Why I Sketchnote

Why sketchnotes?

I only realised the other day that I have always liked creating things with pen and paper even when a computer could do a better job. During my early teenage years, I used to go with my stepdad's mum to local cricket games. She made the cricket teas and her daughter did the scoring. Scoring cricket fascinated me. I loved how much there was to do and how complicated the score sheet looked. I spent hours with pen, pencil, and ruler, carefully measuring out the boxes and drawing out score sheets for myself to use and trying to redesign them to make them more efficient. I could have just as easily found one on the internet and printed it out but I guess I've always liked putting pen to paper.

In another blog post I go more into why I got into edu-conferences and maths ones in particular but before I went to my first conference I followed lots of them on twitter and Oliver Caviglioli's (@olicav on twitter) sketchnotes of talks caught my eye. They were nicely organised, had a few graphics where needed and really gave a flavour of what the presenter was trying to convey. I bought Oliver's book, Dual Coding with Teachers, and read, very carefully, his advice on sketchotes. In June 2019 I was about to attend a full day's CPD run by Tom Sherrington (@teacherhead) so I decided I would give a skecthnote a go. Encouraged by Olicav and others on twitter I shared my sketchnote and the response was phenomenal, for the likes of me anyway. At the time of writing this it remains my second most-popular (in terms of twitter likes) sketchnote.

Tom Sherrington approved too and asked if he could include my sketchnote in his next blog post and of course, I agreed, the blog post can be found here. After that whenever I attended a mathsconf or a ResearchEd I took my sketchpad with me and started turning my scruffy notes into organised sketchnotes instead.

Why share?

I think there are a few reasons I share my sketchnotes. The main benefit I find of doing a sketchnote is that it actually makes me focus on and remember the content better but if I think about why I started sketchnoting I was inspired by someone else's sketchnotes and if I don't share I might not inspire someone else to start. When I saw a good skecthnote of a talk it would make me go and find out more about the presenter and their ideas. More recently I have been seeing them used by others to add their own notes and thoughts to and have them on display as reminders which is simply great. Truth is if no-one found them useful, I would still do them, I enjoy it far too much!