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Sketchnote Presentation

I was honored to be a Presenter and Sketchnote Artist for Common Ground Education and Technology Conference in May 2017.

Common Ground is an organization that supports professional learning across the state of Maryland and surrounding areas. Approximately 1,200 education colleagues come together for the annual conference, Maryland's top professional development event of the year. Thought-provoking speakers, hundreds of inspiring sessions, and demonstrations of the latest products and services provide attendees the 21st century know-how.

The workshop I led was a breakout session that ran for 1 hour. We had anticipated 20-40 people would attend the workshop. As seats filled up, people began lining the walls and sitting in the aisles. To my surprise, over 60 people showed up to learn about sketchnoting, many of those being educators.

I designed this session to be fun and informative. I spoke about the basic principles of sketchnoting and how it can benefit you as an individual but also the effects sketchnoting can have in a classroom. Here is my sketchnote story ...

As a child who loved to draw, I sometimes found it hard to concentrate in school. Teachers would take my papers if they had doodles around the edges, sometimes crumbling them up in front of me, and other times calling me out for "not paying attention" in class. However, most of the time I was paying attention. I remembered everything I heard as I listened to the teacher and sketched.

Physically engaging the body (drawing) while, listening to the lesson and quickly being able to comprehend what I was hearing to put it on paper with a few simple strokes was the key.

I wish I would have known the power of sketchnoting as a child. I was already doing this without realizing it. As it may not be the right fit for every student, for those like me (creative and artistic), we learn differently. Sketchnoting by definition from Mike Rohde, Author of the Sketchnote Handbook, is "Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and visual elements like arrows, boxes and lines".

These actions create a powerful combination to improve memory and recall, enhance the learning experience, become a great problem-solver, and get better at sharing ideas.

Tweet from the Sketchnote Workshop

After discussing the basics of sketchnoting, I played a TEDtalk: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do from Gever Tulley. If you haven't heard it, it's worth taking 9 minutes to listen to. The goal of this exercise was to practice sketchnoting while listening to the TEDtalk. I provided lots of paper as well as many different kinds of markers, pens, and pencils. When the video ended I asked if anyone would like to share their sketchnotes ... {crickets}. Not a single hand went up. Which was funny, considering I was demonstrating to a room full of teachers! With a little coaxing, the group began to show their work and all the sketchnotes I saw were wonderful. Some people think you have to be an artist to sketchnote but that is far from the truth. It's not artwork - it's working art.

Sketchnote Ron Clark Presentation

Prior to my presentation, I did a live demonstration of sketchnoting while the Keynote Speaker for the conference, Ron Clark, presented to a packed room of over 1,200.

Check out the recording below from Common Ground's Google Hangout On Air of sketchnoting Ron Clark's presentation.​​

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