Reflection on a Sketchnoting Workshop

This week my classmates and I had the opportunity to hear Rich McCue, the head of UVic’s Digital Scholarship Facility discuss the benefits of sketchnoting. For those who have never heard of the term before, “sketchnoting” is essentially taking notes by incorporating words and pictures together. It is a really great way to boost your memory of a topic by associating pictures with what you hear. They don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing! Here is one of the worksheets put together by UVic Libraries DSC we worked through that day.

Fun Fact: I actually was doing this in my weekly “Visual Journal” for the “Art in the Elementary Classroom” class I was taking last semester as a way to transcribe my notes from the required reading passages each week into my journal, without even knowing it was called “sketchnoting”! Here are some of my favourite sketchnotes from my visual journal:

Notes on a chapter from the art textbook about creativity
Notes from a chapter about using art to fight for social justice issues
A brainstorm about why art should be taught, transcribed using a crayon resist method

While I loved making these, I know that I couldn’t create sketchnotes like these ‘in-the-moment’ while a prof is speaking (these sketchnotes above were all done after class, and took about an hour each to make). Rich guided us through multiple lab worksheets that would help us create our own sketchnotes quickly and as we listen to a lecture or any kind of presentation we may hear. He has posted these notes in such a way that I’m allowed to share them with all of you! Yay for Creative Commons licensing!

In the meantime, feel free to peruse my most recent (very rough) sketchnotes, as created in this workshop with Rich and based off an article he gave us to work with:

I feel that sketchnoting is also a great way to engage multiple different types of learners with the material being presented in a classroom setting. The visual learners? They have to visualize the best drawing or way to record the important parts of what they are hearing and then watch as they transcribe those ideas onto paper. The auditory learners? They are taking what they hear and recording it in a way that will help them pay attention to what they hear. The kinesthetic learner? Their writing utensils will be firmly gripped in their fingers and busy creating a visual representation of what they hear instead of fiddling or fidgeting.

I think I could see myself asking my future students to give this idea of taking notes a try, even just once. While it may not be an idea that sticks for every student, if it sticks and helps even one, that will be worth it in my mind.


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