The flipped classroom – sketch noting

Okay, hands up. Who likes reading a prescribed text or watching a prescribed video or slide presentation and taking notes or making notes? I have never asked students to take notes while they are watching or reading something. It is mind numbing and it interrupts the cognitive and creative flow. The mind is not free to make its own associations. Making notes on a second text reading or straight after watching something is different. Asking about a particular thing you want to remember in a visual presentation is normal. So yesterday I was writing in my blog post that note taking is important if you want to flip your classroom. So the video said. The video was by someone who had taught a flipped classroom. Me, too. My class time is working with students. You cannot teach languages in any other way. You have to constantly monitor and observe what they know and can know so you can create the next learning step to suit them. But what if you made note taking an explicit learning activity? What if you made it a  personal journey and a creative adventure for those who express themselves visually? What if you used visual outlining and visual thinking as a response to something you asked students to do at home? What if , once in a while, you had a bit of a competition and said you would display the best visual notes or had a bit of a competition as to who could produce the most colourful notes, the most original notes, the coolest notes? Set the criteria for the visual notes with your students? Sketch noting has a powerful impact on thinking and sketched notes can become works of art in their own right. It would not suit every student but it is part of a multi-modal delivery and would add to visual literacy and personal expression of ideas. I’d start off small and develop the concept over the year. I plan to do this because it offers yet another way for students to respond in a way which is individual and thought provoking. If you look up visual outlining and visual thinking on Google and click on the images, you will see there are some sketch notes which are highly complex in their approach. My belief, which I have yet to prove , is students would respond to this and would find doing their work challenging and enjoyable. If they are blogging they could also share these visual notes online to see what the world thinks. Sketch noting might not suit every subject or every assignment but I think if you are trying to make a success of a flipped classroom you have to find the things which will make it an attractive learning model. It relies on getting students to commit to their independent learning.

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