Sketchnotes 2.0

Sketchnote I made at EdTech Teacher iPad Summit

Here is a sketchnote that I made about the elements of Sketchnoting. I learned about this idea at the EdTech Teacher conference that I attended in November of 2015. I’ve been  working on sketchnoting 2.0 with my class and it has been met with great success! Sketchnotes 2.0  requires students to import heir

Sketchnotes 2.0  requires students to import their sketchnotes into the app Explain Everything and verbalizing the meaning behind what they created. So far this has been a concept that most of my class has really enjoyed. I think that it’s important to note that not all kids are going to love this concept on an iPad and that’s ok. It’s so important to  be flexible about the apps the kids choose to use. There are some who really prefer to do this work on paper. Respect for the learner is key. Kids can very easily snap a picture of their paper sketchnotes and upload that into Explain Everything too.

Below is an example of sketchnoting 2.0. This was done for a reading response to an article that was picked from the website .



Sketchnotes Lesson 3 Flow & Connectors

We have looked at fonts and icons so now let’s talk about the last few things that you need to think about when you sketchnote. The first idea that I want you to think about is the flow of your note. The flow is how your information is organized? Your note may be linear, it may follow a clockwise direction or it might spoke out from a main idea in the middle. The flow of you note is up to you.

Another element that you will want to think  about is connectors. These allow others to get an idea of how your thinking is linked. Like the flow, this concept is completely up to you.

Sketchnotes Lesson 2 – Icons

Easy Faces

Now that you have established and played around with fonts the next element of Sketchnoting  to think about is icons. A good place to start is drawing stick people. Take some time and draw as many stick figures as you can. Think of all the ways to show different emotions, feelings and actions.

Now that you have experimented with your stick figures it’s time to tackle some other icons. Take a look at all the emojis that are out there if you are stuck for ideas. You will find that there will be a number if icons that are multi-purpose. The earth, for example, is an image that could be used to represent the world, nature, green thinking ideas global ideas.

You don’t need to worry about being a great artist, you just need to worry about your icons and images making sense to you.  It would be really helpful to keep a library of the stick figures and icons that you have developed – everyone needs a reminder every once in a while. The longer you sketch note the more icons you will develop.

Sample Icons
Sketchnote Tips

Happy Sketching!

Works Cited
Chua, Sacha. Sketchnote Emotions. Digital image. Living an Awesome Life. N.p., 12 July 2013. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.
Duckworth, Sylvia, and Carol A. McGuire. Sketchnote Tips. Digital image. E-Tools for Language Tachers. Blogger, 2015. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.
Sketch Icons. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.

Sketchnotes Lesson 1 – The Art of Visual Note Taking

We are going to dive into the world of sketchnoting. What is sketchnoting? It is a concept that will help you to make your learning more visual. The idea behind this concept is to help you get a deeper understanding of what you are learning in a personal way. You don’t need to be a great artist you just need to have confidence in your ability to learn. We will experiment with using our iPads and going old school with paper. Remember to bring your stylus to class to make this an easier process.This is going to be a learning process for all of us so hold on tight and get ready to start on this new exciting journey.

Suggested iPad apps – Paper 53 (this one is my personal fav.) , Sketch Express, Notability 7 Explain Everything

Lesson 1 – Fonts

This first this that we are going to think about is the text or fonts we choose. We will take time to explore the fonts that work best for us. If you can master three different kinds of fonts then you are well on your way! Here is your mission:

1. Pick a font that will be your go to – this is the one that that you will use most of the time.

2. Pick a font that you will use when you want to emphasis a point.

3. Pick a font that you will use for titles

Works Cited
Keller, Yamairah. Sketchnote Fonts. Digital image. Life With a Side of Yamz. WordPress, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.
Sketcho Frenzy: The Basics of Visual Note-taking Claudine Delfin. Dir. Claudine Delfin. Sketcho Frenzy: The Basics of Visual Note-taking. Sketcho Freny, 7 Jan. 2012. Web. 12 May 2016. <>.

Technology, Pedagogy, Mindset, and now – Learning Environments

FullSizeRenderOur 1:1 iPad initiative in the Avon-Maitland District School Board has been responsible for the fastest and most significant change in mindset that I have had in 17 years of teaching.

As an NGL Technology Coach (Next Generation Learning) I have gone through a transformation as my role has organically evolved in the past two years. Initially, what we did as coaches was largely about the device, and seemed very app-centric. That’s understandable, as there was a lot of training and professional development to be done. But as we systematically put 4500 iPads into the hands of our grade 7 – 10 students, our focus became the professional development that would result in a transformation of pedagogy.

In 24 short months we have moved from the device, toward the PD and pedagogies associated with transformed practices, and a massive shift in system mindset. This innovators mindset, paired with a focus on new literacies, shifts the roles of teachers and learners and leverages the power of the device (among other things). We are slowly getting our heads out of our apps. 😉


The final piece in this transformative puzzle is that of the learning environment. If we are no longer delivering content in traditional forms on a regular basis, why must our classroom reflect traditional designs? My students no longer need to spend the majority of their time facing the ‘front’ of the room, looking at me. I know longer act as the sole provider of content, but more a facilitator,or guide, in an effort to tap into the creativity of my students. They now work in a much more collaborative environment (both physical and digitally) and are learning to communicate and problem solve in new and exciting ways. Their learning environment should be reflective of that transformation. Hence, our agile learning environment.

This collection of flexible and agile work spaces instantly changed the feel of our room. There is no seating plan. There are no assigned partners or seats. In truth, in some cases there are no seats – as students choose to stand in Stand2Learn desks, or at adjustable and mobile ‘Ergotron’ standing desks. There is even a couch.

