Can Sketchnoting Be the Next Step in Visual Learning?

By Kathy Reeves
29 June, 2016


Keep reading and you'll find a printable concept map for teaching atomic structure in grades 6-8. If you're a middle school science teacher, I'm certain it will be one of your go-to activities for teaching this concept. While you know the value of integrating text and visual imagery in your classroom activities (you can read a previous post about this here), have you considered taking it a step further and introducing sketchnoting?

I have always been a doodler and note-taker, and while my doodles aren't especially interesting or artistic, they help me to stay focused in a meeting or while listening to a speaker. 

When I was recently introduced to sketchnoting, I thought of all the classroom applications. If students are trained to transform the standard process of note-taking into a form of visual communication, will they be able to retain the information better? Research by Wammes, Meade, and Fernandes (2016) suggests that drawing supports memory.

Sketchnoting is basically the creation of graphic organizers on the fly.  What a powerful tool this can be!  Listen to the TED talk by Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

If you find Sunni's talk inspiring, check out this sketchnote primer by Brad Ovenell-Carter.

Download your free, printable Atomic Structure concept map here.   Can you see your students taking graphic organizers like this one to the next level? 

What are your thoughts about using visual note-taking in the classroom?

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