Visual Note Taking Explained for Teachers (9 Books)

September 22, 2017
Visual note taking helps the brain process information in a more effective and sustainable way. It also provides a powerful channel of communication and helps in understanding complex topics. Studies have also shown that ‘Visual note-taking such as doodling increases memory retention rates by nearly 30 percent, and opens creative pathways, strengthens focus, and inspires self-expression.’ As a teacher, you can use the power of visualization to help you with visual mapping of ideas, to showcase interconnections and explain interrelationships. The purpose of today’s post is to share with you some of our favourite books we recommend for teachers keen on exploring the potential of visualization in learning and teaching. These are guides to help you learn how to visually capture your thinking, create sketchnotes, draw your ideas, and communicate more effectively and clearly through visual notes. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback in our Facebook page. Links to the books are under the graphic.

productivity tips
1- Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Commitment, Innovation, and High Performance, by David Sibbet  (Author)
‘Visual Teams uses visual tools and methods to help teams—both face-to-face and virtual—reach high performance in today's work environment. As teams become more and more global and distributed, visualization provides an important channel of communication—one that opens up the group's mind to improving work systems and processes by understanding relationships, interconnections, and big picture contexts.’

2- The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking, by Mike Rohde  (Author)
‘This gorgeous, fully illustrated handbook tells the story of sketchnotes--why and how you can use them to capture your thinking visually, remember key information more clearly, and share what you've captured with others. Author Mike Rohde shows you how to incorporate sketchnoting techniques into your note-taking process--regardless of your artistic abilities--to help you better process the information that you are hearing and seeing through drawing, and to actually have fun taking notes.’

3- Draw Your Big Idea: The Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts Into Action and Dreams Into Reality, by Nora Herting  (Author), Heather Willems  (Author)
‘In this increasingly visual age, images speak louder than words. Studies show that images also help people think. Visual note-taking such as doodling increases memory retention rates by nearly 30 percent, and opens creative pathways, strengthens focus, and inspires self-expression. Driven by these groundbreaking findings, entrepreneurs Nora Herting and Heather Willems founded ImageThink, a graphic facilitation firm that has helped an elite roster of clients—from Google to Pepsi to NASA—visualize their ideas and transform their creative processes using simple drawing techniques that anyone can master. Draw Your Big Idea presents their sought-after guidance and more than 150 drawing exercises tailored to brainstorming, refining, and executing ideas in the home, design studio, and office. With this workbook, readers will learn to beat creative block—for good!’

4- The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide: How to use your listening, thinking and drawing skills to make meaning Paperback, by Brandy Agerbeck  (Author)
‘Graphic facilitation is serving a group by writing and drawing their conversation live and large to help them do their work. It is a powerful tool to help people feel heard, to develop a shared understanding as a group, and to be able to see and touch their work in a way they couldn’t access before. Through the 25 guiding principles in this book, you will develop your ability to listen deeply, think critically and draw swiftly to make great work happen.’

5- Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity, by David Sibbet  (Author)
‘Visual Meetings explains how anyone can implement powerful visual tools, and how these tools are being used in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to facilitate both face-to-face and virtual group work. This dynamic and richly illustrated resource gives meeting leaders, presenters, and consultants a slew of exciting tricks and tools,’

6- The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures , by Dan Roam  (Author)
‘"There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem." So writes Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin, the international bestseller that proves that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest discoveries in vision science, Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools.’

7- The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, by Sunni Brown  (Author)
’Sunni Brown's mission is to bring the power of the Doodle to the rest of us. She leads the Revolution defying all those parents, teachers, and bosses who say Stop doodling! Get serious! Grow up! She overturns misinformation about doodling, demystifies visual thinking, and shows us the power of applying our innate visual literacy. She'll teach you how to doodle any object, concept, or system imaginable, shift habitual thinking patterns, and transform boring text into displays that can engage any audience.’

8- Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping, by Nancy Margulies  (Author), Nusa Maal  (Author)
‘Learn how to use visual note-taking to capture information through stroke-by-stroke exercises and how to apply this teaching strategy to group processes and curriculum planning.’

9- Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work Hardcover, by Dan Roam  (Author)
‘No more blah-blah-blah. Through Vivid Thinking, we can make the most complicated subjects suddenly crystal clear. Whether trying to understand a Harvard Business School class, or what went down in the Conan versus Leno battle for late-night TV, or what Einstein thought about relativity, Vivid Thinking provides a way to clarify anything.’

