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Remote Visual Collaboration: Webinar Recap

Written by 
Ole Qvist-Sørensen
Jeff Eyet
May 11, 2020

Ole Qvist-Sørensen, co-author of Visual Collaboration, and process illustrator Sophie Lind Mesterton joined MURAL consultant Jeff Eyet to share tips and tricks on using visualization in online classroom settings.

Their strategy cites the benefits obtained through visual learning, and the alignment and engagement necessary to connect with students. Using MURAL, Ole shared a theoretical method and approach that can enhance any remote lesson and showcased how a visual template and a handful of icons can be used by any educator to focus student collaboration. While presenting and sketching, Sofie created illustrations based on the input from participants. 

The method and visual tools presented can be explored in the book "Visual Collaboration” and are taught online at Visual Collaboration Academy.


🏗 Download a free copy of the 5 Building Blocks visual tools.

📚 Purchase Visual Collaboration and get a free e-booklet with 200 icons. (Email your receipt to

👥 Join Bigger Picture Academy and use coupon MURAL2 to get 50% off select video courses.

👥 If you are an educator you can get 50% rebate on one of these 5 x 2½ hour LIVE trainings: 

  • Team 1: Course starts May 11th @ 9.30 am CET - read more here. 2 tickets available. 
  • Team 2: Course starts May 11th @ 5.30 pm CET - read more here. 2 tickets available. 

How - Send an email to if you are interested (tickets are limited).  

👀 Access the MURAL template here:


📹 View the webinar recording here:



[00:00:00] Jeff Eyet: Well. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Uh, my name is Jeff Eyet. I'm a teacher at, uh, I'm a lecturer at, uh, UC Berkeley Haas design thinking and a consultant to MURAL in the, uh, education space. And, uh, along with my colleague Ward Bullard, who leads our education effort here at MURAL. Uh, we are very excited to introduce, uh, Ole Sørensen and his colleague, Sophie.

Um, Ole is an accomplished facilitator, speaker, and overall a MURAL power user, I think for lack of a better term. Who among other things as speaks to a real need that we've uncovered or has been brought to us by the education community. And that is, you know, taking MURAL from simply a, a space to collect some post it notes to.

Creating a journey for your students and, and livening up that journey with visual effects and, um, really helping them elevate their in class experience and also give [00:01:00] them deeper understandings of the process, um, as we move through. Um, so with that, we want to get started and, uh, I will turn, Ward and I are again, welcome Ole and Sophie to the floor. Ole. Take it away. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Thank you very much Jeff, and, and, uh, we're very excited to be here. We've prepared a little bit of a, uh, a journey and it's outlined here in front of you. Um, we'll try to do it in a way that's, uh, inviting in as many comments as possible. And I'll be driving the, a little bit of the presentation and some of the tools.

I think we've been advocating for on the webinar page, and Sophie will be joining in to, um, to support with, uh, some visual thinking as we go along. So also, uh, welcome to, uh, Sophie and, uh, let's just get going with seeing this, uh, picture that you have in front of you. We have a, um, we've [00:02:00] thought of, of calling the purpose of this webinar as we learn to use visual language, and tools in your next class. So really imagining that you're very soon going to be in class and this is suppose supposedly going to help you add a value just out of that. And, um, it's not about drawing. Uh, we'll give you some tips and tricks in terms of how you can use, uh, visualization in Euro, um, to get, uh, either messages across or involving your students in the class session, in the remote class session. We're in the introduction, uh, right here. And then I'll give a presentation of a systemic approach to this collaboration, which is a little bit of background for what we're doing in, in bigger picture. And after that, we'll jump in and invite you in to create a visual language for your next class with a method that we'll present.

And then we'll go into a, um, using a template to [00:03:00] structure your next class. So we will invite you into a space that we think could be a value, um, for a class of about 25 people. Then there's a Q and A in the end and we have a wrap up and some freebies that we'd like to talk to if you want to learn more of the different possibilities that there are with visual collaboration at the end.

New ideas. Hopefully we arrive with objective, uh, new ideas of, um, for how to use visuals in Euro, in class. And then you could hopefully walk away with 10 icons that you can draw on your own or that you can use that's in, in this space that we've created. So I think, uh, Jeff, uh, Sophie, is there anything I need to add to that.

Jeff Eyet: No, I think it's fantastic and I really want to lift up the power of your icons and having, um, incorporated them into them, into my work as well. It just, it absolutely humanizes it. Um, it, it gives students a, a bridge from where they sit into the [00:04:00] work and, um, we're very grateful that you'd be sharing that with us today.

So, uh, we appreciate you leading artists and non-artists alike. Uh, as Picasso said, we're all born artists. The challenge is to remain as we grow old. So, uh, I'm eager to follow your journey. I've got my, I've got my sketch, I've got my sketch paper ready to go. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. So two more words. Let's just say that if everybody has a sketch note nearby or a tablet like I have here.

Then you're most welcome to join us when we get to that. And my background for, for everything you'll see today is, is adult learning, organizational learning. And it's really good to also have Sophie with us and Sophie, just what will you be doing and is there, what's your background for, uh, for working, uh, visually here?

Jeff Eyet: And while Sophie's unmuting, just yes, we are recording the webinar and we'll make that available to you. 

Sophie Mesterton: So, yes, thank you. I'm, [00:05:00] for, from the Danish school of design, and I've been working with drawing in many different ways, uh, and always using drawings and visualizations to. Tell other people what we talk about and what we, what we mean.

