Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Analyzing Visuals in School Learning and Promoting Elmo and Smartboard Use

I have been a fish on dry land during all of my schooling. I am a visual learner in a non-visual learning environment. I took notes and more important, drew symbols or shapes, to help me “see” what the teacher was saying. I can remember only a few subjects or courses in which visuals were used (not counting Friday Social Studies movies). In classes that did visuals, the visuals were often used to decorate the written information. Teachers did not use visuals as the primary source to communicate information.

As I reflect on my experiences in public education, I realize that the amount of visuals that are used in schooling is inversely proportional to the grade level. The greatest number of visuals are used in the lowest grade levels. Likewise, the least amount of visuals are used in the highest grade levels. The graph represents my view of the use of visuals in education.

Why do written materials carry more meaning in education than visual materials?

Teachers can use devices like an Elmo or a digit camera hooked up to a projection device to show visuals in the classroom such as students' drawings of a scene from a story, a handful of different seeds that student groups sort as the other students watch, having student groups show the similarities between different geometric shapes, and combining hand drawn webs to show the big view about a country. Teachers and students can use a Smartboard or equivalent to make learning more visual.

Please help your students to “see” your content and express their answers visually.


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