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Visual Thinking Explained: Erasing the Misconceptions

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Panel

Monday, June 24, 4:00–5:00 pm
Location: 204C

Manuel Herrera   Tanny McGregor   Kimberly Zajac  
Visual note-taking is more than just creating a pretty picture. Join this panel as we discuss a variety of visual thinking strategies to deepen comprehension, develop problem-solving and design scaffolding for diverse learners — all while channeling risk-taking, creativity and choice.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Communication and collaboration
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, Special education
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will develop a toolbox of strategies to enhance visual thinking practices such as comprehension, problem solving, and scaffolding for diverse learners in a classroom setting.

Learners will reflect upon their own thinking processes and use of visual representation of ideas through risk taking and application of creativity.

Panel will provide learners with a variety of tools, both digital and analog, to assist with capturing information, promoting focus, synthesizing complex ideas, and retrieval of ideas.

Models employed will include:
-Mind Mapping
-Problem Solving
-Simple Sketches, Icons, Symbols


Content and Activities:

Moderator will introduce each of the panelists and give a brief description of their backgrounds and affiliation with visual thinking.

Audience will be able to participate in chat through a back channel that will be moderated by the panelists/moderator.

A series of five questions will be addressed by the panelists. While questions are being answered, the remaining panelists will be reflecting upon their experience of the conversation through live sketching/visual note-taking.

Additional questions will be pulled from the moderated back channel and presented to the panelists for response.

Panelists will encourage attendees to participate in future conversation by providing current social media hashtags to follow.

Supporting research

-Sketchnoting in School: Discover the Benefits (and Fun) of Visual Note Taking
Book by Holly Weimer, Karin Perry, and MaryAnn Bell

-The Back of the Napkin
Book by Dan Roam

-The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently
Book by Sunni Brown

-Sketchnote for Educators
Book by Sylvia Duckworth

-Visual Note-Taking for Educators: A Teacher's Guide to Student Creativity
Book by Wendi Pillars

-Ink & Ideas:Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking
Book by Tanny McGregor

More [+]


Manuel Herrera, Affton School District

Manuel is an educator, international speaker, & doodler. He currently serves as the Innovation Coordinator for the Affton School District located in St. Louis. He is an adjunct professor for Webster University, teaching Digital Video for Educators and Designing Ed Tech Facilities. In addition to these roles, Manuel is the Communications & Design Lead for Connected Learning, an educational non-profit located in St. Louis. Manuel has keynoted, presented, and led workshops at educational conferences like SXSWEdu, ISTE, TCEA, MassCUE, FETC & .EDU. He specializes in sketchnoting, visual thinking, design thinking, & 3D printing & design. In 2018 Manuel became a Google Innovator.

Tanny McGregor, W. Clermont Schools/Heinemann Publishing

Internationally-known teacher/author Tanny McGregor brings 30 years of experience to her creative and engaging sessions. Tanny has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, gifted specialist, and preK-12 staff developer. She is the author of 3 books, Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading (Heinemann, 2007), Genre Connections: Lessons to Launch Literary and Nonfiction Texts (Heinemann, 2013), and Ink & Ideas: Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking (Heinemann, 2019). Tanny was also a contributor to the seminal work, Comprehension Going Forward: Where We Are/What’s Next (Heinemann, 2011). Tanny serves as an instructional coach for the West Clermont Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kimberly Zajac, MassCUE/Norton Public Schools

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