And, uh, and that's also what I'm going to do today. So I will be drawing your words later on and trying to get this visual thinking started with you. So that's my role. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: And while Jeff is drawing on paper, I'm drawing on iPad. What are you doing on?

Sophie Mesterton: I'm drawing on a Cintiq and that's a, using the MURAL app I control on a sentence that's a, like you can draw directly on the screen with this one and let's make it really easy and fast to put in the drawing starting in MURAL, so that's what I'm using.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. So, um, Jeff, you'll help us keep the time. So we will arrive at where, where we [00:06:00] need to be. 

Jeff Eyet: I will, absolutely. There's a, there's 106 of us following, following along. So let's, uh, let's, let's move along. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay, let's jump into it. So this is for all the educators out in the world where, who, who need to, we know, catalyze great learning.

Also in the time where we are right now, where most of it is happening online. So. The first part that we'd like to speak to is a big gap that we see as educators and facilitators and trainers. So on the, on the left side of this gap, there's a situation in most teaching situations, but also outside in the workplace where there's lack of alignment, a lot of information.

And that gap need leads over to a space we really like to be with. There's engagement, there's system thinking system understanding. There's alignment and a shared language that happens to collapse the time for action or understanding and learning. So how can we bridge that gap and how do we manage that and that demands. That's not only for remote meetings or remote [00:07:00] teaching isn't really also in any meeting usually. Um, but we've tried to look into how visuals could help and how you could, by building a visual language, you can help bridging that gap. And those were looking for bridging the gap. And when we focus in on educators on the left side, you see, while it's, it's any teacher sitting in a room with other teachers.

Is there any, as you see in the middle, it's any educator, but it's also the students. Any learner would like to go to that right side of this, of this gap. So many people are, don't consider themselves to be visual in any way. Uh, some of us did in school draw, but that then came sort of was, went out the door as, as we went along, uh, into further education, but also into work.

Um, so we've, we've been in the field of visual facilitation and graphic, uh, facilitation for over 20 years, and that has approached, has then led into, uh, visuals becoming a [00:08:00] more integrated part of education. And we wrote a book to help as many as possible. Work visually collaborate visually. So the book is called visual collaboration.

And the foundation of this book is the theoretical system theory with the Nicholas lumen. And, uh, some about, uh, some system thinking theory from, uh, Peter Sankey that gives you the idea of, um, gives you the way to talk about learning as something that's different. From individual learning. So we call that group learning.

So what's the difference between individual and group learning? And by having a way of talking about group learning, you enter this, uh, the conversation around communication and making communication visible. So the idea of a visual learning arena that you put into every learning space where the communication is mapped with artifacts in a systematic and structured way up on the walls helps everybody [00:09:00] arrive.

At the learning space, learn in 3D and have mental models for this way of working. Now that we call system visualization. And the great thing about having moved remote and think about remote teaching and remote learning is, is even though you think of a 3d in the bottom here. And then when we move remote and we sit apart, we still need that scared mental model.

Let's share it. Space where the online whiteboards that exist out there, they, they get, they do that job very well and as you'll see later in this webinar. We try to create that learning space, that visual learning arena in a digital space. So before I go into the blocks and the method Jeff, uh, any, any thoughts on this?

Because I, I was fortunate to just join one of your sessions and I've been kept, keep thinking about that session, about this design thinking and how you use different tools to, to create [00:10:00] spaces for the students to jump on board into that. 

Jeff Eyet: Yeah, thanks. Well, it was, again, thank you for joining my class at Haas.

It's the, this is just one of the biggest challenges we faced because design thinking is we taught it was a highly analog, uh, activity. You're filling out PostIt notes, you're putting them on the walls. It's very interactive. Uh, you know, there's a social element to it, as long as it, as well as a visual element.

And with the, uh, with post-its out of the question, when we're quarantine, um, how do we, how do we recreate that but not just recreate it, but actually elevate it. And the concept of putting this immediately into the digital, um, on MURAL and allowing students to. Interact at different times. And then when they come together, that conversation in the zoom breakout room is about the MURAL and, and life.

It just made those conversations much richer and gave them much greater depth. So, um, I love your concept of making this [00:11:00] a visual and helping people see the bigger picture, or as we say in design thinking, the wicked problem that exists. But a visual is a great language. And so it's a, it's a great match.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. Because in a way, as many my, uh, who's, who's participating might think, I consider it like there's nothing new necessarily about this way of working. It's just that it seems like it's, it's catching on in so many different ways to work visually and to use different artifacts both online and offline.

So I think the, the, the part that we try to do so that more of those, we have been training for the last 15 years. They can jump into this of working visually without necessarily thinking of themselves as artists or illustrators. It does help, but it's not necessary. So we, we, the Booker has a method that builds on this systemic, uh, visualization systems, visualization, and these five building blocks are [00:12:00] those we walk you through.

And that we also speak to in the, in the, a little bit later in the webinar, and it's, it's. As you can see, it's discover of visual language. So you actually understand, you have a visual language for your teaching or for any class, any subject you teach, it's to design your training process or the collaboration process.

If it's a meeting and then it's to make sure that you design and formulate words. Sorry, questions. Like pearls on a thread that make up your training, whether it's a one hour training like you did or a three hour training or a two day thing where you meet online often on like what are the questions that people have to discover their own answers to as they go along.

