Doodle storming #TED2012 in the Classroom

A few weeks ago I did a unit on visual note-taking with my students.  I’ve been fascinated by visual notes (or #viznotes, sketchnotes, etc) for a few months now and I think they are a great way for students to get engaged with lectures.  I looked at a lot of examples and realized that TED talks were the perfect entrance into visual notetaking.  My students started by looking at examples of visual notes and then trying their own while we listened to a TED talk in class.  Then, for the next week or so they chose a TED talk to watch for homework each night and completed at least a page of visual notes.

THIS WAS AWESOME.  My kids had the opportunity to watch at least 10 TED talks about subjects they were passionate about. They started sharing TED talks and making recommendations to me and their classmates.  My more visual learners excelled at sketch notes and were great about helping their classmates. And those, like me, who aren’t artistic?  They also had a great time stretching their brains and trying something new. You don’t need to be an artist to take visual notes- you just need to be willing to try something new.

Towards the end of the unit I had the students watch Peter Diamandis’ TED talk from TED 2012: Full Spectrum.  They watched Abundance is Our Future in silence, taking their own notes.  Then, I had them collaborate on our whiteboards, coming up with one class set of notes.  It was a great experience and one I highly recommend!  Below are the results.



Some resources on visual notes/notetaking:


6 Responses

  1. I doodled my way through college and grad school. Never knew it was actually meaningful. Thank you for this amazing post!

  2. Is there an age where this is most effective? My daughter is twelve and sketches all the time. This sounds like a tool she could use to supplement her note taking as she progresses through the rest of her academic career – but is she too young to learn how to use it effectively? Thanks

    • I think it would be effective at any age. As I told my students, it’s all about finding what works for you. If visual notes help you remember, then take visual notes! Or a hybrid of visual and text. Or just text!

  3. Is there any way you could share an outline of your unit? I am currently teaching my kids about conceptual imaging, but I am just throwing some stuff at them. How did you get started? Did you use the TED talks more than text?

    • I started by showing the TED talks that explained the way the brain makes meaning and making data beautiful. I had students take visual notes on the TED talks and also on newspaper articles and short stories. But I did focus on TED talks because I wanted students to learn how to take notes during spoken lectures.

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