I just taught a workshop on sketchnoting at the ICE conference. Here’s the link to a folder containing my presentation and supporting materials, if you’re interested. Let me know, also, if you’d be interested in coming to “sketchnote camp” this summer – I’m thinking one morning a week for a couple of hours.
Tumble Science podcast for kids tells the stories of science discoveries. You can listen in your browser, or subscribe via iTunes.
The Jewish Education Project has a new website – and it’s packed! While some of their programs are specifically for the New York area, there’s much here that is of interest to other communities.
The Technology: Sketchnoting/ Paper
Taking notes by hand can often be more effective than typing them into a laptop or tablet. Similarly, sketchnoting, the act of drawing a visual story while listening to a speaker or reading a text, can also be an excellent way for students to remember and synthesize new information.
There are many apps that support sketching on a tablet, but my favorite is Paper.
It gives you basic, digital drawing tools like markers, pencils, and an eraser, and allows you to arrange your drawings into notebooks and easily organize your work. You can also integrate photos into your drawings.
After you have completed your sketchnotes, you can save them to the iPad’s camera roll, share them via email, or post them to social media.
Paper is free to download, but you will also need a stylus for your tablet. They can be purchased for as little as $6.00 on amazon.
In Your Classroom
Here are some more samples of my continuing quest to become a sketchnoter. While spending two weeks at an overnight camp is a departure from the typical sketchnote-worthy activity, I thought it would be a good place to practice. Still loving the process!
One of my goals for my time at the ISTE Conference was to practice sketchnoting on the iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil and the Paper app. I had a great time doing it! I found that I was significantly less distracted when sketchnoting than if I was typing into a word processor, and thoroughly engaged (even though I was internally debating over which color to shade the box and how large to make the title).
I also attended two great sketchnoting sessions. One was presented by Matt Miller and the other was a panel facilitated by Vicki Davis and featured Kathy Schrock, Sylvia Duckworth and Carrie Baughcum talking about how they got started sketchnoting, how they use it with their students, and about some favorite resources.
My first attempts at sketchnoting during the conference appear below, in reverse order. I feel like I can already see how I improved, and that was just in a couple of days. Check back for more attempts (sketchnoting at URJ Camp Newman, anyone?) and for my thoughts on how I’ll teach this to actual students this fall.
Sketchnoting in Education session:
Using Games, Play, Digital Media to Build Your Own Maker Culture session:
Matt Miller’s Sketchnotes: Tools and Tactics for Visual Notetaking Session:
Sketchnoting Exercise from Matt’s session:
Innovation and Tradition in Jewish Education Jewish Educators’ Network
Innovative Learning Spaces session:
I was fortunate enough, earlier this week, to attend the closing colloquium for the Teachers Institute I staffed this year. We combined with a second Institute – the Teachers Institute for the Arts, staffed by the fabulous Elyssa Moss Rabinowitz and David Moss of Kol Haot.
During the colloquium, Tim and Jenny from Creative Connections live sketched the event. They live sketched the opening workshop for the Teachers Institute for the Arts last summer, so the participants in that program were familiar with their work.
This just blew me away! This is very similar to sketchnoting, although it’s more a reporting than a processing of the information. I love it, though!
A few tips from Tim:
- Most text goes into containers
- Containers can “layer,” that is, appear to be under or over one another
- Use color
- Don’t use visual clichés
Watching Tim and Jenny work during the colloquium was fascinating, and made me want to pursue sketchnoting even more.
And speaking of pursuing sketchnoting more…
Sketchnote Army is a great resource if you’re looking to learn more about sketchnoting as is their new podcast. I listened to episode one on my commutes yesterday and today (I have a short drive!), and the info was just great!
I’m starting a new feature called “learn with me.” I realized that, more than anything else, I’m curious. About everything.
As a child, I was constantly reading. I remember not being able to eat breakfast unless the cereal box (now, there’s some fascinating literature) was sitting in front of me so I could read it. Of course, that was before the Internet. Now, I find myself eating dinner in front of the TV, with my iPad or phone in front of me. I realize that’s not what a nutritionist would suggest, but it’s perfect for a lifelong learner.
Anyway, whenever people ask me what I love most about my job, my answer typically is that there’s always something new to learn. I rarely do things the same way twice. In fact, the best part of repeating something you did before is figuring out how to improve on last year’s effort.
So one of the things I’ve been learning about is sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is essentially taking notes but doing it in an interesting visual manner; incorporating images (like icons), color and other diagramming tools. For instance, Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk accompanied by the RSA animation is a professional and incredibly powerful example of sketchnoting:
We will be getting a cart of iPad Pros next year with Apple Pencils, so I have been studying the whole sketchnoting field and figuring out how to teach it to my 7th and 8th grade students next year. Why sketchnoting on an iPad?
First, I figure the iPad app Paper will be a terrific way for the students to be able to combine sketching with using the iPad. Paper is a great app, and there are lots of ways that students will be able to use it. The advantage to using the iPad for sketchnoting is that electronic sketchnotes can easily be shared and tagged for reference.
Thoughts about teaching students to sketchnote:
The first is the “why.” I’ll start with why we take notes, and how studies are showing that taking notes using your hand is more effective than typing them.
The second will be to learn how to use Paper and the stylus. There are a number of terrific tutorials here. Then we’ll have the students create their own drawings using the app.
Next, we will work on learning how to actually sketchnote. This will be the tricky part – kids need to learn how to LISTEN and figure out what the important stuff is (which is why taking notes by hand rather than trying to just transcribe everything they hear). I think this will be the hard part, but certainly the most beneficial. There are several lessons plans online that incorporate sketchnoting:
I think it will be helpful to find some TED talks that are of interest to the specific grade level, and practice sketchnoting to those, before using them in an actual class. In fact – that’s what I’m doing to hone my sketchnoting skills.
The other thing that I’ll do with my students is have them develop their own library of images (ideas, important connections, for more information, etc.) and then put them on the side of a drawing (like a key). Then, they can use that drawing as a template for each of their subsequent sketchnotes. That way, they don’t have to figure out how to redraw an image over and over; they can just select and copy it to wherever they need it when they’re doing the actual sketchnote.
I’m excited to try sketchnoting! Stay tuned!