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Visual tools for literacy

In the video “Visual tools for literacy,” David Hyerle (2007) demonstrates how the use of visual graphic can aid the recollection of ideas and details from a lesson. This method seems to be an effective one, as visualization of ideas allows students to identify a schema for the ideas and concepts being learned. The process of finding a schema for ordering and contextualizing that information is such an involved one that it compels the student to understand and remember the information being taught.

Verbalization is akin to this involved process, as it seems to have built in a certain monitoring aspect—so that the child is unable to verbalize unless understanding has taken place. Since verbalization is an output method, it can be very closely associated to the graphic nature of visualization methods. That is, being able to talk about a concept is closely related to being able to graphically represent it using visuals.

Graphical representation also takes the idea of understanding further, as it involves the translation of the idea into a medium that explains not just the concept but the relation of different variables within the concept. For example, a compare/contrast graphic organizer prompts the student to not only identify the variables within the concept, but to associate the ones that are similar and separate them from the ones that are dissimilar.

This involves a deeper level of thinking, and such activities activate the processes that lead to long-term understanding and memorization of a concept. The video also refers to a “networking capacity” that the visual representation of concepts enables (Hyerle, 2007). This seems interesting, as it brings to mind the idea of intertwining the ideas being learned with ones already existing in the student’s mind. Such a prospect points toward how students can make connections between things being currently learned and others that were previously known.

Such connections are necessary in the drafting of graphics as representations of concepts, and having something to connect concepts with is an important method of ensuring recall in the future. Overall, this explanation of visualization as a good assessment tool for learning is a plausible one, as it seems to clearly show how students understand concepts and also gives clues to the teacher as to how that understanding might be improved.


Hyerle, D. (2007). “Visual tools for literacy. ” Educational Impact. Program Preview. Available: http://www. educationalimpact. com/

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