Where do blogs and online media outlets go to present information?
They’re visually stimulating. They’re accessible to almost anyone. And they don’t overkill with too much information.
I’ve had a couple encounters with these ideas in the last couple weeks that have me thinking about how I could teach better and differently.
Out of curiosity, I asked her what tool she used to create them.
The answer: the Paper iPad app by FiftyThree. I downloaded it right away and began playing.
Right away, I realized something: It made me look like a MUCH better artist than I really am. (I’m not much of an artist at all. Think modified, augmented stick figures.)
The first drawing I created was for my school’s graduation: a basic graduation cap with tassel and confetti including time and date of the graduation ceremony. I shared it on Facebook with friends and family, and it got more attention than I expected.
A speaker at graduation quoted Henry David Thoreau and it inspired me to draw another one (the top image in this post). My wife told me I should send it to Hallmark because it should be on a greeting card.
(No one ever says that about art I create. Ever.)
Since then, I’ve been to a few educational technology conferences since then. Instead of taking copious notes during keynote speeches in Evernote (like I usually do), I’ve picked a couple main takeaway messages and made visual representations of them.
Again, they’re not great art. And again, they’re mostly like modified stick figures.
But they do solidify some of the most important lessons from my conference experiences, and I think I’m more likely to remember those lessons when school starts back up. There’s even some brain research that backs it up.
This has me pondering two things about how we teach:
1. What if we did more of this in class? These types of notes could be huge for visual learners, and fellow classmates’ representations of the day’s lesson could be huge for a learner who is struggling with a particular topic.
2. What if we put more emphasis on the big take-away lessons? So often, we have our list of content to cover in a unit or a school year. At times, we lay the lessons out wide and shallow instead of digging deep to emphasize the most important ideas. Sometimes, those key take-away lessons can get lost in a sea of lesser facts.
Right now, I’m really liking this idea — lots of emphasis on a few key lessons instead of cursory attention to lots of smaller things.
And I love that this app has brought out a little bit of artistic talent that I never thought I had. (Thanks, Amy, for your help with that!)
What do you think of that idea — more emphasis on the big ideas? Have you ever tried visual notes like this with students (or something like it)? I’d love to hear about it. Share with us in a comment below!
- Infinite iPossibilities Conference (June 10, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, Ind.)
- YCS WeLearn Conference (June 12, Yorktown High School, Yorktown, Ind.)
- Knight Time Technology (June 13, East Noble High School, Kendallville, Ind.)
- Making Waves with eLearning (June 17-18, West Lafayette High School, West Lafayette, Ind.)
- Conference on a Couch (June 20, Danville Community High School, Danville, Ind.)
- Digipalooza (June 24-25, Scottsburg Middle School, Scottsburg, Ind.)
- trAnSfoRM (June 25-26, South Vermillion High School, Clinton, Ind.)
- C4: Connect, Collect, Collaborate, Create (July 8, Clay Middle School, Carmel, Ind.)
- Greater Clark Connected Conference (July 21, Jeffersonville High School, Jeffersonville, Ind.)
- E3 Technology Conference (July 28-29, Warsaw Community High School, Warsaw, Ind.)
- eLightenment (Aug. 5-6, Chesterton High School, Chesterton, Ind.)
Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!