Professional Learning

Your Guide for the NOW Conference (Ep. 195)

The NOW Conference–coming up on July 29th–is always a great day of professional learning. At times, however, it can present you with an overwhelming amount of information. That is why Nic is excited for the conference guide that is coming this summer! Listen as she discusses the guide, how to use it, and why sketchnotes are always a good idea when it’s time to learn.  Full Episode Transcript Below.

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Nic: Yay. It’s summer, for a lot of us, at least. And in summer, a lot of times, of course, we’re going to take some time to recharge ourselves, get excited for just making art. Maybe we go on vacations. Maybe some of us are teaching summer school. But one thing that I always do every summer is I obtain some new professional development. And one of my favorite places to grab professional development is at the NOW Conference. This year, summer 2021, it is going to be July 29th. And I’m so excited because every single time we present another conference, which has been multiple, I don’t even know the number now. It’s biannual and it’s been years. But every time that we present another conference, it’s that much better. And today, we’re going to talk about something new to the conference, which is the conference guide. This is Everyday Art Room and I’m your host, Nic Hahn.

Let’s start this episode off with another familiar voice from the Art of Education University. Tim Bogatz, who is the host of the podcast Art Ed Radio, our longest running podcast with the Art of Education University, is going to tell us a little bit about Art Ed NOW Conference, some of the new things that we are introducing and some of the favorites that will continue to be part of this conference. Let’s listen to what Tim has to say.

Tim: Hi, this is Tim Bogatz. I am the host of Art Ed Radio and one of the co-hosts of the Now Conference. And I guess you could say I’m the person responsible for putting together everything for the conference. I’m really excited for what we have coming this summer and I have just a couple of cool things that I want to talk about to go along with the event.

Okay. First, we have a conference guide, which is going to be a really cool new way for you to follow along with everything at the conference, focus your learning, and get some concrete takeaways from the day of or whenever you happen to access all of the recordings. I know every time you go to a conference you’re just flooded with information and learning and it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything and remember everything. So our hope is that with this guide, you’ll have one place to take notes and make art and register your learning and it can be incredibly helpful as you try to figure out what you want to implement in your classroom and what might work for you and your students.

Now, the conference guide is going to be about 40 pages long with a lot of information about presenters, their ideas, and what they’ve put together for the NOW Conference. We’ll also have a lot of space for you to take notes, to do drawings, to get creative, to make art. And it will also guide you to even further learning, if you find something that you want to explore or something you want to learn more about. So we’re really excited about all of the possibilities there. Maybe best of all, it features a little bit of work from the one and only Nic Hahn. So be on the lookout for that.

Now, if you registered early enough to get a swag box, you’ll get a copy of the guide in there with all of the awesome art making materials that come with the swag box. If you don’t have a box coming, the guide will be available digitally for you to download and use so everybody’s got one. Or I guess if you’re like me, for you to download print off on the school printer and use, but shh, that’s just between you and me.

Then the other thing that I’m really looking forward to is the pre-conference. This will be the third time we’ve done the pre-conference, which is basically an evening for all of us to get together over zoom, spend time with other art teachers, play games, make art, and just kind of connect with the art teacher community. We have an amazing artistic drink menu that you can make. I’m including the Rene margarita, the Salvador daiquiri, and the Tintoretto sour. We love making those names. But we’re also going to be playing art teacher family feud and we will have an art making studio activity for everyone. So it’s free. It’s fun. It’s a great way to spend the evening before the conference. If you register for the conference, you’ll get all the information about that night about the pre-conference when it gets a little bit closer to the conference date and I really hope you can join us.

Nic: That gives us some great insight as to what to expect with the Art of Education University’s Art Ed NOW this year. Again, I’m really excited about this conference guide. Like I can’t even handle it, not only because I’m part of it, but because I think it’s going to be so valuable. This is one of the things that I really struggled with, with any conference, is just knowing what is coming up, writing, scribbling, scribbling, and writing down all the information about each of the people presenting. A lot of times, I’m really struggling to make sure that I have their contact information or their names spelled correctly, because I love to celebrate online. To have this resource in your hand is going to be so, so, so, so valuable.

So as Tim mentioned, I did participate quite a bit. Well, I mean, I was excited with my portion. It’s a very small of the entire conference, but it took me a long time because I wanted to make something very, very special. In the past for the Art Ed Now Conference, I have presented on sketchnotes. Sketchnotes are something that I’ve had in my practice, in my classroom, since I moved to the middle school maybe 12 years ago. When I moved into the middle school, I just truly decided that yep, sketchnoting is going to be part of my practice for my students. It’s always been a part of my practice for me. I’ve done pro packs on sketchnoting. I’ve done little mini sessions. I love sketchnoting.