And when you then move to the fourth building block, you designed templates, engage in templates that can help any conversation. And that's where I saw in your class, you did a grid where people were mapping in a cross grid, but there are many different kinds of templates. You can decide the science so that people can actually jump in and work around [00:13:00] something.

Online in a visual way where others can easily follow and focus that have a focused conversation about a given topic. For each of these five blocks. We've then said, well, if you want to work in a physical space, well that's the learning arena. If you want to work visually, then we've made five templates that follow each of the five building blocks.

I won't go into depth with that, but the, the main idea at this is just to have that, you know, that's the, that's the idea, and that's the. That's the main, uh, outset that we, we bring to the table. And that's how we, now we'll go into talking about what, so how is this relevant for teaching? Um, using visual collaborations as an educator?

And, um, the first thing is, of course, well, why don't we sit and just get this drawing going and, and we do like a little exercise. So I'm going to do it and I'm going to invite Ward and Jeff and, uh, Sophie, of course, to jump on. I'll do it on my iPad. And if everybody who would like to [00:14:00] join in, it's. We believe that on a whiteboard digital or in the physical room, if you can draw all these different, um, shapes then you have the basic building blocks that our mind actually combines into words and language. So the example is, of course, that smiley of different, um, different looks. Can communicate a lot and using that, then you can actually draw a quite, quite a bit. 

Jeff Eyet: Yeah, I think it's  interesting, Ole, as you're sketching those out, which is really cool.

It's one of the challenges that I find is that people want to tackle them. And when I say people, I mean students, want to tackle the problem in one bite. And, and it's, uh, the systems thinking forces you to break it down into its components, which is why I really appreciate you talking about establishing a language and questions before you move, before you get into any sort of practical application [00:15:00] and you're, you're just, even drawing forces us to break things down into smaller parts and understand how they amalgamate into that bigger hole.

So it's just a nice meta, uh, analogy of how breaking apart a problem can help and how breaking apart a drawing can help. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Well that's good. Um, now the, the good thing is we, we are, uh, Sophie and I, we're both from, from Denmark and then Denmark. We have Legos. So we've been brought up with the Lego and this idea that you have one brick and you have a model that you put in a box, and then you, with all these bricks you can, you can build one model, but then you can take it apart and then put it together for your own game play.

So I think we liked that analogy as, as a way to think about these visual building blocks. Um, so, so the first part is draw simple because that's all you need. And then we, we've, we've said that if you draw these elements, so you draw people and uh, so you draw a circle and then you do a, a couple of arms, you could do a split stick figure as well.

It doesn't really matter, but the star figure, [00:16:00] which is, uh, made like this, and anybody who wants, please follow. You, you can draw people and they're important in a drawing. Um, you also need in a drawing to quickly get to drawing place. Where does things happen as people, students want to see themselves in the picture and also where are we in time and place?

Now that element leads to the next one, which is you do want as a teacher or in anything that has to do with people want to do a process. So drawing an arrow is helpful. Then you can tell how things happen. And drawing a speech bubble or a thought cloud helps you to communicate what is actually happening in the minds of people, your students, what are they, what are they thinking or saying or feeling?

Um, and the last one I'll just say is that you'd have to, of course, write stuff you have to do, use different effects. And if, if you as a teacher out there listening into this [00:17:00] webinar, control these things and can add just a little bit of a effects like this or shade like this, then you're very well off.

So, and now he can see a ward is his drawing as well. And I'm, I'm going through and Jeff is there as well. So Jeff and Ward, I'm going to, uh, praise you for jumping all in, but, but I'm also going to erase you a little bit now because I need the space. So, so, uh, this is not to be, cause I need, I need everybody to draw a little bit of a putting it together, like we talked about before with legal.

Is that okay? But also you, I'm your pupil. Absolutely. Okay. I still, I still see your sign, so I'm going to ask you, can you erase the sign because I'm not, I'm not able to put the sign out from my computer somehow. You're very welcome to have a heart. Yeah, put it up there. That would be great. So as we draw along in it, the great thing is that the teacher can stand on a [00:18:00] whiteboard in a physical room, and then nobody will really go up there.

But here in the digital space, everybody can draw on the same. So at the right time and place, that's really helpful. So we'll get to that. So Ward and Jeff. You'll have a, in a, in a five minutes time, you can draw as much as you want. What I want to do right now is draw a template that we think you could use already next week.

And, um, it's, it goes like this. So you do a, you do a gap and a, you do, you do a couple of people, which are your students, uh, on the one side, and you do the same on the other side. And then you have two sets of people standing at, and here's a sign post where you indicate place. So you have someone at a, um, and then you have someone at B, oops.

And there's then a, let's make it red. [00:19:00] Uh, arrow that goes across. So by, by using these very basic shapes, you can say we are somewhere at eight, we want to go to B. And there's a gap. We need to overcome our challenge we need to overcome. And we do that by these solutions. So if everybody out there on their own can draw this, then we're, you already have a template.

But we now would like to populate with more language that's relevant for teaching. And that means that now we're going to ask anybody, everybody who's listening in. To think of your education situation. Let's, let's take the part where the students have a task or an assignment or a project that needs to hand in.

At some point, you could ask them to try to formulate now, um, please, as a group or as a project group or as an individual. But let's say a project group before a where you are right now with your assignment, what characterizes where you are right now. And then when you're done with your assignment, where you need to be in a month or so, what, what characterizes that situation and then what's [00:20:00] preventing you or what's here in the, in the gap, what's the challenge?

