Guest post: Sketchnotes

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SXSWi 2008 Sketchnotes: First Spread

Today’s guest post by Kate Marshall should appeal to all the art journalers out there… an interesting twist on the idea!

Did I tell you all about the Best Magazine Ever, also known as Strange and Charmed? Well now!

Back in the fall, my friend Alexis came up with the idea for an online magazine for women of the Millenium, who are as comfortable with paper products as they are with electronics, and also enjoy the geeky, the chic, and all things quirky. Recently, Alexis wrote about sketch-note supplies on our companion blog.

I wanted to throw it out there to QV readers: have you tried taking sketchnotes instead of regular notes? The concept is basically what it sounds like: instead of just strictly writing notes about a topic, you can sketch them out with doodles, drawings, etc. Blogger Mike Rohde recently wrote a book about sketchnotes, which I can’t wait to read. I always feel like I can’t draw but learning about sketchnotes seems doable. And yes, I would totally use my fountain pens to do it 🙂

2 thoughts on “Guest post: Sketchnotes

  1. Cary, like you, I have tried it with great results, learning in in college when I was taking a Biology class (with a D, then upped my grade to a B in something like 2 months using a system like this). I showed this to others, along with note taking in webs (also called mind-mapping) and find that because I’m more right-brained and think in pictures, this is tremendously helpful. It also allows me to remember my notes in short “snapshots” when it was test-taking time, rather than trying to recall what the words said (they all were words to my mind and didn’t have enough content, ergo the grade D up to that point. If nothing else, it helped me focus on listening to what the big picture was, and supplement with the details, rather than getting caught up in the verboseness. I also use my own mixed bag of shorthand and abbreviations to take notes, for instance, some are Gregg shorthand, some are medical abbreviations, some are Chinese calligraphy for things like “people/man” where it is only 2 strokes.

  2. Not only have I tried it (with great results) but I also have heavily encouraged my high school students to use it. Since then, several of them (whom had been poor test takers) have had significant improvements on tests, including A’s where in the past they might have received a C, D or in two cases a “F”. I also have noticed that they tend to have keener insight on literature than some of the students who are taking regular notes. Although sketchnotes are normally used for lecture, I have used them for textbook reading for my Master’s, and it has saved time yet improved my ability to retain and review information. The book is excellent, and trust me on this, you do not need to be an artist. I am a stick figure kind of guy but I am finding that I am taking a few more risks and trying to do more art now because of this method. I highly recommend the book and the approach!
    Cary L. Tyler, AP English teacher and educational technology, Oregon

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