Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Visual Tools for effective Teaching and Learning

Visual learning is one of the best methods for teaching of thinking skills and helping to organize ideas. Visual diagrams help students make connections and transfer knowledge. They help students recognize patterns, interrelationships and inter-dependencies among and between new concepts. Visual diagrams create a “learn to think” and “learn to learn” attitude. “Learning to think” (how to think?) and “learning to learn”(how to learn?) are the essential skills of learner’s success. 

Proverbs, sayings and quotes on visual literacy

“One seeing is better than a hundred times telling about" - Old Chinese proverb.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” (an old adage).
“Every picture tells a story.” (an old saying).
“The use of visual tools creates a shift in classroom dynamics from passive to interactive learning for all to see.” (D. Hyerle, 1996).

Definition of visual literacy

Visual Literacy is “the ability to understand and use images including the ability to think, learn and express oneself in terms of images”.

Why visual literacy?

About 90% of all information that comes into our brain is VISUAL and about 40% of all nerve fibres connected to the brain are linked to the RETINA. About 36,000 visual images per hour may be registered by the EYES(From Brain Based Learning - Eric Jensen, 1996).
Visual displays can serve as a more effective alternative to traditional text presentation. Visual displays are effective for enhancing the learning of text information. Visual displays can serve to facilitate retention of information. Visual displays facilitate encoding and retrieval of information.

Visual intelligence

People learn visually by observing, perceiving, watching, connecting, drawing, showing, communicating and structuring their thoughts. The better you learn  to appreciate colour, harmony, balance, symmetry, repetition, direction and so forth, the more you’ll learn from what you see and the more you’ll enjoy life. Visualization is a two-way street. You can create pictures as well as look at them. Verbal literacy depends on learning grammar, rhetoric, and vocabulary. Visual literacy encompasses understanding color, tone, line texture, proportions, boldness, symmetry, repetition, accent and media.

Visual tools

Physical models, Mental pictures, interactive visualization, imaginary visualization and stories, pictures, sketches, diagrams, images and pictographs and Kinesthetic activity

Visual maps

 Brainstorming webs; graphic organizers; concept maps and mind maps

Benefits of visual tools

visual tools provide one mechanism to direct and focus attention. Visual tools give an instant picture of relationships of ideas and complex meaning. Visual tools improve presentation. Visual tools proved to be more persuasive. Visual tools facilitate recall and retention.

Visual learning helps students:

Visual learning helps brainstorm, develop, organize and communicate ideas. One can see connections, patterns and relationships in visuals. Students can assess and share prior knowledge. Visual learning can develop vocabulary. Visual diagrams can be useful for outlining ideas in the writing process. Students can highlight important ideas. They can clarify or categorize concepts, ideas and information. They can even comprehend the events in a story or book. Preparation of visuals improve social interaction between students and facilitate group work and collaboration among peers. They can facilitate recall and retention.Improve reading comprehensive skills and strategies.

Educational benefits of visual tools

            Graphic Organizers are visual representations of knowledge. It is a frame used to organize information. GOs are also referred to as: knowledge maps, story maps, cognitive organizers, advance organizers, concept diagrams and thinking maps. Visual tools help in organizing the thought process. They help rearrange text and useful in summarizing the information. They clarify thinking and locate and remember facts/ideas. They present the big picture or view information in a meaningful whole. They show inter-relationships among ideas.They reinforce understanding and integrate new knowledge.

Kinds of graphic organizers (GOs)

          Bubble map
          Double bubble map
          Circle map
          Chain of events
          Clustering map
          Cycle map 
          Brace map
         Venn diagram  
          Interaction outline
          Persuasion map
          Time – order chart
          Flow chart
          Tree chart           

Benefits of Graphic organizers as valuable instructional tools

              They help to organize, link, integrate and communicate large amounts of information more easily. They allow easy editing and drawing different perspectives. They are flexible and endless in application. They are underutilized in teaching - learning situation. They are ideal for many types of learners because GOs use short words or phrases. They offer greater retention and reduce instructional time. They can be used in all phases of learning from brainstorming ideas to presenting ideas.

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