Learning and visualisation

What part does visualisation plan in the way in which you learn?

And, more pertinently, how can we incorporate visualisation techniques into school systems that predominantly rely on language as the channel for information transmission?

Vis-table

This periodic table of visualisation methods opens up a range of strategies and tools that could transform learning.

With thanks to Lenger & Eppler at Visual Literacy.

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Learning and political ideologies

The recent brouhaha over the ways in which History can be learned, and the official dogma of what learning, teaching and education should contain, would seem – like the strictures of Animal Farm – to prescribe what is Good about teaching and proscribe what is seen to be Bad about learning.

This exploration of the ways in which Visual Learning can work draws from a number of concepts: first, and most importantly, what we understand of the structure of the structure of the brain, synapses and cortical memory. The concept of plasticity, and the ways in which the brain develops and changes as a result of input, is another. The developing understanding of mirror neurons and their importance to learning also contributes to this exploration. Most importantly, it is underpinned by our understanding of learning and its developmental stages.

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Money well spent?

During the past ten years governments and education departments across the world have invested significant sums of money in a range of whole-class visual display technologies such as data projectors, interactive whiteboards and visualisers (Cuthell, 2005a; 2008). There have been many reasons for their adoption: the technologies have been seen as a way of meeting government targets for ICT implementation, for providing access to the latest educational resources or as a way of transforming and modernising the outcomes of educational systems (Cuthell, 2005a). The high capital cost of these technologies has meant that individual teachers and schools have rarely been able to specify or select the tools for themselves. One result of this has been that the technologies, and the changes that they produce, are often seen by teachers to be externally imposed on them and their classrooms (Cuthell, 2006). Staff development is often limited to a brief instructional session that focuses on basic ‘mastery of the controls’, rather than an exploration of how the tools can be integrated into teaching and learning (Moss et al, 2007).

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