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Brightspark Blog

March 27, 2016 | 9:00 AM

Educator's Guide to Bringing Sketchnotes Into the Classroom

Written by Brightspark Travel


Source: publicdomainpictures.net

As educators recognize the importance of student learning styles and the differences between linear and non-linear thinking, a “sketchnote revolution” is emerging. Gone are the days of teachers scolding students for drawing in the back of the classroom — now experts know that doodlers gain a 29 percent increase in information retention.

Bringing Sketchnotes to the Classroom
Image Source: Sacha Chua


Because it requires students to listen, make hand movements and create visual representations, sketchnoting appeals to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning styles. Humans naturally remember images better than words, so sketchnotes increase recall. Additionally, sketchnoting encourages creativity, as students must organize their thoughts outside of their notebooks’ lines.

Students can utilize sketchnoting to record their thoughts during your lectures. Give them some tips on the process, as well as visual tools they can use within their notes.


Sketchnotes can be taken both on a tablet with a stylus or on paper with pen/markers. There are pros and cons of both techniques, as outlined in the blog post here.

When listening to a lecture, students don’t have to scurry to create a full, polished sketchnote. Beginners usually go back and edit or “fill-in” their notes. For example, many people simply organize written notes during a lecture, and add pictures and interesting lettering afterwards.

Warn students not to expect a sketchnote masterpiece on their first try; like any craft, it takes practice. Encourage them to practice sketchnoting in situations outside of the classroom, such as while listening to a podcast or TED talk, or watching a T.V. show.

Visual Tools

Mapping out multiple ideas on a single piece of paper takes visual and spatial organization tools: 

  • Structural graphics such as paths, diagrams, word maps or even numbered boxes with notes will help you organize the page as a whole.
  • Containers such as speech bubbles, frames, clouds, bullet point lists and 
  • arrows help you organize specific thoughts.
  • Basic drawings created from quick and simple shapes can be easy yet expressive. Consult the picture on the right for simple yet creative drawing ideas. 
  • Use different lettering styles to call attention to words or phrases, indicate a quote or add mood. Check out this blog on quick lettering.

Look out for our upcoming blog post on sketchnoting on tour. To make sure you're not missing out on anything, subscribe to email notifications from the Brightspark Travel blog by entering your email address in the top right-hand corner of this page. 

Over the past year, an increasing amount of educators have introduced sketchnotes into the classroom. If you’re one of them, comment below to tell us about your experience.


Topics: Classroom Resources, Education Trends & Debates

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