Teaching Tip: Visual note taking can work
In school, UAF eLearning Instructional Designer Brooke Sheridan would get scolded for “doodling” during class.
“The charge was that because I was drawing, I couldn’t possibly have been paying attention,” she said. “Since then I’ve learned that, for me and for lots of people like me, drawing and attention are linked, the former often improving the latter.”
Here Sheridan explains how visual note taking and other forms of visual literacy are gaining a foothold in pedagogical practice:
“Your students may find that if they attempt to listen to a lecture with utterly still hands, their minds wander and they end up with poor retention of what was being said. If, however, they occupy their hands by doodling while they listen, they end up with a much stronger sense of not only the content of what they’re listening to, but of the discussion as a whole — even if they’re not trying. One study suggests that doodling wrangles the attention so that primary focus isn’t distracted by wandering thoughts.
“Visual note taking is a more active task of processing information (like a lecture) into a final product that will serve as a useful memory-jogger. If you can create very basic shapes and write legibly, then you can create visual notes. And just like with traditional note taking, the more you practice, the better you’ll get — and you’ll have your own style, as well.”