Using Visuals and Visual Learning

“Again and again…creative minds explain their creative thought generation in terms of visual imagery and their reliance on mental images as springboards for extending their understanding well beyond the parameters of verbal language.”
-Ann Barry,  Boston College.

Due to the impact of visuals on our memory, on our emotions, on our motivations, and priorities, students can become very engaged with what they are learning through visuals.  We can stimulate both critical thinking and creative thinking through images and other visual aids.


Visual Resource Table:

General Sources

Charts, Graphing & InfographicsInfographic-of-infographics

Doodling & Visual Thinking14460869-doodle-style-internet-symbol-set-that-includes-arrows-refresh-home-trash-close-favorite-and-power-ic

Film & Digital Storiesfilm_camera_copy(2)

Finding Images & Video01-home

Maps & Mind Mappingmindmap

Photo Annotation & Reading ImagesDavid1-300x221

Presentation Software & Student ExamplePrezi_logo

Social NetworkingTumblr

Storyboards & Comicsphd051910s


Online Resources:

How To Use PowerPoint

Presentation: Visualization and Visual Literacy

Prezi presentation on using visual media in a course

View a SlideShare on Visual Literacy

“Visual Explorer” exercise, described by Palus and Draft in the reflective practice article “Putting Something in the Middle”

Visuals diagnostic tool  for instructors’  use to help decide on what visual resources to use in a class

List of web tools by Mindomo, a producer of mind mapping software

50+ Tools is neatly organized into categories such as “map tools” or “timeline tools”


Online Papers:

“The Visual Literacy White Paper” by Dr. Ann Bamford, University of Technology, Sydney

“The Eyes Know It? Training the Eyes: A Theory of Visual Literacy” by Ari Santas and Lisa Eaker

“Jump Starting Visual Literacy: Thoughts on Image Selection” by Philip Yenawine

“Visual Literacy in Higher Education” by Ron Bleed (Educause)

“Solutions to the Problem of Over-Plotting in Graphs” by Stephen Few

“Educause Top Teaching and Learning Challenges of 2009” by Julie K. Little, et al.



Taimi Olsen 2011

Revised: Taimi Olsen and Lauren McCaugherty 2013