At the risk of sounding like an old man; “When I was in elementary school, we didn’t have LCD projectors.” (chuckle)
All kidding aside, my reflection point today is in regards to the importance of visual language. More specifically, “Is visual language more important today than it was 10 years ago?”
One style of thought that has been prevalent for years labels students as ‘auditory,’ ‘visual,’ or ‘kinesthetic’ learners. As I think more about visual language and its role in today’s classroom, I am beginning to see strains of that ‘visual learning’ trait in most all students of this generation. Let me tell you why…
I have talked a lot in previous posts about the ‘shiny factor,’ and its hindrance for teachers in getting content to students. I’ve also touched on the difficulties that arise when students can use technology with greater speed and efficiency than their instructors and easily surpass the teacher’s knowledge on use of the tool. Whether we like it or not, all of this reflects one thing: students interact, respond, and feel comfortable with visual technology.
Does this mean all of our students are visual learners? Of course not! What I feel this does mean, though, is that our students today need some sort of visual stimulation to best understand content. The days of lectures are over. Videos, iPads, apps, SmartBoards, and YouTube all provide elements of auditory and kinesthetic appeal, but the joining factor remains a visual stimulation. The 21st Century classroom is full of visual language, and ultimately, students are more engaged, more excited, and more likely to attach images with knowledge, enhancing retention.
Is visual language more important today than 10 years ago? Absolutely. As I’ve noted so many times before, ultimately our jobs as teachers is to engage students in the learning experience, excite them, immerse them, change them and, in the end, produce better people. In my opinion, the implementation of effective visual language in the classroom is a large portion of this mission to reach students on their level, with what engages them.