What does that look like? What, what is it. And if you were to do a couple of steps that gives you the solution to cross the gap and enter that space where you need to be, what would be three things that you could put there? So this is a drawing we think works very well in most situations, and you can show that gap analysis and put it on a poster and then give it out to the students online or in face to face meeting and they can then work our way.

But we would like to say if you were to draw more than just the gap we've done here, what words, what would you be need? What words would you need a visual language for? So what could we populate this drawing with so that it would there be some they need to draw what it feels like or how they are on the left side.

What would be words that they could say what characterizes us? And also on the right side, what would the words that characterize it and what are some of the words that characterize it. The challenges and the solution. So [00:21:00] please in the chat, right, as many one, one word, words, we've had that that could go on the left side or on the right side.

And once that you get them, Jeff and Ward, that you see if people are coming out. Totally. 

Jeff Eyet: Yeah. So please, what are you going from to, so from value, value, risk, innovation, from confusion to Eureka. Um, anger, anxiety. Certainly if there's ever a time when the disruption is the norm and it allows us to bring elements like this.

And I, I hate to say this, but I'm just going to speak from experience that a sketching is a little bit against the status quo and if there's ever a chance to upend that, it's now, um, from uncertainty, from need to concept, that this feeling of accomplishment moving from fear to confidence. Uh, another uncertainty from frustrated to satisfied, um, from problem to [00:22:00] solution, from unclear to communicating.

From diversity to shared understanding, confusion to clarity. Disconnected to connected. Are ya keeping up with this, Ole? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Yeah. I think we are. Sophie is getting...

Jeff Eyet: Well, this is how fast MURAL moves, uh, unfeasible to feasible from solo to community. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. They just sometimes need to get the spelling right. 

Jeff Eyet: That's all right.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: The biggest thing with educators like that, that's, that's not a, that's a no go. 

Jeff Eyet: So yeah, maybe I'm a bad educator then cause I'd let it slide, um, yeah. From a, from a mess to value. Um, and just, uh, while you're putting those in, a question that came in on the Q and a that I'll just speak to is. So what, what you would do is maybe if you would set up a space, uh, in MURAL as a template, and then as you [00:23:00] break students into breakout rooms on zoom, um, you would assign each student their own MURAL board and you could make that MURAL populate that MURAL board with templates that give you, um.

You know, give the students some of these, uh, artifacts already in place and allow them to fill in around the blank. So, uh, Thomas, that's a great question. Thank you. And we'll definitely, probably a course more for our virtual teachers lounges, which we host on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. And if you go to, you can find those in and register for a future event and, uh, they're more intimate and we'll be happy to dive into that.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Can you, can we say that if people have now all the words that are there, if give a couple of, if anybody has, what would be solutions that students would probably have that we could put help here on the red arrow? Like what would be, what would be some of the things that takes them across that gap? Any words coming in?

[00:24:00] Jeff Eyet: Yeah. Collaboration. Um, knowledge, insight, resources. Empathy, communication, a common language. 

I love that one. And a feel of fear and do it anyway.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. 

Jeff Eyet: Time optimism and focus.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Okay. Oh, that was a...

Okay. Good. So let's move on. So I think everybody got the, hopefully got the main, uh, the main idea. What we did was we did a little bit of cheating, uh, and said that down here at the bottom, uh, we put up some words that maybe, maybe those were, and we put the icons up. So I'm just going to zoom in and we categorize them on the left [00:25:00] to looking glass a compass.

Students and teacher with a highlight of the students. Um, now Jeff, do I need to zoom more in or is this, 

Jeff Eyet: If you don't mind, it's a little, they're a little small. Some of us have a old eyes

I love the empowerment call Rob. Good job. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: And if you want to, those are like, that's an optics to the left students and teachers of course, people. And then you have lab. That's a couple of places. And then you have some processes is selecting or analyzing or presenting. Uh, and there's something about confusion and then multitasking.

So the idea is that these words that everybody has is like, how do we come up with visuals? So it's not just words, but we can take, we can take some of these and we could go. Interesting. Um, so it's like, it could be that we need to go towards I a situation here where the, the, the, the way across is, uh, [00:26:00] that you need to select.

Then you need to analyze. Uh, to cross the gap as a student. And then you need to present if it's your, you know, if it, if it's an assignment. So I took the Liberty to, to think of 'em a situation where, where the, the student is standing in and on the left side and confusions. So you haven't, you have a visualization of confusion and you have a visualization.

On the other hand, they want to reach a level of multitasking. Um, now the, the, the solutions are a little bit you for handing in your, your assignment is you select the one, you analyze and then you present and then you're, you're out there. So it was just as an example. But what we see when people have all the words, there's not that far.

If you have a method for creating a visual language for that. So we created a chapter in one of the buildings. Block is really a method for building a language. So you can have icons, those Lego breaks that you can then populate. In this, uh, in this way, in a, in a template. [00:27:00] And then use the visualization in Euro.

But also when you're meeting face to face, to get that language to Quicken, this the speed it takes to understand. And if teams and students do this together, it really works well. And if you as a teacher educator, have a vocabulary that you can. Draw on the board, the white board online or are, um, um, physically in, in, in physical space.

You have, you have an advantage of communicating clearly, even though it's not, it's, it's a, it's small, uh, like drawings, like the ones we did just before. 

