When we launched the Rockstar Scribe course in May of 2011, we had so many amazing people appear in our lives. Heidi Forbes Öste (@ForbesOste) is definitely one of those people.

A Boston native, Heidi now lives in Sweden with her husband and children, and has a passion for humanizing technology and strategic use of social tools for individuals & organizations both online & face-to-face.

In her practice as a Global Social Strategist and Visual Practitioner, Heidi provides workshops, strategic visual harvesting and consulting to clients worldwide.

Somehow, she is also pursuing a doctorate through Fielding University.

As part of her wider research into the tools and methodologies used by the next generation of global leaders, Heidi has started down the path of researching the value of "visual practice" (visual facilitation, graphic recording, mindmapping, sketch-noting, etc.)

As a piece of her dissertation, Heidi's research on the visual practice, although still in the early stages, focuses on how it supports leadership and global teams using social technologies.

This discussion with Heidi was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into the broader trends at the intersection of social systems, collaborative technology, visual learning, innovation and global leadership.

For more information about Heidi's work, visit The Art of Social Strategy (


00:00 | Introductions

03:00 | Heidi's History with Visual Facilitation 06:55 | Heidi's Research and Dissertation 09:30 | The Lexicon of Visual Practice

10:45 | Graphic Recording vs. Graphic Facilitation 12:00 | Sketchnotes Defined 17:30 | Strategic Visualization 20:50 | Visual Coaching 26:10 | Questions from the Audience

34:00 | Where to Take Survey and View Heidi's Research ( 34:45 | Larger Question Being Explored 35:30 | Leadership and the New Social Paradigm

37:00 | Minimizing & Overcoming Miscommunication in a Global World 50:15 | Connect with Heidi at @forbesoste 54:00 | Special Announcements from Alphachimp

Learn visually. Alphachimp University. Click to see courses.

New Group of Rockstar Scribes Begins May 1.

[button url="" target="_self" style="red" position="center"] REGISTER TODAY [/button]

If you're already a member of Alphachimp University, we invite you to join our Affiliate Program and earn 30% for all referrals.

For more information, visit

Finally, applications for our LIVE workshop INTERSECTION, hosted at our studio in Nashville, TN are due Monday, April 22 (Earth Day). Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity, Apply Here ( before Monday, April 22 ... special discounts apply to all former or current students.

[alert style="white"] Alphachimp Learning Systems LLC works with firestarters, whizkids, restless geniuses & unreasonable (wo)men to explore new media, neuroscience, visual facilitation and get stuff done. @ChimpLearnGood[/alert]

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.)

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!)

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

Making a Mighty MOOC: Part 2 – Five Implementation Tips

Mooc 2 Brain

A continuation of our short series on Massive Open Online Courses.

<< PREVIOUS Video 1: Introduction to MOOC

If you are are reading this, you may already know that online courses can be bad, boring or both—just like real live classrooms.

Dark, creepy videos of stiff, backlit instructors and PowerPoints thrown up online do not automatically equal engaged students and mastery.

And—just as in any full-bodied, live classroom—presentation matters. Structure matters. Storytelling matters.

Being an authentic and qualified instructor matters—whether those "qualifications" are the results of a hard-earned PhD or year of learning on the streets.

Point being: Bad student experience, whether in the classroom or online, is no good--it is a waste of time, treasure and talent.

More important, for us educators and presenters, ignorance about how the brain learns is no excuse for creating useless online learning, even if it is massive, open or free.

Solution Sets

TED has collected a set of speaker videos around this topic of "re-imagining the classroom".

The presentations include the insanely highly popular 2005 thought piece by Sir Ken Robinson and that master of the digital chalkboard lesson, Salman Khan of Khan Academy.

Daphne Koeller and Peter Norvig of Standford and Coursera share data and insight from their truly massive experiment in free online courses across major universities.

So here are 5 best practices distilled from several of these top leaders in this new field of MOOCs.

5 Implementation Tips

So here is a very, very short list of what you can do….

1. Keep it Real. Talk to one person and make that a person who you like and want to help.

2. Assume Passion. that that person is here because they want what you have, which really comes down to knowledge and passion for your field.

3. The Brain Can Only Absorb as Long as the Butt Can Endure. Make it short, make it bite-sized and make it visual.

4. Use the Beginner's Mind. (Unlike an "expert", a beginner remembers what it is like to not understand.)

5. A Classroom is an Intersection. Communication needs to flow along two axis: peer-to-peer and learner to instructor. Allow engagement with the materials & provide some sort of feedback

So what have you tried?