I love sharing about sketchnoting and the team with Art Ed Now knows that. So they reached out to me and they asked me to create a portion of the conference guide. It’s just a couple of sheets of paper to kind of guide us through sketchnoting. I thought what would pair up really nicely with this podcast is going through the handout that I created and kind of just explaining some of the images. Of course, you might not have this in front of you right now, but when or if you join us for the Art Ed Now Conference, you can open up, re-listen to this again, skip over the intro and just kind of look at the images that I created so that you can understand best how I like to teach my students how to sketchnote. So let’s get started there.

The sketchnote guide is a two-page fold, and I was really excited to find out that I got to use color on this as well. I drew the guide on ProCreate on my iPad and I love doing that. I think it’s one of the most powerful programs, at least one that I’m continuing to learn on. I’ve been using it for years, but I have so much more to learn. I haven’t been able to … I will always have more to learn. That’s the bottom line. Right?

So I’m a developing artist on the iPad and I was able to create this image using color and different brushes from ProCreate. And it was a fun challenge, but I will tell you, it took me five hours to create, and that’s the actual creation, not the invention in my head. Right? So I spent a lot of time on this, but sketchnotes are just the opposite. Sketchnotes should be gathering information quickly and it doesn’t have to be, it shouldn’t be, or it doesn’t have to be art. It should just be using pictorial images and writing to create further knowledge and make that knowledge go deeper into your brain.

A lot of the information that I have received over the many years have come from TED talks and different conferences that I’ve gone to, watching other sketchnote artists on Twitter and on Instagram. There’s a lot of sketch note artists out there. But one that probably has driven my practice the most is a book called the Sketchnote Handbook. It is by Mike Rohde. And he gives just this really, it’s a great book. I’m holding it in my hands as I speak. It’s a great book because it has different sketch note artists in it. So you get to see different styles. It breaks down what sketchnoting is, how to do it, but then also what it’s good for.

So one of the TED talks that I listened to, and I just don’t recall which one it was, but it talked about furthering our information, getting a deeper into our heart. When we can see and move, or when we have audio so we can hear and move or when we can do multiples of like our senses So seeing, writing, moving and hearing. And then we can connect it to something personal for ourselves. That knowledge is going to go deeper into our brain and into our heart. And that knowledge will help guide us in our future endeavors. So that is why I present sketchnoting to my students, because I know the more facets that we use to obtain information, to get knowledge, the deeper the understanding will be.

So in saying all that, sketch note your conference as a practice. It is so amazing to have this document that you’ve created from a day of professional development. It’s going to put it deeper into your brain, deeper into your heart, and therefore will make sure that it shows up in your classroom in the future.

So on my conference guide, I started out by just kind of drawing a little cartoony sketch of myself, I guess. It doesn’t really look like me. Anyways. That’s okay. Because it doesn’t matter. It’s sketchnotes. It has me and then it has my contact information and I love to include my Twitter. I like to include my Instagram account anytime that I’m sharing something out there with the world.

Now, these sketch notes might be just for you and that’s fine perfectly fine. They can be and should be mostly and firstly about you. And then, if you want to celebrate or connect with other people who are at this conference or share the exciting information and knowledge that you obtained, share it on social media.

So I always have my tags someplace on my drawings. Then I just kind of described myself as a mom, as a teacher, an art teacher, a blogger and a podcast host. That’s kind of me in a nutshell for this conference. Of course, there’s more facets to me, but this is how I want people to understand and know me.

Then I talk about gathering supplies. So what are you going to be using to actually create these notes. Well, you’re going to need something to watch the conference on that might be your computer. You might project it onto your TV. You might use a phone. Somehow you’re going to obtain this digital information, right? Because we’re doing this conference online, which has been the oldest online conference that I know of in art education. So they’ve got it down. They know what to do. That’s for sure. Art Ed Now is very practiced at this.

You’ll need some tools. So you’re going to need the conference guide or a sketchbook to start drawing and then your favorite writing tools. And I’m not even going to tell you which ones I use. In fact, I use very generic pictures because here’s the deal. We are art teachers and we have a love for tools. Right? Our drawing tools are like another limb. We can’t live without this particular pen or this particular marker. Whatever it is, you find those and get them near you. And I would always suggest some color, right? We need some color in our life.

