Monday, November 11, 2013

Visual Thinking Supports Learning in History

Mr. Hardwicke's History of the Americas class experienced a different approach to learning about the US colonies. They explored visual thinking to represent, share and discuss their independent learning. Rachel Smith, in a TEDxUFM called Drawing in Class, explains visual note-taking as a  way to make a story or thinking visible. The idea in the History of the Americas class was to use images, symbols and relationships to represent and discuss main ideas in the topic.

Visuals were created in small groups using PiktoChart Infographics and shared for feedback. The benefit of PiktoChart over handwritten visual notes was the easy access to a library of ready images.  During an oral feedback session, groups were able to explain their visual representations and compare with different peer interpretations, to help review their Infographic. Jackie Gerstein makes this type of process explicit in a blog post called "Where is the reflection in the learning process"  with the following quote: "Do we want learners to be receivers and transmitters of knowledge or critical consumers and producers of it?". This quote therefore calls for a change in the one way presentation of information, either by teachers or students, towards multiway critical interactions.

An example of a group's Infographic focused on the Political aspects of Puritans is seen below. The lock symbol was used as a link to more detailed information. You can click here to see the Infographic online. This work was a collaboration between Mr. Hardwicke and the HS Academic Technology Coordinator, Mrs Meneghini.

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