Visual Notetaking

DEFINITION

Visual notetaking is a process of representing ideas non-linguistically. (That’s a fancy of way of saying, “drawing pictures.”) Visual notetaking can include concept mapping, but also more artistic ways of visually capturing and representing ideas. On the simpler side of the visual notetaking continuum, visual notes can be used to create narrated art. On the complex end of the spectrum, some visual notetaking applications support the creation of whiteboard animation videos which include audio narration synchronized to screencasts of drawings. Visual or graphic facilitation can be used at meetings to summarize presentations and guide discussions. Whether simple or complex, visual notes can be used to more deeply process information as well as communicate it to others with images.

Rachel Smith provides an excellent overview of visual notetaking, which she calls “visual recording,” in the first three minutes of her video, “Visual Recording on the iPad.”

Rachel’s 18 minute TEDx talk, “Drawing in Class,” also provides an excellent overview about the “what and why” of visual notetaking.

Giulia Forsythe‘s 68 minute presentation for the 2012 University of Mary Washington Faculty Academy on “Drawing Conclusions” is also excellent. (SlideShare also available) The CBS Sunday Morning program “The higher purpose of Doodling” (19 Jan 2014) is 7 minutes long and super!

WORKFLOW

Initial Setup

  1. Create an account and “channel” website to use for sharing visual notes. This can be a blog or photo sharing website.
  2. Provide students with a method for submitting visual notes to a shared website. Email can be an easy way to share visual notes and photos of visual notes captured with smartphones or tablet computers. Some sites permit moderation of submitted images, other sites use a “secret email address” which automatically posts to the website.

Ongoing Use

  1. Invite students to create visual notes of lectures or specific curriculum elements.
  2. Provide students with an email address to post visual notes to a class website.

TOOLS (iPad / iPod Touch / iPhone apps)

For drawing / painting:

  1. Brushes 3 (free – now open source, supports multiple layers!)
  2. Inkflow (free)
  3. Inkflow Plus ($8)
  4. neu.KidsDraw (free)
  5. Adobe Ideas (free)
  6. Air Sketch ($10)
  7. SketchBook Mobile for iPad ($1)
  8. SketchBook Pro for iPad ($2)

Whiteboard animation:

  1. Vittle Free (free)
  2. Vittle ($9)
  3. VideoScribe HD for iPad ($5)

For concept mapping:

  1. Mindomo (free – Android too)
  2. Popplet Lite (free)
  3. Popplet ($5)
  4. Idea Sketch (free)
  5. Mindmeister (free – Android too)
  6. Mindnode ($10)
  7. Maptini (Australia only)

More iPad drawing apps on this Appolicious list.

TOOLS (software for laptop/desktop computers)

For drawing / painting:

  1. Tux Paint for Win / Mac / Linux (free – for kids)
  2. Inkscape for Win / Mac / Linux (free)

For concept mapping:

  1. Cmap Tools (free)
  2. FreeMind for Win / Mac (free)
  3. Inspiration and Kidspiration for Win / Mac (commercial)
  4. Smart Ideas for Win / Mac (commercial)
  5. Mindnode for Win / Mac ($20)

TOOLS (online content hosting / sharing)

  1. Flickr (free)
  2. Google+ Photos (free)
  3. Tumblr (free)
  4. Posthaven ($5/month)
  5. Blogging tools listed on Interactive Writing

EXAMPLES

  1. Visual Notes from Unplug’d 2012 by Giulia Forsythe (@giuliaforsythe)
  2. Visual Notes from Steven Anderson & Kyle Pace’s ISTE Session for Administrators (@wfryer)
  3. Visual Notes by Wesley Fryer (@wfryer)
  4. Visual Practice – iPad by Rachel Smith (@ninmah)
  5. Sketch Notes by Mike Rhode (@rohdesign)
  6. SXSWi 2012 Visual Note-Taking for Dell by Sunni Brown (@sunnibrown)
  7. Story vs Narrative by Giulia Forsythe
  8. Using Stories in Learning by Giulia Forsythe
  9. How to Focus by Sha Atakhanov (@shaaweb)
  10. Visual Notes from Rushton Hurley preso by Tricia Fugelstad (@fuglefun)
  11. Visual Notes by Jonny Goldstein (@jonnygoldstein)

Whiteboard Animation

  1. Changing Education Paradigms (RSA Animate on Ken Robinson preso)
  2. Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us (RSA Animate on Dan Pink preso)
  3. Why Become a Storychaser? (by Wesley Fryer for Storychasers)
  4. More from RSA Animate

MORE READING

  1. Jackie Gerstein on Visual Note-Taking
  2. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition by Betty Edwards
  3. Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson
  4. Keys to Drawing with Imagination by Bert Dodson
  5. Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century by Cathy N. Davidson
  6. Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin
  7. Sketchcasting: A combination of blogging, talking and drawing!” (June 2010)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Wesley’s current favorite iPad stylus is the Jot Mini.

Video: Sketcho Frenzy: The Basics of Visual Note-taking (3 min)

Visual Notetaking

View more lists from Wesley Fryer

* Image attribution: Visual Notes from Unplug’d 2012 by Giulia Forsythe, used with permission

Permanent link to this article: http://maps.playingwithmedia.com/visual-notetaking/

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