Jeff Eyet: Yeah. If I could just very briefly, um, a couple of questions I just wanted to put together. Um, so someone was asking about the noun project as a way to find icons. On the left side of the murals of the screen, you'll see the star icon. And if you click on that, it pops out a little search engine where you can find some, uh, some icons. Ole's pulled them out. So [00:28:00] you have those that exist. Um, but what I would also focus on is the, the icons that Ole's brought in.

Um, you know, those are hand drawn by himself and Sophie, and then they upload them as images, I believe. Is that right Ole? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Yeah. 

Jeff Eyet: How do you get your drawings onto your MURAL board? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Well, I think, uh, Sophie and I, we in, in, in bigger patients, we work in the way we, we constantly develop visual language. So we sketch and draw and we pick out the ones that seem to work well.

And then, uh, in a, in a, in a way, their first very rough sketches and then these ones Sophie has, has made in the final version, but still in a way that most people can copy them. And that's, that's, that's the idea that we think. We really want to get across is that you as an educator or your students, they can get icons and, and I really liked the icons because you can, you can pull them in from the, from those databases, both the noun project and something called icon you can get all these icons [00:29:00] and you can search on Google and then you can get stuff.

But there's a thing about you as the teacher or the students with their own projects. They start thinking that they have their own visual language and we are experiences at anytime you dig into what does that word mean for you in your context and could use through all your language? There's so much of knowledge.

Focused and pulled together in one icon that it becomes a way of working that's tenfold the power of an icon you pull in, but doing both is valuable, but our mission is to teach people this new language and use it more because it's personal and it's authentic and it, and it helps you actually narrow.

What is it that we mean? And icons can mean thousand things for various people, but your icons are part of your visual language and that can help your teaching and it can help the students also figure out their own way of. Getting content content up on the board. But so, um, we, we'd like to go move in, [00:30:00] so to make sure we have time for, for a Q and more Q.

And a. What we want to show you the template that we're inviting everybody to think in. And now I'm assuming out to a, a, a quite a big picture. I think. So everybody we, we've moved up out from our book to the methods of drawing together, and this is now a MURAL in Euro that we have designed for a class alignment session.

Just like I talked about before, we think that maybe this could be something you can use in class next week or in the 14 days. Like you have an agenda to the left. This is the one. You have a purpose with your session, and there's a couple of steps in this session. There is, what's the purpose of your training?

Fill that in the blue spot. You can have an introduction, a checkin, a strategy, a break. Of course. Individual exercise and debrief and a wrap up. And then you have a objective of a session like this. You can put in anything you want for your session, but [00:31:00] we've made this one be about team alignment or our group alignment.

And if they're working remote, the situation shows that they're remote. The participant could be five groups of five. It could also just be nine, depending on your class. So think of it as a modular and something you can fit. So your, your, um. Yeah. Your training, if I assume out, again, it's like the whole path is the path of your learning and those are your students walking along the path of your teaching and at any point of time you can ask any students to put a posted note with their current thinking.

Right now at the person here, where we are blue, what? Based on where we are just after the agenda or just after prison, what are you thinking right now? And then the students can all add their thoughts. Drawings or just text into that. Now, that element we have here that's called a check-in, is really to get the teams to check in on two questions you want them to reflect upon, and then they put posted notes.

You can see in different colors. But what I want to just end up with and just make sure that is, [00:32:00] is, is hopefully something that any educator can use is, is the strategy template that we just drew, but now, now it's defined so you can tell your students or you can tell anybody who's joining that. Here's the template, let's talk about your project or where you are in your project group right now.

In a minute you'll get this in your own team or individually and that you answer these four questions on your own or as a team and the four questions are written there. Then if you want to your students, we on the side here, we have a language and here are the icons that we did before. You could put them up that premade something you've prepared as a teacher either by pulling it from the non project.

Or by drawing them into yourself and you could spend some time mapping the words just like we did in the categories, things, people, places, processes and concept. Map a couple of the words and ask the students to go out in groups and try to make icons for the words they think they need when they're to explain where they are right now with their [00:33:00] project, where they want to go, what they're facing of challenges, and what solutions they might.

Alright. What icons would you need to support you in communicating that. Now, 

Jeff Eyet: If I could just jump in real quick, Ole. You know, one of the challenges that this totally speaks to is in my class, uh, we're at the prototyping phase. And when, you know, prototyping and design thinking is typically a very hands on.

You're building a physical prototype and we just don't have the collaboration ability at this moment. Uh, for that. But, uh, so we're actually introducing a lot of storyboarding and user journeys as part of the experimentation process and the prototyping process. And. To have the, the boards that have resonated the most with, with the classmates are the ones where they have done the drawings and then taken that Liberty to sketch it out.

So now more than ever as we moved away from PowerPoint and into this collaborative space is to take it a step further and just make that connection between the digital and the human through, [00:34:00] through drawing. So I really love that you're doing this and for the educators out there, it's a great prototype and process.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: And I'll just ask Sophie in a little bit. So just explain what this is doing right now. But, but, but, but it has to imagine that above where Sophie is now moving the posted notes around, that would be where we had these premade, uh, icons with the person, with the multitasking, because we think that could be helpful.

But it's always important to. Take the words that people have, the ones we heard this before, and also ask students already to start drawing their own. But Sophie, what have you just done with, uh, the, the blue ones you put in? 

Sophie Mesterton: Uh, that's just some quick examples of trying to visualize some of the words that you came up with.

Yeah. I've made so two different concepts. So two people, I put my hands together with [00:35:00] the paper and a computer and then some people holding it. Kind of this one piece of puzzle coming together when they collaborate. And then I have made the men mentoring. That's one person, like showing the way to another person.

