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Wednesday, July 25 • 4:00pm - 5:05pm
Russac/Hall - Where Learning Meets Design: Taking Control Of The Visual Classroom

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The ubiquity of handheld devices and learning media means that every educator (and student) makes daily choices in how to shape content. The prominence of visual stimuli places a heightened emphasis on the design of information. Explore the theories beneath visual scholarship, including illustrative examples and group exercises. Probe how cognition and perception can have real-world impacts on critical thought and creativity.

Sixty-five percent of people identify as visual learners. The brain processes optical inputs 60,000 times faster than text. Amid the contemporary world of smartphones, television, Internet, and video games, visual media undeniably dominate the input stream for life and learning. For teachers, therefore, thinking like a designer can change the way students engage with concepts and retain essential ideas. For students, tapping one's visual imagination to approach educational problems (whether historical, literary, mathematical, or scientific) can yield tremendous dividends in motivation and collaboration. If visual literacy is about learning to look, how to internalize and deconstruct the images that the brain sees (input), then visual thinking is about learning to design, how to imagine graphic representations based on the mind’s creation (output). Elements such as typography, color, layout, and pre-attentive attributes all elevate the value of handouts, charts, infographics, animations, and slides to engage students beyond linear learning. Via today’s technologies and media, the visual image can inspire thought and literacy in a range of design-based investigations.

How do visual thinking and visual literacy represent crucial tools in a contemporary teacher's toolbox? What are hands-on applications of visual design practices to enhance the value of learning materials and student creations? What resources and real-world examples can help educators craft rich learning tools for student engagement?

Whether in social media or toddler books, learning lives in a world of pictures. Most curricula, however, reinforce literacy in words yet seldom emphasize the skill of “reading pictures.” Parsing an image requires discrete analytical steps. Maps, cartoons, infographics and graphs all require training to negotiate subtleties of meaning. This workshop approaches design as a method of problem-solving. When a teacher creates a handout or PowerPoint, he or she makes explicit choices in emphasis, font, hue, layout and balance. He or she needs to consider purpose, audience and format.

Speakers
avatar for Mercer Hall

Mercer Hall

Teacher - Middle School.Jr HS, Buckley Country Day School
Mercer Hall has been teaching for over sixteen years at an independent school on Long Island, New York. He is a five-time honoree as Teacher Of The Year, and he has been awarded both the Thomas J. Reid Excellence In Teaching Award and the Powers Family Teacher Recognition Award. Mercer... Read More →
avatar for Patricia Russac

Patricia Russac

Library Director, Buckley Country Day School
Patricia A. Russac is a teacher librarian with over seventeen years of experience at an independent, private elementary school in New York. She is a TED Educator, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, and a National Association of Independent Schools Teacher of the Future. She... Read More →


Wednesday July 25, 2018 4:00pm - 5:05pm
Beacon Hill Boston Park Plaza

Attendees (14)