Blogger’s Block: A quick remedy

generator.x show flickr photo by jared shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

What can nine post-it notes do for your next post?

I think of this space as a sandbox for thinking. Blogs can be a place to curate questions, ruminate, ideate and more. Seth Godin’s blog is one of the best-known examples of blogging for clarity. But sometimes an analog pre-blogging protocol is needed.  Here’s one you may want to try:

Step one: Get nine post-it notes ready

Step two: Have a quick look at Sunni Brown’s ‘Curriculum for a Future Mind’

Step three: Answer each row of questions on this planner. Give yourself three post-it notes for each cycle of questioning:


Row one: Who are the stakeholders involved in this issue? Your potential audience for this might be? When unpacking this issue, which perspectives are of value?

Row two: Go back to the Sunni Brown work and consider potential links with your thinking. OR take a look at this list of future-ready skills and consider the commonalities.

Row three: Which tools need to make their way into your toolkit for you to continue considering this issue? Who might be potential consultants and what would you want to ask them?

Roads At Night: Left, Left, Right flickr photo by Cayusa shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

And then?

You can either:

  1. video/audio record yourself explaining and exploring your post it notes
  2.  try to boil your thinking down to five key bullet points
  3. find three key images which underscore the essence of your thinking.
  4. write an open letter to potential stakeholders asking them relevant questions
  5. curate a list of current resources you have which are pivotal in unpacking this topic

…an online learning community is a manifestation of connectivism as knowledge is distributed throughout the community of people and devices. A blog would serve as a connectivist tool as it facilitates interaction between peer and social communities of learners, continuity of conversations and allows for anytime, anyplace, anywhere learning (Garcia et al., 2015). Other tenets of connectivism addressed through a blog include the ability to involve external experts, control of the environment by the learner as they make and maintain their own connections, and the shift in the role of the teacher as students become accountable to one another (Garcia, Brown, & Elbeltagi, 2012).


Everything I doodle, I doodle it for you


make your learning sketchy this November.

How do I get my sketch on? 

  1. Use The Noun Project, and provide access to relevant icons to allow you/your students to think about a bank of images related to your course.
  2. Keep it simple. Remember that visual note taking is not about designing a beautiful work of art.  It is about communicating and curating ideas. The Verbal to Visual Youtube course is phenomenal.  This guide to structuring visual notes is a great place to start.
  3. Get familiar with Sunni Brown.  Her TED talk ‘Doodlers Unite!‘ is worth the six minutes. If you dig Instagram, her account is a great one to follow. (Sidebar, the story behind Instagram would make for a perfect podcast to sketchnotify with the Entrepreneur course).

What might this look like in a DP class?

Pretty rad.  The collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity needed for students to construct a visual notes mural is what the cool kids call ‘ninja level.’  Below you’ll find a video of my thoughts on the work my IBDP Language and Literature students did with visual note taking and exam prep.  Full disclosure:  the video is a few years old, and back then I was clearly doing some weird thing with my voice, and I really liked  jazzy loops back then too.  Apologies. If you’d like to facilitate a visual note-taking session with your students, I’m always grateful to be invited into lessons.

PS if you prefer the iPad as your note-taking device of preference, do yourself a favor and get this free download (and congratulate Nicki Hambleton on the Dover Campus for being on the authoring team)

Shout out to Flickr for providing so many amazing Creative Commons images, the cover image for this post is courtesy of :


i like doodling