The addition IMG_4019of transparent, wall-mounted “idea panels” for brainstorming, and the ever-popular window bar (which takes advantage of our 5 metre window that overlooks thousands of acres of fields and forests) add an openness and airiness to the room that is refreshing.


The students IMG_4021have been asked to be very mindful and metacognitive when it comes to justifying the workspaces they choose for certain tasks. Already, they are aware that the sofa, been bags, and ottoman are better for collaborative tasks that involve conversation. They suggest that the window bar offers a more private area where students choose to minimize distractions. They’ve even said the view allows them to focus and visualize while reading and writing! These, of course, are early observations and are qualitative at best. The ultimate goal is that our agile learning environment has a positive impact on student outcome.


When paired with an innovators mindset, a transformative approach to teaching and learning, and 1:1 mobile devices, I’m certain that our new agile learning environment will create results that reach far beyond engagement and motivation.

If you’d like to see more pictures, or have a conversation about our classroom, follow me on twitter and DM me at @iAMTrevorHammer

Digital Citizenship: To Educate, Respect and Protect

“Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology” – Dr. Mike Ribble

When meeting with parents, teachers, or other stakeholders in the conversation around tech-enabled teaching and learning, we often come back to the idea of balance. The idea of striking a balance between new technologies and existing practices, as well as balancing the time we spend in front of a screen, as opposed to away from a screen, is very important.  But perhaps we should broaden the conversation to consider all of the elements of Digital Citizenship; of which balance is only one.

digital_citizenship_1280-740x523The nine elements of digital citizenship, as coined by Dr. Mike Ribble, can be broken down into three groups. Consider, as we ride this tidal wave of technology, that it is our professional responsibility to Educate, Respect, and Protect while working in online environments.  When we Educate, we’re talking about things like digital communication, digital literacy and digital commerce. Respect relates to digital etiquette, digital access and digital law. To Protect means to think about digital rights, digital health and digital safety. It is imperative that we not only speak about these elements of citizenry, by model them, and teach specifically to them in our classrooms.

Common Sense Media is an incredible online resources for parents, teachers, and other consumers of technology, that provides lessons, conversations and guidelines around things like:

  • Learning with TechnologyCommon sense Logo
  • Cyberbullying
  • Screen time
  • Professional Development
  • Digital Citizenship

It is a fantastic starting point for those that are interested in conversations and lesson ideas around rights and responsibilities in online spaces.

If you have any questions about ways to incorporate digital citizenship ideas into your classroom, feel free to contact your NGL Tech Coach. We’d be happy to bring you into the conversation.


Twitter to the Rescue!

SuperTwitterIn our most recent PD sessions and department meetings, we’ve really begun to push the notion that Twitter is one the most powerful tools to build learning networks. It also allows you to share, store and aggregate ideas to push your practice to the next level.

If you’ve yet to join Twitter, I’d encourage you to do so, and I’d like to offer you a few quick tips to help you along the way.

  1. Create an account that includes your full name. Don’t be cryptic or crafty. We want to find you, connect with you and learn with you. As an example, my twitter handle is @iAMTrevorHammer.
  2. Start by following some professionals that you know and trust. Members of the program department, NGL team, and like-minded individuals in your family of schools make a great start!
  3. Dip your toes in the Twitter pool by simply ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’ posts that match your mindset and professional goals. Sharing those tweets with your network will amplify your practice and philosophy.
  4. Use and follow the hashtag #amdsblearns. As a team, we use this hashtag to make it easier to remain connected, and share a conversation around teaching and learning.
  5. Reach out and ask for guidance. I’d be happy to meet with you and walk you through the use and benefits of Twitter. And I’d love to expand the conversation to things like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and Paper.Li.

Let’s push the conversation, get connected and share! Follow us to get the conversation rolling!

@iAMTrevorHammer   @iAMRickSaunders    @iAMJoeyJackson    @iAMKCarr @LeighCassell

It’s not just about access to information – but the ability to learn from one another!

connected-learningI’ve long said that the best way to provide PD is to leverage the expertise within our ranks. And, last Friday in Mitchell, we did just that! I think it is fair to say that we witnessed, and were part of, something incredible.  A collection of dedicated professionals that represent all of the major partners in education – including ECE’s, EA’s, Teachers, Senior Staff, Principals, Vice-Principals and Program Staff – came together to learn from one another. It was an incredible day, and it is due to the vast array of interests, passions, talents, and skills that exist within our Board.

George Couros certainly set the tone for the day. Not only did he give us a lot to think about, but I think his message validated our purpose, and echoed the sentiments of many within our board.

One of the key pieces that I took away from that day, is that by connecting with one another, either F2F or via technology, we are stronger, more effective, and more efficient because of our ability to learn from on another.

As we move through the remaining months of this school year, it is my hope that you remained buoyed by the energy, knowledge and excitement that came for learning from our peers. I also hope that you manage to remain connected, and continue to make new connections with staff across the board so we can continue to move forward in our shared vision.

Thank you for being such an important part of a very successful and meaningful Professional Development day.



Thanks to Presenters and Participants

I wanted to personally thank everyone who came to yesterday’s PD Day. I had the privilege of visiting many of the sessions and meeting many of the presenters and participants, throughout the day. I saw a lot of powerful presentations. I also saw evidence of a great deal of preparation and practice. It obviously took a lot of time and energy to put together these workshops. All the presenters should be commended for their contributions to our teachers, our EAs and our ECEs.

I also wanted to commend our participants. Your engaged and thoughtful approach made the presentations even better. I also heard a lot of positive chatter in the hallways. Your open-minded and innovative mindsets make PD Days more powerful and that translate into powerful teaching and better-prepared students.

Please feel free to add your own comments here.

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