Another First… This Time it’s Sketchnoting

When I was in grade 2 I remember trying to draw a business man during an indoor recess. It was at that moment in time that I came to an honest conclusion about myself… I did not have an inherent talent for drawing. Fast forward 30 years later and I am still reminded of that day as I begin another new challenge and risk from our Documentor’s P.D. Time to take on doodling, and sketchnoting to document for learning. Ready, set, (whatever you do, don’t make the briefcase too big this time, Josh) draw.

My attempt: using the App, “Paper” by WeTransfer…

Looking back at my creation I notice a few things. I tried to tap into as many different fonts that I had used in my life, but sadly after block letters (a favourite of mine as growing up, my ‘go to’ for titles in fact), the well ran dry in a hurry. The grid format that I used, without giving it any thought at the time, is not shocking to me either, since I find that logic and organizing material into steps works for me. This is probably the reason I teach Science and Math, and struggled as a learner in the Arts, most specifically English classes.

What I enjoyed most about this process, was the freedom to combine creativity inside a fixed task. I could see myself using this as a brainstorming technique for learners in my class, and even for use it myself to get ideas down in any way I see it, when my next ‘Aha moment’ occurs.

The last point I want to make, is that I was very much aware of how much brain power I was using to create this sketchnote. I was noticeably fatigued, needed a break, and had that foggy feeling by the end of it, but at the same time I was calm and focused. It reminded me of the similar feel I get when playing around on a guitar. I felt relaxed, reset, and with either more practice or some mini breaks in between, refocused.

I highly recommend sketchnoting for all educators, learners, or anyone interested in creatively looking to document to give it a try. At the very least, it’s another tool in my increasing tool belt, or dossier to add to my over-sized briefcase.

2 thoughts on “Another First… This Time it’s Sketchnoting”

  1. @Josh
    I am thrilled that you were able to find in this “out-of-your-comfort zone” activity, immediately ways how to potentially stretch traditional ways (summarize, create, reflect, make thinking visible, etc.) for your learners in the classroom.
    I also agree with your observation that sketchnoting is a very “brain heavy” activity. I have never been so exhausted mentally, when I live sketchnote a keynote speaker. I also feel a certain calmness, as I am sketchnoting around a topic I am starting to wrap my mind around without any time constraints…

    What do you think of having students do some research around sketchnoting in terms of understanding their own “brain powers” and how all of this fits into the science of learning?

  2. Have you had more time to think through applications of sketchnoting in your work? Can you think of times when this kind of note taking would be particularly effective in capturing Science artifacts?

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