And then I have the role empathy person holding a big heart, looking up and support at that. So one person holding two other persons and they're also making a high five and, and then inspiration could be looking up to a. A star and I could be like a metaphor for inspiration community. Yet a lot of people like holding hands in a circle and time is a watch and then focus is a person looking to something.

Here's, this is just a cross. Yeah, that's a quick [00:36:00] sketch.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: So just, just because one of the things that it takes time to work in Sophie is of course a supercharge to do this. But if you, if you noticed that, that all the icons are quite simple to draw. And if you go to some of the freebies that we have at the end, there are some methods that easy videos you can use to make those simple drawings.

And that's the key part. It doesn't need to be very complex. It's more important to make a couple of lines and then call it what you think it should be. That's a big step towards getting a visual language. It doesn't need to be very beautiful or very, you know it, it can, it can do and could do a lot just by a simple, simple drawings.

So I'll move on to the, the last part is to say, this is the invitation. So how might you, how might you use this in an exercise? Because now that you've, you've explained to your students this gap thing and you've, you've helped them do some visual language on their own in teams or individually, you [00:37:00] populate this with icons that they can then then use them the way they want.

And then you sent them out in teams. Here's mine teams, which each have their own color, uh, or, and this is nine students, but, and they then have maybe half an hour, or maybe they have two hours of a break to come up and finalize. Uh, they could have a lot of posted here, but then in the end, they can just have the essence of the before the after challenge and the solution.

And in this way, they can then present, uh, five minutes each or whatever you choose. And you have a richness in the understanding and the more they add, not just words, but they also add icons to this, the quicker you will see the depth and the thinking and the system understanding not only in each group, but then in each of a, as a, as a total of your class.

And the last part is that we, we moved to a, um. The debrief where, where now you've had the [00:38:00] introduction, the agenda, you talked, you gave a presentation maybe about how to do a grid assignment. And then you, you, uh, present the template and then you, the teams, they work with templates and present, and then you have a shared debrief where everybody puts up posted notes or drawings about their insights and learning and questions in order for them to move forward with their training or with their project or with their exam preparation or whatever it is.

And then at the end, you could do a checkout. Where the teams, in this case, there are nine or the individuals, they answer two questions with blue posted notes into this circle, similar that you could do in the beginning. And then people check out and you at the end, you wrap up and, and show that should be up here.

Uh, so you wrap up your session and, and pass it on. So now they can move forward with our assignment, for example, and you fill in with your posts or with your presentation slides. Uh, what you want to see at the end. And then really it's, it's, [00:39:00] it's, it's, it's like done, you assume out and then you, you have it all filled out.

And in a short amount of time, a lot of shared knowledge has been, uh, condensed, synthesized, and it, it, it stands out as a final, uh, notes that everybody can revisit again. 

Jeff Eyet: Thank you. Thank you, Ole. Brilliant. Brilliant. And what I would add very quickly is, um that a few like little tactics, the two tactics that really, well, three tactics that stuck out to me is one, you know, using the upper left corner, showing where you are in the process, and then creating that path through the middle where students can give feedback. I often use the example, um. That, uh, if I gave students a, an assignment to run a cash flow analysis in Excel, well, they already understand how to use Excel.

So they were just learning the cashflow piece and a lot of people, whether it's systems thinking, critical thinking, divergent thinking, you know, whatever you want to call it. The point being is [00:40:00] it's not a skill that's exercised every day. And when you apply that with the new medium such as Merle, there's learning curve and um, so on the a, that's why I like students being able to comment as they move through.

Um, a highlighted piece of MURAL that I would suggest is, uh, I think you, you obviously use very regularly, Ola, and just so that everyone understands how you moved around the board and so forth. On the right is this outline and you can highlight individual elements. Right click and then select add to outline.

And so Ole can click through that outline and it jumps him around the MURAL board. So it can almost feel like I'm, you know, moving through a PowerPoint, but he's moving around the board. And then also what you can do, um, if you can just show us a way with any of these, if you mouse over by those three buttons and show us the eyeball that comes up on the outline so that you can hide elements of your outline.

Um, so you know, again, if maybe you're running this. Uh, in a [00:41:00] workshop over a two day session or a morning and an afternoon, and you want to mute the afternoon so that they don't feel overwhelmed. Right? You can control at which pace. Um, all of this can be, um, offered. Cool. So, um. Real quick, this idea of a question comes in, you know, when you're doing this sort of exercise, Ole, what's the optimum number of students or attendees that if this was a corporate workshop, would you be bringing into a, a project like this? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: I, I think, uh, when I, I would say, uh, I would be happy with managing 25. Because teams of four to five, uh, works very well. Uh, and it doesn't give a lot of presentation when they need to report back. And with the zoom or other webinar tools, you can of course, get them out into groups.

I, I guess everybody now knows it would last two months, but, uh, but, uh, we [00:42:00] enjoy, this is a nine team thing as well. So, so that gives a, uh. Sort of a, a little group that gets together. Um, now we've, we've, we've been in involved with, we've been asked to do larger, uh, round table discussions where people sit in, uh, 25 groups of 10 people.

So it becomes very complex, but we still design for something like this to be managed. It's just needs. Like, we are in this call, we need a driver of the MURAL. We need a host. So that's you. And we need a visual support person. Plus we need the one to take care of and look into the chat. So all of that adds to the complexity.

