Visualize your learning
Cebron Walker
June 27, 2017

If you are a visual learner, sketchnoting is a method of learning perfect for you! It is the use of natural visual skills to capture ideas. One can build their visual vocabulary simply by practicing unique ways to capture main ideas. Sketchnotes are a visual form of notetaking. It is created with hand drawn images, shapes, icons and organized with arrows, boxes and lines.

“Sketchnoting allows you to create a visual representation of the content to make deeper connections,” states Lindsay Zilly (@iCoachLindsay), a teacher and instructional coach at Orland School District 135 in Illinois. “Furthermore, it allows you to focus your attention on the content in a different way and really demonstrate your understanding.”

Sketchnoting has allowed teachers and technology coaches to think and look at systems and concepts in different ways and compare notes, to synthesize data. “Hearing the same content, we both demonstrate our takeaways in creative and unique ways,” stated Kristin Beeler (@iCoachKristin), also of Orland School District 135 of her and Lindsay. “It is really neat to compare our different thoughts and connections that we each make to content. Sketchnoting has brought out our creative style and develop a new passion for us both.”

Students are utilizing the technique in their learning. According to Adam Juarez (@techcoachjuarez), a teacher and tech coach at Orosi High School in central California. His students, in grades 6-12, use sketching to make notes more memorable. “They’re more likely to review them than traditional notes. They feel a sense of ownership of their learning when using sketchnoting. The creative aspect increases engagement greatly and empowers students to dig deeper.”

There is a movement afoot!

Sketching is gaining in popularity. Visit Sketch50.org for inspiration. The site was started by Cate Tolnai (@CateTolnai) and a few others inspired by the sketchnote movement. The idea is for students and educators to make simple drawings every day for 50 days leading up to national drawing day in May. It's open to adults and students.

Sketchnoting is a powerful strategy that teachers and students should add to their toolkit. “It allows the learner to visualize, synthesize and make connections of main ideas across the text or presentation to deepen understanding,” states Jenny Lehotsky, TEDed Innovative Educator and Instructional Coach from Freedom Middle School, IL (@JennyLehotsky)

Cebron Walker is the editor-in-chief of the Learning Counsel (@learningcounsel), a news media site focused on bringing context and research to the shift in digital teaching and learning.

Tech Tips is a weekly column in SmartBrief on EdTech. Have a tech tip to share? Drop us a line at knamahoe@smartbrief.com.

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