One of the highlights of ScienceOnline 2012 for me was getting to meet Perrin Ireland, a graphic facilitator who specializes in science communication, and to see her in action. Before the conference, Perrin had emailed to ask if she could "live scribe" the citizen science session Amy Freitag and I would be co-moderating, creating a visual record of the content of our discussion with markers on foam core boards as the session unfolded.
Of course, we accepted the offer, because how could we not? (Stills of Perrin's work from our session and others can be seen in this post.)
Perrin also offered a Science Scribe 2.0 Workshop (which I missed, because one can only be so many places in a time), in which she taught participants how to create these visual records ("sketch notes") and then turned them loose to practice these skills in other conference sessions. Here's a slideshow with examples of their work.
Michele Arduengo participated in this workshop and gave a vivid (and illustrated) account of it on her blog. This was enough to embolden me, the Tuesday after the conference, to take sketch notes of our start-of-the-semester department meeting.
They are not nearly as visually arresting as the sketch notes that Perrin's apprentices created at ScienceOnline. However, I did observe that being alert to how I could make my notes (of pretty mundane academic and administrative stuff) more visual seems to have gotten me to pay more attention to the meeting as it was happening -- to look for unifying themes or recurring motifs, for example. And, it left me with a set of notes that, more than a week later, makes the big issues and small details easy to remember ... which means that, potentially, my notes will actually be useful in a few months, too.