When you’re sketchnoting, you’re going to be writing things very quickly. So you need to simplify your drawings. The book that I was talking about earlier, the Sketchnote Handbook, suggests five basic elements. And I’ve actually utilized these in my classroom as well. And I’m sharing them again with you in this conference. The five elements are a dot, a line, a circle, square and triangle. Almost anything that you’re drawing can be made with these simple elements. We know, and we teach our kids this all the time. We teach our students that looks really hard, but let’s look at the shapes on that object. What are the shapes? How can we break that down? And then adding a line? Oh my gosh, that gives us every possibility in the world. And then dot, man. We have the elements that we need to draw anything. So I give this little example of this very worked over image that I drew and how to simplify it because that’s what you’re going to want to do as you’re taking sketchnotes.

Now, you also want to think about the flow of your page. And as you are listening to every conference, you’re going to probably be developing new flows. You’re going to be experimenting. You’re going to be getting better with every page that you create. But one way to do a flow of a page is, and I talk about three or four here, is mind mapping. So maybe in the center or at the top of your page, you have this title of the conference itself or the presentation, or maybe the presenter, and then of from that you draw all these lines with little bubbles, talking about the different parts of the presentation. Using your words. So you’re writing with text and then you’re also writing with drawing the images that pop into your brain as that person is speaking.

You can also just have this normal flow of going from the top. Number one is at the top. Number two is right after it. And three, so on down your page. Or you can create this kind of winding map through your paper. You’re going maybe to the right and then to the left and then up and down. You’re bringing your eyes through the page, using arrows. Or maybe you just create containers, which brings me into my next thing.

When you are creating a page, you’re going to want to use dividers. So that might be lines. So think about a dotted line. You’re writing a paragraph and then you have a dotted line between the next paragraph. That separates the idea for you in the future or for anyone who’s viewing these notes.

Another thing that is suggested in the Sketchnote Handbook and I use it in my practice is containers. So think about speech bubbles, or just squares or rectangles or circles around a certain area on your page. That’s going to contain that idea. It’s like when the presenter comes to the presentation, they might say something like, “Today, I’m going to talk about ABC.” And there are three things that you’re going to need to know to make ABC work. Okay, perfect. Now, you know you have to divide your page into four sections maybe. Three for the ideas and one for the presenter, kind of the information that they’re giving.

Now, for parts that you really want to emphasize, you’re going to work with your topography. You’re going to make the letters big and bold and bubbled, maybe shadowed, or you can add color to those certain areas as well to create emphasis, to create importance.

But as you’re listening, you’re going to start developing icons. Icons are just simple images that will remind you have an idea, a bigger idea. So maybe you have a heart and you just draw a tiny little heart beside the things that really speak to who you are when the presenter is talking. Or maybe you have a question mark with a little circle around it. That question mark, anytime that you place that down means there’s going to be an investigation later. You’re going to think about that phrase, that picture, that image, that part of the presentation and then you’re going to investigate later to try and learn more about it. You’re wondering more.

Or maybe it’s a box with an arrow, an arrow going up. And that’s going to be the ways that you show up. How are you going to take this information and show up in your classroom? How is it going to show up in your practice?

So think about some different icons that you might use. And then of course, using bullets. We love bullets. Right? As teachers, we have like just the dot in front, but of course, bullets can be very beautiful as well. Maybe they’re arrows or boxes that you can check off later or even little swirlies. Who knows?

You’re going to create your whole page using these simple tools. Icons, dividers, containers, bullets, and the flow of your page. Of course, you know me, I already mentioned this. Anytime that you possibly can, share this on social media, because that is how we connect with each other. That is how you’re connecting with me right now. You’re listening beyond. You’re listening to me on a podcast. I’m sharing myself with you. Please share with the world what you’re doing and what you’re learning, because this is how we connect with one another and how we inspire one another.

I cannot wait for Art Ed NOW. As you can see, I’m very passionate about the conference itself. I’ve gone to almost every single conference that we’ve had. I’m very excited to get my swag box. I always … It’s like Christmas every single time that I end up getting the swag box set on my front porch. It just … It’s so fun because you don’t know what’s going to be in it. And this year, we’re going to have this conference guide and I couldn’t be more excited to geek out on sketchnoting with you today on this episode of Everyday Art Room. Thanks for joining me.

Next week on Everyday Art Room, we’re going to bring in some of the voices of presenters for Art Ed NOW. I love that they’re willing to give us a little preview on what they’re presenting in July and they are going to be just kind of explaining their presentation, but what you’ll hear is the enthusiasm and the knowledge that they have on their content area. So tune in next week to hear more about the Art Ed NOW Conference.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.