And, and in terms of how, and when can you do this on your own as a teacher. Uh, and I've saw when in your session in Berkeley as well. You, you also have a big team of support students who know how to do it. And that's a learning in itself. So bringing in the students to help you do that when the class is big, I think is a really good thing to [00:43:00] consider.

Jeff Eyet: Thank you. Um, just a question for Sophie, if, if you don't mind. Um, some, one of the questions that came in Sophie was when these, uh, the gray backgrounds, uh, like around the check-in checkout and the journey path through the middle of the board. How did you draw those?

Sophie Mesterton: The gray ones? Yes. I draw the gray ones and the like, the bigger templates for this.

I draw them in Photoshop and then I, I saved them as P. And. G. Then they can have like a transparent background. So you can put them on everything and every color you can put, yeah, you can make the MURAL and every color and then they will just fit on top of it. And you can just see the gray. 

Jeff Eyet: That's a really nice, you're talking PhD level MURAL there.

Did you upload them as, as images that you locked, or is it a template that you created and then you just repurpose the template? How did that work? 

[00:44:00] Sophie Mesterton: Uh, we have actually done both. So actually I have all the parts, so, so you can move them around. And then I also have made this one then. Then this is a complete template.

So each, like the whole chicken is a template where where the Mandela and all the small people and everything is, is one drawing. So you cannot move that around. But we also have made a, another one where you can move everything around. So that's again, you can choose how much like free freedom you want.

Jeff Eyet: Yeah, I think that's what it's based on. Brett, specifically to your question, is this idea of freedom. I totally agree. Um, and, and then, uh, if, if, if it, because one of the questions that's coming up is, and I know we can talk so much about this as the investment of time that teachers are making, and that's not a.

That's, without question, the amount of prep time and it has gotten that [00:45:00] is that all educators have given this semester is incredible. Um, if we're taking the time to draw these icons and bring them in here in MURAL, um, or how do you get them out if you ever wanted to take them back into PowerPoint. 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Um, well, the, the ones that we have made just now that Sophie made on the blue post it notes and the ones we made when we were drawing the ones you make, you can, you can copy and paste that from neural out into a PowerPoint just by copy pasting, right?

You can grab them with a snippet tool. That's another way of doing it. Um, and, and, and then you, you start building it back, moving it back and forth, just like you can take a PowerPoint slide and move it right in, and it'll still, when you swim in and out, it will still be sharp. I just want to say something about this, uh, and we can get to that because I sent you the, the, the link and it's everybody who's watching is this MURAL is available with [00:46:00] a link.

So if you are, if you do use MURAL already. There's a link that will be posted in the chat or on the followup web webinar page where all of these, where you can go in right in this one and write your own thing. With regards to the templates, there's five, four templates in this, in this MURAL that we see here, and they are easy to use.

They're just cleaned. You can take them and you can clean them for content. You can add your own questions, and that's the agenda to the left. It's the flower or the Mandela, and then it's the strategy template. That. Those are the three most obvious ones. But if you, if you D unlock all the stuff in this one, there'll also be the template with the path.

So that's a very basic template. So, so this will be a available for anybody who wants to use it and you can use, and you can pick that template and take it out and use it in another setting. And so that's speaking a little bit to the time it will take is once you jump into this and you create your own visual language and you start building your own templates.

It's our [00:47:00] experience that you will move faster as you go along because usually you will use this for teaching that you do again and again and again, and you'll figure it out as you go. Which of these things are valuable for others too? To use your students, so they will respond positively and then you move into that.

But as teachers, we, we've worked with a lot of teachers and they are really good. I would say everybody out there is really good at engaging the students and creating something that's valuable for them. And I can, when we moved to the takeaways, there's definitely these things that you can, you can invite your students to already now build a visual language for the topics that you are creating.

And that can then, as posted notes, you the app of the MURAL. You can take those photos of post-its in real life on the table that they're doing at home and just add them in by photograph or by the app as a scan. So all of these things become possible, but of course it does take time. And is it worth the investment?

Well, it depends on how much do you want to up the [00:48:00] engagement and want to create something different in your learning session when it's online. And then it's also when you meet physically. Again, we've, we, we've come to understand that this is the tapestry we think would be valuable for everybody to then have as a shared reference point rather than documents, all kinds of places, because you can link to everything through the MURAL.

Jeff Eyet: Yeah. And that one that was a great point, Ole. Thanks for answering that. And I think that another thing that comes up often is students want to know how they're going to be graded on MURAL, or how do you as an educator actually move some of your work or some of the grading onto MURAL. Um, it's very easy to just kind of grade participation by MURAL.

But, uh, another thing you can do is in the upper right corner where you see export, um, you can have the students export their MURAL as PDFs. And then just upload those to canvas and um, you can review them at that point. I think the one, the one thing, thank you Ole. The, the one thing that MURAL doesn't do is allow you to say, ah, what did my board look like at five o'clock on, on [00:49:00] Friday?

And you know, you can't go back in time, so to speak. Um, in that respect. Um, Ole, Rob has a question and saying kind of like develop just more broadly developing a visual language with students. Um, is it something to kind of come in with preplanned or do you just draw them as needed? What's, how do you integrate the two, maybe for someone who hasn't had as much experience with using a visual language in class.

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: Well, the first thing I would say to whether it's a teacher or a trainer or workshop designer and facilitator, um, a host of anything is it's you already now know some slides that you use again and again. You know your topics, you know those icons that you would pull out. And if you try to make them in hand, it will stand out when they do it on a flip chart, but it also be something you can add into your MURAL.

