors are just as important to the enterprise as the science.

(via The Guardian)

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Educational researcher Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize. His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another. Sugata Mitra believes (and has documented) that when children are given access to technology—no matter where they are in the world—they will figure out how to use it.

His “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest.

In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area).

What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

He also sees that as a global society, we have focused too much on preparing humans to serve as replacement parts for the vast computer built in the 19th century.

“The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”

However, unlike our ancestors a millenium ago, he feels that educators have forgotten the secret of asking “wondrous questions”. Questions like: What happens with the air we breath? When did the earth begin? What are stars exactly? How can you tell if a speeding asteroid is going to hit Earth?

“It took nature 100 million years to make the ape stand up and become Homo sapiens. It took us only 10,000 to make knowing obsolete.”

When asked such wondrous, open-ended questions, children go on an intellectual adventure, one that is self-motivated and self-organized.

“It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken — it's not broken, it's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated.”

Mitra has an inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), in which the main ingredients are broadband, collaboration and encouragement.

This school would be managed by one granny (for health and safety) but everything in managed, sourced, beamed in, managed and moderated in the cloud.

The main operating principle? Let learning happen. This school would be driven by a curriculum of big questions.

The teacher, in the SOLE sets learning in motion and steps back to watch it happen.

Thanks to the TED community, it looks like Mr. Mitra may get his wish.

RESOURCES: — Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) Toolkit >>Sugata Mitra's 2013 TED TalkTED Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education — Learn more about the TED Prize