You might have heard an increase in the term “sketchnote” being used over the past year or two. Sketchnoting is a way of taking notes that involves using creative text and images to record notes. I’ve tried it a few times, and not only do my notes look really cool, but it helps me to remember the really important bits of a presentation or conference. If you are an educational psychology buff, you are probably saying to yourself, “Of course it does! That’s the Dual Coding Theory!”
You don’t have to be an artist or even a creative-type to sketchnote. All you need is a paper and a pencil— or if you are on the iPad, you will want to experiment with Paper by FiftyThree.
How Does Paper 53 Work?
Paper is a free app that has some in-app purchases. When you download the free app, you will have a limited palatte of colors, the calligraphy pen, and an eraser. You might want to start by checking out the guide, Making Paper.
Paper is organized into Journals. Users have the ability to create new journals or add pages to existing journals. You can also customize the front cover by choosing one of the covers available in the app or using an image from the camera roll, and of course you can name each journal.There are two ways to unlock the color palette and additional drawing tools within Paper by 53. The first way is through the in-app purchases— roughly $8.95 in all. The other way is to purchase a Pencil by FiftyThree, which is the special stylus made by the company. When you sync the Pencil with the app, it unlocks all the tools. I was fortunate to receive a Pencil as a gift for my birthday (and then again for the holidays, but that’s a different story), and it has made all the difference in my ability to create sketch notes. I have found that using the Pencil greatly increases my comfort with writing and sketching/drawing in the app.
Notes or sketches made in Paper can be captured to the camera roll from the landing page. Open a journal, choose a page, and select the share button. Tap “Save to Camera.” This allows the sketches made in the app to be app-smashed into other apps.
Be sure to watch the video tutorial on the Paper by FiftyThree Website. Also check out Mix by FiftyThree. It’s a great way for students to play off the work of others.
Common Core Connection
Like many apps featured on this blog, using Paper by 53 helps students develop their communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills more than it helps them with specific Common Core standards. As students learn to take visual notes, highlighting key information with words and images rather than recording every word of a lecture, they are thinking critically about main ideas. When students start a Journal or notebook, it’s blank– and the blank pages mean that students have total creative control over what they will do with each page.
Students can use Paper to do a number of things in class:
- Take visual notes
- Sketch an idea
- Create a Thinking Map
- Remix an image related to curriculum found on Mix
- Draw the background for slides used in Keynote, Haiku Deck, or Google Presentations
What Do You Think?
There are so many more ideas for using Paper with students in class. How are you using Paper with students?