So what we're creating in Euro, but also in our databases are these all these icons we use again and again, and we tag them with words. So I'll go to the, I'll just go to the last [00:50:00] slide and talk to the, the, the part about the tools because we, we have the two, I'm just going to point to it here, uh, with, uh, with, uh, with this thumb, it's the tool that we have here is a, it's a tool for making icons.

The one that Sophie and I just used a little bit. So if you, you, you can, you can ask students to put up a poster like that in your role and then start using it. Just like you can start using the other templates too, to actually go and have, um, go and use it for, for preparing and some of them. But you don't need to be visual at all.

But it's the small steps is take the first 10 words you need an icon for. And then make them and then use them. Really just think of it as a, as an icon you could pull out of the non project icons or other places who made it hand drawn. That will be the icons that the students will remember you for. And then you expand and say, now we are ready to do, let's do 50 icons.

If you have a class you meet with again and again over a year, it's like, let's have a wall [00:51:00] somewhere where we. Gather our key concepts we're going to learn and anybody who has an idea of an icon, put it in. I put it up there and then at some point we, we curated that space and see which of the icons bubble up to the top and the you will buy by the end of a year or end of a three week curriculum.

You might have enough visual language that then becomes your material for the next, but it's a journey and you of course. Like, I'm learning French at the moment. I need, I need a new language. I have to, I have to start with the basic. That helps me survive the shop experience and so on. 

Jeff Eyet: Yeah. Very nice.

Thank you. Um, and just to be clear, um, we will be sending out the, uh. For, for students to get access to the, or the attendees to get access to any of these, um, are you, will you send them out in a followup email, is that right away or do you, or is there a website that they should be visiting? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: I think, uh, the icons that are in here [00:52:00] now, and I just, I'm, um, I think you have, uh, you have the link to this one.


Jeff Eyet: Good. So we'll coordinate and we'll be sure to get these off. Uh, get these either directly through email. Um, and, and one thing to lift up Ole is, again, just the book is a great place to join to sort of have a, to join this movement as a desk reference, uh, building on the book. Then obviously getting involved in your, in your online classes and giving a more direct.

A little more direct tutoring from you on how to include this. And thank you for the generous offer of a, of the discount code there. And, um, finally, what I'm going to do is I'm going to put my email in the, uh, in the chat and feel free to send me an email because a, thank you, uh, Ward Bullard. It's been very generous of you to offer a, a scholarship to one lucky student to one of all [00:53:00] ways, upcoming classes, uh, always going to be hosting a class. Um, I believe starting May 11th is that right Ole? 

Ole Qvist-Sørensen: May 11th and May, May 25th and I may I just say that if, if anybody wants, there's a lot of, there's some visual tutorials that are for free, which teaches everybody to draw these seven elements and even more.

And we have forced one invite everybody who wants to go to tthat Academy. Also to join some of the classes, one that you just mentioned, but also know that you can download the first chapter of the book. You can download all the nine tools that are in the book. It's for free on the site. That's our here and that will be on the followup page on the, on the, when the webinars is, the recording is up.

And then, and then, uh, I think we're going to do more of these. So, so figuring out what's most relevant, where would be most relevant. That would be great to hear. So we can figure out what would be a worthwhile webinar to do next time. 

Jeff Eyet: I am well, Ole, if it, if the pace of the [00:54:00] comments is any indication, uh, you will have quite a few requests coming in and, uh, Sophie, I hope you get at, you may be able to file for a hand massage or something cause you're gonna be doing a lot of drawing, uh, supporting Ole.

So yeah, many thanks coming in here from many schools across the country. Um, and around the world. So thank you Ole very deeply, um, for your time. Um, we'll leave this screen up here for folks to have a way to access you. Um, will condense this and send it out in an email next week with the webinar recording.

Um, Ward, any final thoughts to add as we, as we go? 

Ward Bullard: And thank you all for those that haven't already, and this is their first journey, uh, as part of MURAL for education, we do definitely want to make sure that everybody knows that MURAL for educators is free. And they, they can apply for a free membership at so we want everybody to know that [00:55:00] MURAL is not just importing, uh, uh, you know, great content from things like what Ole and Sophie have shared with us today.

But for educational institutions, we, uh. We want to make sure that teachers are enabled, uh, with, with this tool. So again, uh, please, uh, do that. I'll throw that into the chat. Um, and again, if there are other follow up questions to those that are nonprofits or other organizations, by all means, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.

I'm putting my chat also in, uh, my email address in the chat. Uh, so anybody that has specific questions about plans for nonprofits, uh. Uh, please reach out to me. But ultimately, I, and I want to conclude with a, a huge appreciation for Ole. Sophie, thank you so very much for your time and your dedication to this craft and that, again, uplifting all of our, uh, proverbial MURAL games, uh, with this, uh, set of tips and techniques.

I think in 59 minutes, we're all, uh, materially better off for it. So again, thank you both for, for, for [00:56:00] your time. 

Sophie Mesterton: Thank you.

About the author

About the authors

Ole Qvist-Sørensen

Founder / Visual facilitator
Ole has more than 15 years of international experience in facilitating and assisting leadership teams in cultivating a more visual way of working. He is the co-author of our book, Visual Collaboration.

Jeff Eyet

Jeff Eyet is a radical diverger who prototypes through stories and applies these passions as the co-founder of the Berkeley Innovation Group (big).