Workshop resources for my workshop at the Riding the Wave Conference in Gimli, Manitoba.

I use doodling in class as a way to self-regulate towards effortful, focused attention. This facilitates moving the content of conference talks from my working memory into my long term memory. Since 2011, I have drawings for over 300 talks. It seems mind boggling to me but I love how my drawings act as anchor points for my memory and allow me to recall so much from each session.

I call it my “memory palace” after a participant at one of my sessions said my description of how I use my drawing as a memory aid reminded him of Joshua Foer’s book, Moonwalking with Einstein and related Ted Talk about how he accidentally became a memory champion.

I’m heavily influenced by How Learning Works, which was the basis for the Teacher For Learning Module I created this past summer with eCampusOntario as part of the Extend Ontario professional development project. These principles for learning are also aligned with the principles for universal design for learning.

Universal Design For Learning

I reference Sunni Brown and Dan Roam and the activities I use are from other brilliant people I’ve been lucky enough to meet over the years.

The standard, “I can draw” circle,  I learned from the brilliant and magical Nancy White.

Nick Sousanis fun and abstract comic making activity #GridsGestures activity, maps the shape of our day,

Some inspiration can be pulled from Mike Rhodes, Sketchnote Handbook

Visual Notetaking Patterns
Or, we could, as Nick suggests, pull inspiration from our ceilings.

I’ve been a big fan of Nick for ages and I love to reference his book Unflattening whenever I can. Breaking the barriers of text in academia is a huge accomplishment. Also, the book is stunning and brilliant so I think everyone should have a copy.

Liberating Structures activity: Drawing Together to identify a professional challenge only using 5 basic shapes. This is a good icebreaker for this groups to get to know each other and connect.


As part of this new domain,, I’ve been trying different subdomains, like this workshop site and in particular, SPLOTs. I am totally chuffed that my  totally worked as an image collector. [[side note, I’m very grateful to cogdog for his work in creating these smallest possible online tools (or whatever the acronym du jour is). I have recently become a patreon supporter and I recommend others do too. There’s already another update, which I have yet to do once I get a moment!]]

I have discovered that some emails did not work because of SPF (Sender Policy Framework) set up by their mail client servers. Not sure how to get around that other than ask everyone to use their gmail. There is a feature on the splot collector to just have a form but I love the ease of emailing.e

I rounded out the session showing some ways people can practice their new visual skills. They can see examples at the Extend Assignment Bank and I encourage everyone to play along.  Get on board the Extend Ontario fun train (even all the way into Manitoba!)

In particular, try mind mapping your syllabus and taking notes using the Cornell notes method.

Finally, since I didn’t even get into the fun that can be had with digital drawing tools and sketchnoting specifically, I highly recommend this very helpful slide deck from Sylvia Duckworth. She’s doing a cross Canada tour this spring, so I also encourage educators to check her out.

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