Drawing Notes

--Originally published at FLN Hub – nodes

I used to make fill-in-the-blank notes for my students to complete while watching a video. For a particular subset of students, that works well. Helping lower the barrier for learning by providing a construct for information gathering led to more engagement when it came time to use the information.

Then I took on AP Biology.

Some very wise people told me to teach the material and not provide so much structure. I wouldn't be able to put in the amount of time it would take to get everything pre-made. And boy, were they right. (I've taught AP Chem, but that was a long time ago. I needed their reminders.)

I've also wanted to move to a more free-form video...not as structured. More fluid. Focused more on deep content. Trying to write while I spoke at the same time was difficult to maintain. So, in response, I've moved to drawing out the lesson notes, scanning it, and talking over the pictures.

flickr photo shared by bennettscience under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

flickr photo shared by bennettscience under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

This has helped my students improve their own visual representations of the concepts. It's also helped me tell a better story (all science is a story anyways. Now it's an illustrated story).

I sketch the notes...maybe 20 minutes to get everything sorted, and then scan it in to the computer. I drop the image into Camtasia and go for it.

Low key, but early indications are that it's just as effective as fill in the blank. But now, students can fill in their own blanks.


    • Thanks Matt. I’m still trying to work out a good workflow. It can be time consuming to edit the videos, but I think in the long run, it’s still faster than making slides or follow-along notes. Students still seem on board, too.

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