Sunday, 3 May 2015

Using Technology to Meet the Needs of Visual Learners.

As an educator in the 21st century I am constantly finding new ways to use technology to meet the diverse needs of all of my students. In particular, I have been using more technology to meet the needs of the visual learners in my classes.

Using Technology to Meet the Needs of Visual Learners #educatorinoz


I have become very familiar with the myriad of websites and digital resources that are available to support me as a teacher and to support my students.  I am also aware of the fact that every student learns differently and my method of teaching and instruction varies according to the varying levels my students are at in all of my classes and what type of learner they are.


What Type of Learner Are You?
Graphic via OnlineCollege.org 




My goal in using tech to reach all of my students is to support higher order thinking skills as outlined in Bloom's Taxonomy which will help them develop a spirit of inquiry and problem solving. This 'updated' digital model of Bloom's Taxonomy by Kelly Tenkely was a starting point for me in my quest to use more technology to meet the needs of my visual learners. I have found it very useful in thinking of creative ways to enhance higher order thinking skills.



Tenkely takes this model one step further with her Bloomin’ Digital Peacock!  

You can purchase these posters via Kelley Tenkely 


According to Fleming’s (2001) Visual Auditory Kinesthetic (VAK) model, visual learners prefer to use images, pictures, colours, and mind maps to organise information, learn and communicate ideas (Curtin University). I know I have many visual learners in my class as they are quite easy to spot...look for the students who are doodling while you are talking! I have worked out that they better understand and retain information when new ideas and concepts are associated with images.

Some common visual learning strategies used by educators to appeal to visual learners include:

  • making and watching videos
  • creating graphic organisers 
  • diagramming 
  • manipulating images
  • use of mind mapping and flow charts
  • colour coding notes
  • visualising spelling words
  • use of flashcards
  • making posters


Image via Kissmetrics


Infographics have become a really popular way of communicating visually.  Since many students tend to be visual learners I have found that making infographics is an effective way to communicate complex concepts in a creative and educational format.


How to Make a Piktochart infogrpahic
Infographic via An Ethical Island

I have found these sites to be easy-to-use on-line tools to make graphic organisers and infographics:

Infogr.am is a web based infographic maker where you can create scatter charts, radial bar charts, graphs, mindmaps,  If you have a class blog, this site allows you to embed your infographics. The only problem with this site is that you cannot download your creations.

Piktochart is easy to use because you simply drag and drop shapes and pictures. Infographics can be saved as PNG or JPG files.

Creating Infographics | Piktochart Infographic Editor


Easelly is another great free site to use. Again, you just drag and drop design elements onto a template from the Easelly library, or you can upload your own background image and start from scratch.






Videos are of course the perfect tool to use to support visual learners. I have found great content on TeacherTube. TeacherTube works like YouTube, but is dedicated to only hosting instructional videos. There are videos in easily searchable categories on nearly every topic imaginable!




When it comes to viewing educational videos, all students will benefit from using VideoNot.es Google Drive application. This great site allows you to load a YouTube or Vimeo video on the left side of the screen while on the right side of the screen you can type notes on a 'notepad'.


All the notes that are typed are automatically synchronized with the video. When re-watching the video, you just have to click on a line to jump to the relevant part. Because VideoNot.es is integrated with Google Drive students can create and manage their VideoNotes directly via Google Drive and can access them from everywhere. No more excuses for 'forgetting' homework!


Video via Richard Byrne

I will be encouraging my students to use this tool to take notes and ask questions while watching videos for my flipped classes.

These tools are really only a small sample of tech that is freely available that can be used in the classroom to support visual learners. If you have any other suggestions or tips on Ed Tech tools, apps, sites or anything else I would be thrilled if you could share them with me!

I just want to end this post by reiterating the thought that the shift in education that we are seeing today, especially in relation to tech, is all about supporting our students' learning and not just about blindly using technology. As 21st century educators we must remember that our role is to enrich the curriculum by creating engaging and effective learning tools to enhance higher order thinking skills and to encourage life-long learning.

Best wishes,
Natasha


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you For putting this together!! Great Info here!

    ReplyDelete