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Nicki Hambleton

Learning and Thinking out Loud - Visual Notetaking and beyond


We all love to learn, but how do you share, recall and build on all your learning? When you look back, how much can you remember? Have you ever wondered how to organize your notes or content more effectively? How do you or your students share learning with others?

Whether you prefer to work digitally or traditionally on paper, working more visually encourages information retention. What does it mean to “think more visibly”? You will learn the basics of creating visual notes, concepts, and maps and to encourage this, we’ll practice some “thinking routines” from Harvard’s “Making Thinking Visible” course. Together, we will uncover the mystery and techniques of visual note taking as we play with ideas to think and share learning more out loud. If you haven’t tried out Paper 53 or Adobe Draw, get ready to dive in and learn all about these wonderful apps to capture your thinking.

Get ready to be creative, to collaborate and to try out new skills or expand existing ones. You will have lots to take back to your classroom to help you, your students and colleagues to think, create and share more visually. Think you can’t draw? It doesn’t matter! There will be lots of hands on and fun ways to explore thinking and working more visually for all subjects. There will be games, laughter, sharing and hopefully no tears!

Combining visible thinking with powerful note taking will transform your own learning out of your head and onto the paper or screen.


Participants will:

  • Understand more about visual thinking and how to make visual notes
  • Learn the basics of sketchnoting and experiment with iPad apps to create visual maps of their thinking
  • Play with a variety of apps to help students to understand, retain and share learning more easily


Nicki is an Apple Distinguished Educator teaching internationally in the UK, Italy, Africa and Singapore for over 20 years. She is an advocate of amalgamating Technology and Art authentically in the classroom and passionate about visual notetaking. She recently published an eBook, Sketchnoting for Teaching and Learning, collaborating with other sketchnoters to inspire notetakers. She loves teaching Middle School at UWCSEA and has taught art at Primary, MYP, GCSE, IB and A Level. As a digital literacy coach she works across departments to help teachers to use technology creatively with their students. Nicki was a member of the COETAIL online2 cohort and is trained in Cognitive Coaching. You can read her blog on embedding technology into the classroom and view her visual notes on Flickr to see how she merges text and image.

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