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Building Creative Confidence One Doodle at a Time

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Monday, June 24, 2:00–4:00 pm
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 29

Gena Pacada  
You don't have to be an artist to create a quick doodle. Sketchnoting is simply a combination of words and doodles that convey your thoughts. Discover fun and engaging activities to expand your visual vocabulary and increase sketchnoting confidence. Come explore, play and connect with a community of edu-sketchers.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Professional developers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Participants can use tablets, laptops, or simply paper and pen for this poster session.

Suggestions for mobile drawing apps:
Adobe Illustrator Draw
Adobe Sketch
Paper by 53
Tayasui Sketches School

Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Creativity and productivity tools
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Essential Question: How does doodling support learners in creatively capturing thinking, resulting in a deeper understanding of content?

Sketchnoting is a visual note-taking process that can be customized to work best for any learning style. It’s not about art or who can draw the prettiest picture. It’s about focusing on content, making connections, and synthesizing thoughts in a creative way. Sketchnoting activates both sides of the brain and improves active listening and comprehension skills. Students are drawn to visual note-taking because the method recognizes that ideas can be organized and recorded in a way that is personalized for every individual. No two sketchnotes will look exactly the same because no two brains think exactly alike. That’s the beauty of a sketchnote!

While several sketchnotes that can be found on social media look stunningly beautiful, they can also feel immensely intimidating to those who may not consider themselves a “creative” person. John Spencer, co-author of Launch (2016), and Empower (2017), has published an interesting video titled, We Need a Bigger Definition of Creativity ( where he explains seven types of creative teachers, moving way beyond “artistic” as being the definition of creativity. I love how he recognizes that we are all creative in different ways. Mike Rhode, author of The Sketchnote Handbook (2013), stresses “Ideas, not art!” and Wendi Pillars writes about “process over pretty,” in her book Visual Note-taking for Educators (2015). Those are key phrases that empower students and free them from feeling like a sketchnote needs to look like a work of art.

This poster session is filled with simple ideas that will improve creative confidence and give learners knowledge, skills, and tools to begin a sketchnoting journey or continue one with students and/or a community of learners.

1. Participants will learn basics of sketching and building a visual vocabulary using both digital and non-digital tools through engaging activities and games.
2. Participants will learn about research and brain science that supports visual note taking.
3. Participants will learn about resources for visual note taking in the educational setting, including student examples.
4. Participants will learn about web-based and mobile drawing applications.
5. Participants will learn how to participate and get connected with a community of educational sketchnoters.

Web-Based Drawing tools include: Quick Draw! - fast doodle practice, Kandinsky - turn a doodle into music, AutoDraw, Sketchpad, Seesaw

Mobile Apps: Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Sketch, Paper by 53, Tayasui Sketches School, Procreate, Seesaw

Supporting research

1. Brown, Sunni. Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. Portfolio Penguin, 2014.

2. Neill, Doug. “Sketchnoting In The Classroom.” Verbal To Visual, 2018,

3. Pillars, Wendi. Visual Note-taking for Educators: A Teacher’s Guide to Student Creativity. W.W. Norton & Company, 2015.

4. Rohde, Mike. The Sketchnote Handbook: the Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking. Peachpit Press, 2013.

5. Spencer, John. “The Seven Types of Creative Teachers.” John Spencer, 2 June 2018,

More [+]


Gena Pacada, Santa Clara County Office of Education

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