Get ready for ISTELive 21! Launch the site now.
Edtech Industry
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Drawing as a Thinking Process: It's More Than Sketchnoting

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Tuesday, December 1, 2:00–2:45 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Manuel Herrera  
Sadie Lewis  

Discover how simple drawings can be leveraged beyond capturing information and staying focused during lectures. Learn how sketchnoting is used by students to create and refine mental models, make thinking visible and problem-solve. You'll leave with simple techniques and examples to employ tomorrow that enhance learning.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees do not need devices but if they choose to bring them, tablets would be best. Apps to download prior to session.

Adobe Fresco

Topic: Communication & collaboration
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
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.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Sketchnoting is more than a way to capture information visually. It is a strategy that combines visual, motor and cognitive processes that fully engage students in their learning. In this session we will demonstrate how sketchnoting is used to capture complex information using color, shapes, lines, and text to focus on bigger ideas and interpret information visually so that it is easily understood and remembered. Participants will be shown student and teacher sketchnoting examples and how they were applied to different learning experiences. We will then guide participants through challenges that demonstrate how sketchnoting can be applied to teaching and learning so that students can define and refine their learning. Participants will experience how to take handwritten sketchnotes and capture them digitally for sharing and organizing and showcasing learning. In this session participants will… understand the basic elements of sketchnoting learn simple sketchnoting techniques and strategies apply the techniques and elements of sketchnoting learn how to introduce sketchnoting to students learn digital tools that can be used to capture handwritten sketchnotes


Introductions - Examples of real teacher and student sketchnoting creations (10 Minutes) Core Experience - Hands on Challenges and Goals (5 Minutes) Challenge 1: Developing Symbols and Elements (10 Minutes) “What is your Visual Language?” Challenge 2: Teach and Idea Through Sketchnoting (10 Minutes) “How to interpret deep content visually” Challenge 3: Create a learning experience for students to sketchnote (10 Minutes) “Allow students to Define and Refine their Understanding.” Closing - Share, Reflect and where you can implement this in your practice (15 Minutes)

Supporting research

Book: Making Thinking Visible When learners speak, write, or draw their ideas, they deepen their cognition. Project Zero's Visible Thinking approach shows how. Ron Ritchhart and David Perkins Article: Neural correlates of the episodic encoding of pictures and words Article: Learning Through Visuals Visual imagery in the classroom Haig Kouyoumdjian Ph.D.

More [+]


Manuel Herrera, Affton School District

Manuel S. Herrera is an educator, speaker and illustrator who specializes in sketchnoting, visual thinking, design thinking, 3D printing and design. Over the past 17 years, he’s been a frequent keynote speaker and led workshops at educational conferences, including the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival, the ISTE Conference & Expo, the TCEA Convention & Expo, the MassCUE Conference, the Future of Education Technology Conference and .EDU. Herrera has also illustrated books, publications and graphics for a variety of organizations, publishers and schools. Currently, he’s the innovation coordinator for the Affton School District and an adjunct professor for Webster University, both located in St. Louis, Missouri. He’s also the communications and design lead for Connected Learning, an education nonprofit in St. Louis. Herrera became a Google Innovator in 2018, and was named the Midwest Education Technology Conference Spotlight Educator in 2016.

Sadie Lewis, Mehlville R-IX School District

People also viewed

Empower Learners With the UDL Lens: Build a Backpack for Agency
Evolving inclusive classrooms: Implementing UDL with free Windows tools
ISTE Equity Action Forum Ignite Presentation