9 Educational iPad Apps to Get Students Ready for School

September 21, 2017
A couple of weeks ago we shared  a collection of iPad apps for back to school and today we are featuring another collection inspired by iTunes App Store's Get Ready for School. These are apps we curated specifically to help students get into the 'school mode'. We featured apps that provide students with homework help, access to educational materials, help with math and many more. Check them out and share with us your feedback. Links to the apps are under the visual.

9 Educational iPad Apps to Get Students Ready for School
1- Khan Academy
‘Learn using videos, interactive exercises, and in-depth articles in math (arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, linear algebra), science (biology, chemistry, physics), economics, and even the humanities with playlists on art history, civics, finance, and more.’

2- Socratic- Homework answers and math solver
‘Take a PHOTO of your homework question or math equation and get explanations, videos, and step-by-step help INSTANTLY. Supports Math, Science, History, English, Economics, and more. Completely free, NO in-app purchases. “This app is a lifesaver” ‘

3- iStudiez Pro Legendary Planner
‘Unique built-in planner lets you input and easy manage all types of schedules including classic, alternating (A & B weeks), rotating and block schedule.
Not only you can enter most common course details, but also add instructors with all related information such as office hours, affiliation, phone number and email address. As well you are welcome to add holiday periods and even cancel separate classes in case of outstanding events.’

4- StudentLife Organizer
‘StudentLife provides clear display and easy scheduling of all your classes, lectures, homework, projects, essays, sports, holidays and all other events in your life. Allowing you to easily plan your future work & play. This is the perfect app for all students, whether you are currently at School, College, University or even just attending Evening Classes.’

5- Photomath
‘Simply point your camera toward a math problem and Photomath will magically show the result with a detailed step-by-step instructions.’

6- Remind
‘Remind, formerly Remind101, is a free text messaging app that helps teachers, students, and parents communicate quickly and efficiently. By connecting school communities, Remind makes it easy for everyone to succeed together. Remind is based in San Francisco, CA and is used by more than 35 million people in 3 out of 4 U.S. school districts.’

7- Mathway
‘With millions of users and billions of problems solved, Mathway is the world's #1 math problem solver. From basic algebra to complex calculus, Mathway instantly solves your most difficult math problems - simply type your problem in (or point your camera and snap a pic!) to receive instant free answers. Need detailed step-by-step solutions? Mathway is like a private tutor in the palm of your hand, providing instant homework help anywhere, anytime.’

8- StudyBlue
‘Take your notes into the wild. They won’t bite. The StudyBlue app is like getting magical powers to transform everything from a music festival bathroom line to boring bus/train/plane trips into productive study time. Hold 10+ million students and 400+ million flashcards in the palm of your hand!’

9- Quizlet
‘Quizlet is the easiest way to practice and master what you’re learning. Create your own flashcards and study sets or choose from millions created by other students — it’s up to you. More than 20 million students study for free with Quizlet each month!’

Here Is A New Web Tool for Creating Educational Visuals

September 21, 2017
Edify is a new web tool released by the popular animation platform Animaker. Edify provides teachers and students with a collection of creative tools that enable them to create engaging and beautiful visuals. Using a simple drag and drop editor, they can easily design educational posters, infographics, animated videos, video infographics and many more. Teachers can also use Edify as a classroom management tool where they can create class groups, assign tasks, track progress, communicate with students and much more.

Edify offers a free period of 14 days after which you need to upgrade to the paid plans to continue services. Teachers are allowed to add up to 30 students in the free trial.Watch the video below to learn more about Edify.

Courtesy of Edshelf

Two Award-winning Educational Apps Offer Free Access for A Limited Period of Time

September 20, 2017
Fingerprint and Highlights for Children have partnered on an outreach offering every teacher in America a free subscription to their popular Highlights Every Day app and a copy of Scribble Press: Creative Book Maker for Kids for their classrooms. To date, kids have played more than 2 million activities, inspired by content from the beloved Highlights magazine.

The original Scribble has been adopted in 35,000 classrooms and used by kids 6-12 to create more than 3 million digital books, inspiring a whole generation of writers and artists. Beginning on September 14th through October 31st, teachers can gain access to these award-winning educational tools through the Fingerprint Play website by registering their school email address. 

