We’ve reached the end of our first unit Sketchnoting daily. If you’ve been following our journey, you’ll know that two of the major goals I had in mind were to help students pull out big ideas and then to have them revisit material after a lesson in order to make it their own. Here’s a quick run-down of some of how things turned out:
What Worked Well
The sketchnotes themselves are awesome. I loved seeing the creativity and overall students seemed to enjoy time spent working on them, though not everyone was keen.
As I noted in the previous post, there has been much more eye contact and engagement during class and we’ve had more time for activities since we’re spending less time writing notes. This is a huge win for me. If we can’t have meaningful conversations about scientific concepts, then something needs to shift. I was pleased with the level of engagement when students weren’t focused on getting every detail down at the first pass.
The average class unit test results were approximately 7% higher than each of the two previous two tests. While test results aren’t everything, they are an indication of how well students understand the material (or we wouldn’t use them!), so I see that as a positive.
I’ve found the collaborative notes on Google slides to be a stellar (see what I did there?) way to provide timely feedback to students. I love being able to read through their notes and immediately let them know if they’ve misunderstood a concept or missed something important.
What Needs Tweaking
Not everyone contributed to the collaborative notes. While I didn’t expect there to be full buy-in, one of the challenges with the collaborative notes is that students can see when someone else didn’t contribute.
Another challenge is that we don’t have Chromebooks or other tech in the class at all times. This means that when we had time at the end of class to work on Sketchnotes, the students didn’t have an easy way to access the full notes from the lesson unless they used their own devices. I don’t mind students using cell phones for this purpose, but it does exclude those without devices. It is also too big a temptation for some students to go down a not-so-related rabbit hole.
Overall I’m really pleased with our first shot at Sketchnotes and am looking forward to continuing to encourage students to use visual note taking to help them engage with concepts. We’re kicking off the Physics unit and I’m going to provide them with a hard copy page of text notes for each lesson, which they can use for creating their Sketchnotes. I’ll also be providing them with more direction about specific things to include in their Sketchnotes to better help scaffold pulling out the big ideas for students who are still struggling in that regard.
To infinity & beyond!