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Tips and Tricks for Live Sketchnoting

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, November 29, 10:15–11:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jen Giffen  
People's Choice winner. In this interactive lecture, Sylvia & Jen will share some tips & tricks to help participants gain the confidence to live sketchnote. Participants will learn fundamental elements & learn to draw a few key icons. At the end, participants will sketch a short TED talk & will be amazed at what they can create.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: This session can be done with pen and paper but it might be beneficial to have a drawing app on a tablet (e.g., Procreate or Tayasui Sketches or Paper by We Transfer).
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • 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.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

1. Educational or infrastructure challenge/situation: Very minimal challenges since sketchnoting can be done digitally or analog.
2. Technology intervention: If drawing digitally, any drawing app will do for this session.
3. Models employed: We will be demonstrating drawing on an iPad
4. Lesson plans or instructional activities/strategies employed: We will use a slidedeck which will be made available to all participants
5. Evidence of success: Teachers will leave the session feeling confident about the sketchnoting basics and their ability to sketchnote live.


5 minutes - Introduction to presenters - We will introduce ourselves and share some of our sketches
5 minutes - Introduction to the elements of sketchnoting - we will go over the basic principles in sketchnoting (fonts, banners, frames, dividers, bullets, icons, animals and people)
25 minutes - Practicing the sketchnoting basics - we will guide participants through the creation of the different elements and explain when and why we use each.
10 minutes - Rapid-fire tricks of the trade - a quick share of tips that helps us when doing live sketchnoting.
10 minutes - Viewing of a TEDtalk to practice acquired skills - putting their new skills to the test, participants will live sketch a short ted talk.
5 minutes - Q&A - Jen will answer audience questions.

Supporting research

1. Articles/Blogposts
- Making Learning Visual Helps Memories Stick (
- The Power of Visual Notetaking (
- In Defense of Doodling (
- 10 Creative Ways to Use Sketchnotes in the Classroom (
- Memorisation Method Matters (
- The Benefits of Using Doodling and Sketchnotes in the Classroom (
- Visual Note-taking: Keep focus and Improve Retention (
- Dual Coding Theory and Visual Note-taking (
- The Powerful Science Behind Visual Note-taking (
- Sketchnoting the Path to Better Note-taking (
- Dual Coding and Common Coding Theories of Memory (
- How Visual Notes Helped a Student With a Learning Disability Thrive (
- Drawing Is the Fastest, Most Effective Way to Learn (
- The Power of Visual Notetaking

2. Studies
- What Does Doodling Do? By Jackie Andrade, in Applied Cognitive Psychology (
- Memorisation Methods in Science Education: Tactics to Improve the Teaching and Learning Practice (
- The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard (
- The Drawing Effect: Evidence for Reliable and Robust Memory Benefits in Free Recall (
- The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory (

3. Books
- Tangle Art and Drawing Games for Kids: A Silly Book for Creative and Visual Thinking by Jeanette Nyberg
- Visual Vocab by Donna McGeorge
- The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde
- The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown
- Visual Note-Taking for Educators Wendi Pillars
- Sketchnoting in School by Karin Perry, Holly Weimar, and Mary Ann Bell
- Ink and Ideas: Sketchnotes for Engagement, Comprehension, and Thinking by Tanny McGregor

Engaging in any sort of visual expression results in the reward pathway in the brain being activated, which means that you feel good. (Kaimal et al., 2017)
The simplicity of this strategy means it can be used by people with cognitive impairments to enhance memory, including patients with dementia. (Fernandes, Wammes & Meade, 2018)
Makes your memory like a zip file - your working memory can carry more (Klemm, 2015)
45 minutes of creating art in a studio setting with an art therapist significantly lowered a person’s stress levels. (Kaimal et. al., 2016).
Doodling lights up different networks in the brain and engages different information. This can lead to “ah-ha” moments when the solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with suddenly becomes evident. (Sunni Brown, The Doodle Revolution, 2014)
The fastest way to cram new information into your brain is by drawing it. (Fernandes, Wammes & Meade, 2018)
People who drew information remembered almost twice as much (49.5%) as those who wrote it (28%) even if the drawers were not practiced artists. (Fernandes, Wammes & Meade, 2018)
Creativity is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world. (Christianne Strang, professor of neuroscience at the University of Alabama Birmingham)
Doodling keeps you in a state where your mind can’t wander, and your mind can’t also reflect or think more deeply about what you’re hearing. (Jesse Prinz, philosophy professor at City University of New York Graduate Center)
It causes you to listen at a different level. (Jill Gough, director of teaching and learning at Trinity Schools)
The brain demands stimuli and doodling engages the brain’s planning and concentration centers just enough to keep you living in the moment (Brandon Specktor, Reader’s Digest)
When you draw an object, the mind becomes deeply, intensely attentive. (Milton Glaser, author “Drawing Is Thinking”)
The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. (Muller & Oppenheim, 2014)
In order for them to visualize a concept, they had to understand it. It took them a little longer to sketchnote when practicing for a test, but they truly understood the content compared to just memorizing it. That was an epiphany moment for them. (Paepcke-Hjeltness, Associate professor of practice in design at the University of Texas at Austin)
It is not about being a visual learner - it is because of the multiple modality - it taps into visual, kinesthetic, and linguistic areas of the brain at the same time making more connections across the brain’s neuro network.
Gains are greater from drawing than other known mnemonic techniques, such as simply writing notes, viewing images or listening to lectures. (Fernandes, Wammes & Meade, 2018)
In the study, the doodling group performed better on the monitoring task and recalled 29% more information on a surprise memory test. (Andrade, 2010)
Recall/recognition is enhanced by presenting information in both visual and verbal form. (Paivio, 1971. 1991)
Offers multiple entry points for students to access learning.(Susan McNeill, 2019)
Non-linguistic representations are one of the research-based strategies proven to increase student achievement. (Marzano, 2012)
Offers differentiated instruction & provides a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategy. (Susan McNeill, 2019)
Helps students who struggle taking traditional notes or need a fresh approach to learning. (Susan McNeill, 2019)

Sketchnoting is not about creating a piece of art. It’s about creating a piece of thinking. (Kim Zajac, speech and language pathologist)
It’s about Ideas, not art (Mike Rohde, author, The Sketchnote Handbook)

SKETCHNOTING IN EDUCATION (from Susan McNeill, 2019)
promotes the active processing of new concepts
offers differentiated instruction
provides a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategy
helps students who struggle taking traditional notes or need a fresh approach to learning
stimulates creativity and spontaneity
fosters a useful balance of main ideas and details
provides an opportunity for knowledge organization skills to develop
aids understanding and recall

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Jen Giffen, York Region District School Board

Jen Giffen is a Teacher Librarian and former Digital Literacy Consultant from Ontario, Canada. She is a Google Innovator (#WDC17), sketchnoter, mom of three boys and co-host of #ShukesandGiff. A former player of the game of school, Jen now seeks to ensure learning is authentic and relevant, especially for struggling students. You can often find her having a conversation with her Google Home, listening to podcasts, and watching Netflix with her husband. She wants you to know that while at first, the hokey pokey is hard, eventually you turn yourself around. #Ginger #Canadian #HashtagLover. @VirtualGiff – everywhere.

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