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The Visual Learning Style-003:16

The Visual Learning Style-0

Who are visual learners?

Visual learners understand and retain information due to ideas, words, and concepts being associated with images. Research tells us that the majority of students in a regular classroom need to see information in order to learn it.

When students independently create visual diagrams, such as webs, they are exercising the ability to discipline, monitor and correct their thinking without the guidance of educators or peers. Practicing webbing helps students improve the ability to generate complex thoughts and draw connections between new ideas. Looking at all of the pieces of a web diagram, students can decipher the missing pieces and make inferences about the information. By looking at the collected information visually in front of them, students can better decide what is relevant and irrelevant as they work toward a conclusion. The process of creating the visual web, is by definition critical thinking. Diagrams and visual representations help students better articulate ideas and concepts, which aid in understanding the meaning of complex concepts. So, the next time you pose an open-ended question, ask students to create a web to think through the question, record research, structure thoughts, synthesize ideas and evaluate the information to help develop their critical thinking skills for the 21st century.

What are visual learning tools?

Some common visual learning strategies include

Visual-thinking

creating graphic organizers, diagramming, mind mapping, outlining and more. Visual learners work well with online learning tools also such as Visuwords, a graphically based dictionary that helps connect concepts and words to encourage retention and MindMeister which is a mind-mapping tool to help students visualize what they're learning.

VariQuest Visual Learning Tools03:02

VariQuest Visual Learning Tools

Variquest's Visual Learning Tools

Promethean ActivInspire01:37

Promethean ActivInspire

ActivInspire Visual Learning Classroom

Professional Development

Watch the videos to the right to learn about Variquest's and ActivInspire's visual learning tools.

There can be many opportunities for professional development in the area of visual learning tools. The Broward County School District employs a number of professional development opportunities through their Office of Talent Development[1].

Educators are also able to participate in their school site's Professional Learning Communities or educators can simply share ideas during their team and/or faculty meetings

Sample Lesson Plans

Lesson A: Defining a Civilization

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7- Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1b- Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

Objective:

Students will understand the various characteristics defining a civilization.

Materials:

Laminated strips (3" long) that contain the various characteristics, such as organized religion, cities, social classes, organized government, written language, and division of labor

Laminated strips containing the location of the early civilizations, such as Indus River, Huang He, Tigris and Euphrates, and Nile River valleys

Laminated pictures of each civilization that have been cut out of magazines, old history books, or books found at used-book sales, including pictures of gods, temples, pyramids, artwork, and statues

Graphic organizer with the characteristics and river valleys

River Valley Civilizations

Category Indus Huang He Tigris Euphrates Nile

Cities

Written Language

Organized Religion

Organized Government

Social Classes

Division of Labor

Procedure:

1. Put the laminated strips on the board and discuss what each characteristic means.

2. Provide students with laminated pictures of each civilization.

3. In groups, have students study the pictures as if they were archaeologists and then complete the graphic organizer. The pictures are "proof" that these characteristics existed in each civilization.

Lesson B: Comparison of Medieval and Renaissance Art

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.9- Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1b- Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

Objective:

Students will learn the characteristics of Medieval and Renaissance art and be able to compare and contrast the styles of various artwork from these different eras.

Materials:

Poster board

For the Medieval era: a list of characteristics of the period, placed on laminated strips with magnetic backing, one trait per strip

For the Renaissance era: a list of characteristics of the era, placed on laminated strips with magnetic backing, one trait per strip

Laminated artwork with magnetic backing

Procedure:

1. Divide a board in half and label one side Medieval art and the other side Renaissance art.

2. Give each student a strip with a description or characteristic of one of these periods.

3. The student must determine whether the characteristic applies to the Medieval or the Renaissance period.

4. Students will then put their magnetic strips on the board in the appropriate sections.

5. After some discussion of why each characteristic belongs to either Renaissance or Medieval art, divide students into groups.

6. Give each group eight to ten pictures of art. As a group, students are to decide if the artwork is from the Renaissance or the Medieval period and why.

7. The laminated art pictures are then placed on the board and each group presents its decisions to the class. (For more of a challenge, I include several selections of art from the Greco-Roman period.)

8. After all pictures have found their correct homes, have an in-class field trip to the "museums" that have been created on the board.

*This activity takes the students through the necessary steps for learning, going from visualization, to manipulation, and then to application of knowledge.

Lesson C: Storytelling

Any activity that presents the learner with the opportunity to visualize information enhances learning. For this reason, storytelling is an effective strategy for the visual learner. In social studies, there are many interesting stories to be told about the great heroes and villains for example, when we teach information about the English Civil War, students often get lost in the many phases and participants. I would tell the story of Charles II to create a lasting visual image in their minds.

After the monarchy was restored to the throne in the period of the Restoration, Charles II sought revenge against the man responsible for the beheading of his father. However that man, Oliver Cromwell, had died. How then could Charles II gain his revenge? He had the body of Cromwell exhumed and beheaded. His head was then displayed on a pike in the castle yard. This story creates a strong visual image that helps students remember the English Civil War. (You might also tell students that Cromwell's head has recently appeared at an English auction!) There is no end to the vivid tales and anecdotes of history. The visual learner thrives on this imagery.

Acceptable Use Policies

The Acceptable Use Policy for Broward District Schools can be located in the Broward County Schools Code of Conduct within the section regarding Technology Usage on pages 23-25.

Professional Sites & Organizations

Thinkspiration

National Education Association

Visual Resources Association Foundation

National Art Education Association

The visual (spatial) learning style

What is a visual learner?

Visual, Auditory, & Kinesthetic Learners

Visual Learner Study Guides

Gifted Development Center

Helping Visual Learners Succeed

Reflections of a Visual Learner

Learning & Personality Surveys

I think in pictures, you teach in words: the visual learner

Reflection

When I am thinking about the future of my teaching practice I need to keep in mind that my students do not have one set way that they learn things. This means that I am going to have to gear my lessons toward all the learning styles because my students all have multiple ways they understand. I have been teaching to two or three but my lessons do not always include all four. Next school year, I plan to give the VARK survey to all my students at the beginning of the school year. That way, when I complete my class profile, I will have even more information about each of my students. I can also compare the data from this year to the data that I compile next year. I may even give the survey more than once to see if the answers change. Or, I can re-word the adult version and give that to my students so I can compare the answers. I still have some information that I did not have answered.

There is a great deal of information on the Internet about the visual learner. While articles may vary on the percentage of students that are visual learners, they all stress that the visual learner must be able to see the information. The implication is that we must provide more visual clues to enable learning. In an era of end-of-the-year testing, teachers need to be more aware of variations in learning.

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