I have never considered myself to be artistic. In fact, I've won contests for "worst teacher whiteboard artist" at school--yes, indeed, I could not draw an octopus better than my colleague!
But I have been fascinated for some time with the idea of sketchnoting, not only for my own purposes, but as a learning strategy that currently remains untapped in my school.
So when NCCE 2018 featured renowned sketchnoter and Apple Distinguished Educator Sylvia Duckworth, I absolutely could not pass up the chance to learn from this innovative expert in the field. And learn I did! Through participating in partner drawing challenges, mystery icon activities, and banner and font practice, I realized that Sylvia was right--you don't have to be an artist to be a sketch noter.
So I set myself a challenge: sketchnote the NCCE2018 closing keynote by Dan Rather. I paid close attention to the experience and compared it to my usual methods of taking notes. Was I holding on to the information more deeply, as the research suggests? Did I engage with the presentation and connect to the speaker? What might be the downsides of this method?
As you can see from my final product, it turns out that Sylvia was right--sketchnoting isn't just for artists. I managed to capture the main ideas from Mr. Rather's speech and present them in a visual, sharable way--and had fun doing it! And I do remember what he said in far more detail than I would have with my regular notes. I noticed that I looked more at my screen than I did at him...but given that I couldn't quite see his expressions from where I sat, I'm not sure that's a problem in this context.
So what's next? I cannot WAIT to introduce/emphasize this method to the teachers and students in my building. We are a school full of creative, expressive young women who are always looking for the next best way for artistry and technology to blend. I suspect that sharing a few of the amazing Sylvia's tips and tricks are all it will take to start a sketchnoting revolution!
Upcoming and Recent Presentations
"Finding the Right Balance in Tech Use" (Tormala), Edutopia, April 10, 2018.
"Keynote is just a slide creator...isn't it?" (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2018.
"Getting Girls into STEM: The Power of Blended (and All-Female) Instruction". (Tormala) EdSurge, March 21, 2017.
"Confronting the Abominable Snow Day". (Gilbert & Tormala) Edutopia, Feb. 2017.
"Video Interviews with iPads: The Power of Mobile Technology". (Tormala) EdTechTeam, Jan 2017.
"Discomfort, Growth, and Innovation." (Tormala) Edutopia, Oct. 2016.
"5 Epiphanies on Learning in a 1:1 iPad Classroom." (Tormala) Edutopia, July 2014.