This app empowers children to imagine, write, and illustrate their own stories. Featuring drawing tools, backgrounds, stickers, stamps and music to inspire creativity, and more than 35 fill-in-the-blank story starters ranging from the silly to the sublime, there is something for every aspiring author. The original Scribble has been adopted in 35,000 classrooms and used by kids 6-12 to create more than 3 million digital books, inspiring a whole generation of writers and artists.

Highlights Every Day features all-original fun with a purpose content from the childhood experts at Highlights and is updated daily with new exciting experiences for kids X-X. The app features over 1000 activities including original videos and quizzes, engaging fiction and non-fiction to read, fun puzzles and brain challenges that build skills and stretch young minds –included, of course, is the iconic Hidden Pictures.  Teachers (and children) can scroll through the collection and personalize their experience by saving their favorite content to a page where they can easily access it throughout the day.

Source: Email communication with Rob Wheat.

6 Great Interactive Tools to Help Students in Their Writing

September 20, 2017
Below is a collection of some good student interactives from ReadWriteThink. These are tools to help students with their writing. They can use them to brainstorm ideas, develop an outline,  take notes, map events in a story, organize information logically and many more. The tools are easy and simple to use and anything created on them can be printed and shared with others. We invite you to check them out and share with your colleagues. Links and reviews of the tools are under the visual.

6 Great Interactive Tools to Help Students in Their Writing

1- Plot Diagram
‘The Plot Diagram is an organizational tool focusing on a pyramid or triangular shape, which is used to map the events in a story. This mapping of plot structure allows readers and writers to visualize the key features of stories.’

2- Essay Map
‘This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline that includes an introductory statement, main ideas they want to discuss or describe, supporting details, and a conclusion that summarizes the main ideas.’

3- Compare and Contrast Map
‘This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point.’

4- Venn Diagram
‘This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles. Students identify and record concepts that can be placed in one of the circles or in the overlapping areas, allowing them to organize their information logically.’

5- Persuasion Map
‘The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate. Students begin by determining their goal or thesis. They then identify three reasons to support their argument, and three facts or examples to validate each reason.’

6- ReadWriteThink Notetaker
‘This hierarchical outlining tool allows students to organize up to five levels of information for reading and writing activities. During or after reading, the Notetaker can be used to compile and organize reading notes, research, and related ideas.’

6 Good Android Apps for Book Lovers

September 19, 2017
Looking for some good book apps to use on your Android ? The list below has you covered. It features 6 popular Android apps that will enable you to discover,  access, browse and read books on the go. Some of these apps provide access to huge libraries of free audio books and podcasts.  You may want to go through them and see which ones work for you. Links to the apps are under the visual.

6 Good Android Apps for Book Lovers

1- Goodreads
‘Tap into the world's largest social network for readers with the Goodreads Android app! Read thousands of book reviews by your friends and other Goodreads members, keep a virtual bookshelf of what you've read, and build your to-read list as you discover great books on the app.’

2- Kindle
‘The Kindle app puts millions of books at your fingertips. It’s the app for every reader, whether you’re a book reader, magazine reader, or newspaper reader—and you don’t need to own a Kindle to use it. Choose from over four million Kindle books from the Kindle Store or enjoy popular magazines like The Economist and Reader’s Digest with high-resolution color images.’

3- Adobe Digital Editions
‘One eBook reader for all your Adobe DRM protected books across your Android Devices, iPad, Mac or PC. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is free-to-download and use, and completely ad-free. Use it to read EPUB and PDF books, both online and offline. Borrow ebooks from many public libraries for use with ADE.’

4- LibriVox Audio Books
‘LibriVox Audio Books offers unlimited access to over 24,000 free audiobooks. Each LibriVox audiobook can be streamed over the internet or downloaded for later use without any charge. The LibriVox Audio Books app includes listings for new recordings, featuring classic best sellers and out of print treasures.’

5- Audiobooks from Audible
‘Home to a library of over 180,000 audio books, podcasts, and Audible Channels, with complete customization of your listening experience. Instantly begin your 30-day free trial today and stream your first audio book free!’

6- Wattpad Free Books
‘On Wattpad, you'll find all the stories to keep you hooked! Discover free stories and books created by writers around the world. Whatever you’re into—whether it’s romance, science fiction, mystery, comedy, action adventure, fantasy, young adult fiction or fanfiction—you’ll find it all for free on Wattpad.’