05 June 2015

Using Visual Notes for Memory and Understanding

Are you an doodler? Associating notes and terms with images is helpful for recalling information later, so doodling (or finding images that relate and then pasting in) is a good strategy for taking something mundane like note-taking and creating an "experience" that will be easier to call upon during test time. I still remember the tank I drew with icicles hanging from it in 10th grade on my Cold War notes.

This brings me to today's use of visual notes. As much as it pains me to say, "victory" on the ACT does not always go to the "smartest" students, but instead, to those who can best play the game. In a bubble, I'd much rather teach math concepts and skills, but when it comes to gaming the ACT, sometimes those get in the way.

This is best exemplified in my experience from my 2 experiences taking the ACT as a student. The first time, I had a TI-83 at my side, checking every graph and solution I could, searching for just the right formula. I didn't finish that section - I don't even remember being that close. The second time I took the ACT, I did not have the graphing calculator (I have no idea where the graphing calculator I'd been using went) - I didn't even have a scientific calculator! I told my dad on the way to the test that I needed to get a calculator, so we stopped at a supermarket, bought a 2 dollar four function calculator. The magic of my 2 dollar calculator test was that I HAD to skip around to the things I could do easiest. I was much more agile in my thinking, skipped around more quickly when I felt stuck, and actually did 5 points higher that time. My "knowledge" got in the way the first time from me showing what I definitely knew, and there were probably some questions I could have done that I never got to.

I found a list of strategies for each section of the ACT on sparknotes.com for my students and I've tasked them to make a "poster" for each section and the included strategies. My skill set and interest leans toward illustrating in any whiteboard or drawing app, but I left open the option for using the PicCollage app to bring in images and text or Haiku Deck to make a slide show with an image for each strategy.

Here's the example I created using the Paper app based on tips from this video that I showed earlier in class:

Here's a preliminary student example:
My favorite part of this one is the crossed arms emoji for "eliminate answers". :)
More visual notes resources:
6 Apps To Visualize Notes on iPad
Sketchnotes and Visual Thinking Note-taking - This page summarizes and links to many OTHER resources
Show with Media: Visual Note-taking

Happy note-taking!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing!