At the beginning of last school year, I was challenged to choose just one word to help define my upcoming year. I chose the word visualize for two reasons. First, I visual learning has been a strength of mine. Throughout my schooling, when asked to recall information, I could simply close my eyes and picture what I needed to, whether it's a still picture, a website, or a frame from a video. I don't have a photographic memory, but I can often pull in those images from somewhere deep in my brain when needed.
I know that even though this is a strength of mine, I haven't been the best at sharing what I'm picturing and connecting. In my job as an edtech consultant, I need to share, share, and share some more to help educators get a leg up in the ever-changing world of educational technology. So, what I decided to explore this year is the practice that is now known as sketchnoting. Little did I know 5 years ago, I was sketchnoting. I didn't call it sketchnoting, I called it visual notes, but I was sketchnoting.
And more important I was offering and sharing this as a learning option with my students. I encouraged students to take notes over a reading in the way that made the most sense to them. Some students took Cornell Notes (something I had shared earlier in the year), some students took vocabulary style notes, some did video reflections and some students took, what I was calling at the time, visual notes. I worked specifically with this group of students and we would read together, then stop at certain points and draw something that would help us to remember what we read. It didn't have to be the same thing, just something that would work for each individual person. I liked I could see the students' personalities and the different ways that students would make connections.
Here's a random collection of sketchnotes that I created this past year....