This blog came about after doing some research on visual literacy. I have always considered myself very visually oriented, maybe it's because I'm a lefty and originally was an art major. Educators, we need more than ever to be cognizant that our world is getting more and more visual along with all the tech innovations. I wanted to share some of my research findings and hopefully inspire more creativity in the classroom. Teachers, here's why you should start using infographics.
"Pictures interact with text to produce levels of comprehension and memory that can exceed what is produced by text alone."
The above quote really says it all! It comes from J.R. Levin's book, Knowledge Acquisition from Text and Prose. With the statistics showing 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual, coupled with the fact that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, that alone should be enough to understand why. Studies find the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner, taking more time to process. Visuals also generate much greater engagement and greatly influence your emotions. Don Norman, author of numerous books on Emotional Design, states,” Emotion is about judging the world, and cognition is about understanding. They can't be separated." The references to the cognitive and emotional aspects below explain further why this is paramount in how we learn.
1) Cognitively: Graphics expedite and increase our level of communication. They increase comprehension, recollection, and retention. Visual clues help us decode text and attract attention to information or direct attention increasing the likelihood that the audience will remember.
2) Emotionally: Pictures enhance or affect emotions and attitudes. Graphics engage our imagination and heighten our creative thinking by stimulating other areas of our brain (which in turn leads to a more profound and accurate understanding of the presented material). It is no secret that emotions influence decision-making.
Think of our students, why not just post an intriguing visual to get the discussion started? Show a mini video clip to immediately engage the group, or have them create their own visuals on any given topic. Infographics are one of the easiest ways to get kids involved in tech and any topic or subject matter can be applied.
Brett Vogelsinger's article featured in Edutopia titled, "Inventing Infographics: Visual Literacy Meets Written Content", clearly outlines how to approach this in the classroom setting.
I have chosen to share this infographic made by Norm Young, a talented young man looking for work while manning a very cool blog, Geek Alabama. He calls this his visual resume; it will give you and your students all kinds of ideas of where you can go with the the use of infographics, while simultaneously empowering student driven work.
*WordPhoto is an awesome app that allowed me to make the above image display with my choice of words. Way Cool!