Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Tech Tip: Sketchnotes! A(nother) Strategy for Purposeful Note-taking

The conversation around whether or not digital note-taking is as effective as handwriting notes is coming up more frequently in education as schools are adding more technology to the classrooms. Teachers are trying to find the right balance and make sure students are learning the skills they'll need to be most successful in the future, one of those skills being note-taking. One alternative surfacing can be done either way (paper or device) and doesn't involve any frantic note-taking or typing. The alternative? Sketchnotes. 

Sketchnote School by Kevin Thorn
What are Sketchnotes?
According to the Sketchnote Army, they are purposeful doodling while listening to something interesting. Sketchnotes don't require high drawing skills, but do require a skill to visually synthesize and summarize via shapes, connectors, and text. Sketchnotes are as much a method of note taking as they are a form of creative expression.

How does it work?
While students are listening their brains are simultaneously processing the information, synthesizing and encoding pertinent information into the drawing they are creating. Professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M University, William Klemm, says the process is similar to that of a zip file.“This is a way to get your working memory to carry more,” Klemm said. With only a glance, a teacher can tell whether or not the student has gleaned the most important parts of the lesson, or if they got hung up on something different, or if there are any gaps in their learning. The drawing will tell the story. 

Why Sketchnotes?
Well, why not? We already know that the more times students interact or encounter a piece of learning the more likely they are to remember it. By drawing their notes, they are basically creating a graphic organizer for someone else, which is in a sense teaching them what they're learning. And we all know what happens when you teach someone else something...

Visual Note-Taking from Jackie Gerstein
Who should Sketchnote?
EVERYONE. Teachers, administrators, and especially students can use this method of taking notes for virtually any topic. Want to try a few yourself? Check out the lessons from BrainDoodles; they will walk you through some of the basics and get you started. Want to hear what it's like from the student perspective? Check out this video of 5th graders explaining sketchnotes! Wondering what this would like like as a final for a class? Look no further than Laurence Musgrove's blog. Want to try this TODAY? Grab some paper (white or digital), and start this TED video from Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do. The title already gives students an idea that there will be 5 basic sections, but just like with real-time, face-to-face lectures, there could always be a side note or something else worth capturing! Have students draw each of the 5 things from his story and see what they come up with!

As with everything, practice makes perfect. But in the case of sketchnoting, the "perfect" refers to the format and style of notes that you will help you remember the information, NOT the artwork. 

Want more? Here are some resources: 
Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick
Kathy Shrock's Guide to Sketchnotes in the Classroom <--SO MANY LINKS

Let us know (CCSD Office of Instructional Technology) if you're going to do some sketchnoting in your classroom! Or share it with us on Twitter (@CCSDTechCO or #CCSDTech). Happy Sketching!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool, I am going to try more doodling. But yours are so good.