More than Words, Ep. 13


I have a friend who is really into sketchnoting. At first glance, I made the assumption that she just loved to doodle and loved having a pretty notebook. I also sometimes wondered if she was really paying attention during meetings. Then one day I asked her why she spent so much time sketchnoting. She told me that not only did it help her pay attention in meetings, but it also helped her remember important concepts. In fact, she found sketchnoting so powerful that she was now teaching her students this note taking technique. What she shared sent me down a sketchnote rabbit hole studying the philosophy, science, and pedagogy behind sketchnoting. (If you are interested, google: Sylvia Duckworth) I have included a Sketchnote on sketchnoting below:

Taking notes is often so difficult for students (and adults alike). The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is that students try to copy down every single word a teachers says. It is similar to the student who never learns to highlight important concepts, rather, he/she highlights every single sentence in the textbook. As educators, it is imperative that we take the time to teach students to synthesize information into their own words/ideas/understandings after listening to lectures or reading text. My concern with traditional methods of teaching beginning note taking is that teachers either tell students what is important to write down or they create fill-in-the blank skeletons, which does not help strengthen their long-term memory. While these methods can help students to some degree, the downfall is that students never have the opportunity to decide on their own what information is important or have to synthesize important information and then put the concept into their own words. Sketchnoting is so appealing to me because it actively engages both sides of the brain, improves comprehension and retention, and helps students make curricular connections.

Sketchnoting Resources by Sylvia Duckworth

Stephanie Medcalfe is the Lower School Director at Cape Fear Academy.
Stephanie and her husband moved to Wilmington from Indianapolis, Indiana where she was the Assistant Principal for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. Stephanie has taught in both elementary and middle schools and has been a Special Educator. She graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.E. in Educational Administration. She is responsible for the Lower School Faculty and the After School Program.