- Have you taken any open courses or online training that you felt was stellar? - Have you produced and delivered online courses and experimented with these tools? - What has worked for you?

Add your nuggets of golden wisdom in the comments below.


1. TED Collection: Re-imagining School Total run time 2:48:11 2. MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses or Massive and Often Obtuse Courses by Lisa Chamberlin & Tracy Parish 3. Alphachimp's collection of MOOC articles on delicious

[alert style="white"] ChimpLearnGoodAlphachimp Learning Systems LLC works with firestarters, whizkids, restless geniuses & unreasonable people to explore new media, neuroscience, visual facilitation and the future of learning. @ChimpLearnGood[/alert]

Making a Mighty MOOC: Part 1 – An Introduction to Massive Open Online Courses

MOOC Title

Introduction to MOOCs

NEXT Video 2: 5 Tips for Making a Mighty MOOC >>

There is a giant leviathan creature lurking out there in the interweb ocean.

Fortunately, unlike all the other predatory phishes & West African princes looking for investment opportunities, this digital giant holds tremendous promise for both the rising tide of global talent and students drowning in debt. [Cue the theme music from JAWS.]


Inspired by a recent panel at the World Economy Forum on the future of education, this series of short videos is intended to spark a little conversation around Massive Open Online Courses. In the world of eLearning, the MOOC is the new 8 billion ton gorilla, promising to deliver education to the world.

Hence, "M" for Massive.

If my time in the purgatory of management consulting taught me anything, it is that any systemic problem has three basic elements: People, Processes and Technology.

Or, in more human language: "People doing stuff with things."

Technology, in the end, is anything that we (humans) designed to do a (specific) job.

Just because we have lots of technology, doesn't mean that the entire collage of technology is getting the big job done (think "public education" or "healthcare" or "Department of Motor Vehicles").

Same in this world of online learning.

All aspects of an online service are dependent upon many things working well: the user experience, communication skills, navigation, pacing of content, classic storytelling devices, ease of use, access, time, money, bandwidth, attention span, cognition, language proficiency…

Failure or "friction" in any of these areas can lead to a failure in transferring knowledge or skills online.

NEXT UP: 5 Tips for Making a Mighty MOOC


Davos Forum Considers Learning’s Next Wave by Alison Smale on

"A MOOC By Another Name" by Christina Hendricks

Three Kinds of MOOCs by Lisa M. Lane

Thinking about MOOCs: A Link Round-Up by Derek Bruff

MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses or Massive and Often Obtuse Courses? by Lisa Chamberlin & Tracy Parish

Follow the #MOOC discussion on Twitter

What is Your Experience? Comment below.

NEXT: Part 2 - 5 Tips to a Mighty MOOC

Connected: Trends in UI, Interaction & Experience Design

Want to glimpse over the horizon at the interconnected world where the boundaries between "device" and "surface" and "service" completely fade away? Watch this short film with designers, researchers and futurists from frog design, Kicker Studio, Twitter, Method, Stamen Design, The School of Visual Arts, Doblin, Malmö University, Nokia, Arduino and Microsoft. Details at

6th Davos Philanthropic Roundtable


Davos: 12-Year-Old Pakistani Prodigy Girl Talks About Her Online Learning

Khadijah Niazi of Lahore, Pakistan, is an inspirational example of how online education is revolutionizing learning. She was only 10 years old when she first took the Artificial Intelligence online course on Udacity. She managed to finish the course and, the following year, Khadijah completed Udacity’s Physics course with highest distinction, being the youngest ever girl to complete it.

Now, Khadijah is 12-years old, and earlier this month she sat next to Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Summers of Harvard, Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times, and other panelists at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation’s 6th Philanthropic Roundtable, which took place at Davos in conjunction with the World Economic Forum. The discussion aims to show how MOOCs are finding their way to young prodigies around the world and how they are potentially changing the game in educational access.


Stop Stealing Dreams: Seth Godin on Education


"Are we asking our kids how to connect the dots...or collect the dots?"

[leadplayer_vid id="50CA86580CAAB"]

Author Seth Godin speaks at TEDxYouth@BFS at the awesome Brooklyn Free School!

We need to ask the question: "What is school for?"

Godin imagines a different set of goals and start a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we've been doing, we're going to keep getting what we've been getting. Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

Get Seth Godin's "Stop Stealing Dreams" 30,000 word manifesto [button url="" target="_self" style="red" position="left"]DOWNLOAD[/button]

(via Garr Reynolds at )