How We Use Visual Thinking

We will Learn a Visual Language
We will use various methods to make our thoughts visible so they can be communicated better.

We will use Visual Tools to Stimulate Inquiry and Innovation
We will use various strategies and techniques as part of our exploration and understanding.

We will our Visually Map our Path and our Progress
We will develop professionally rendered visual maps to understand where we have been and where we are going.

Examples of Visual Thinking
The following are several areas that have influenced my thinking about communication and the visual.

Thinking Maps
Thinking Maps® were developed as a language for learning in 1988 by Dr. David Hyerle. The eight Thinking Maps, each representing a cognitive skill, are used as a common 'set of tools' language for constructing knowledge and organizing thinking. David's work with a frame of reference for each of the maps provides a visual view of multiple perspectives. As a Trainer of Trainers, I incorporate the Thinking Maps language in our collaborations - both in my communication and with official trainings. Some recommended websites include:

Video + Film
Video and film are often viewed as a medium of entertainment. They are also powerful as a tool for observation and analysis. Video is a medium that accelerates our learning and understanding. Through video, thoughtful, guided review of ourselves at work can yield insights otherwise virtually impossible to analyze. Read more on Learning and Using Video as a Tool.

GIS Mapping
GIS mapping links location to information (such as people to addresses, buildings to parcels, or streets within a network) and layers that information to give you a better understanding of how it all interrelates. You choose what layers to combine based on your inquiry and purpose. GIS mapping has often been linked with environmental concerns as well as business and politics. I have collaborated with non-profit organizations and the Graustein Memorial Fund using GIS mapping with students to explore and present data for change. Recommended websites include:

Information Graphics
Information graphics are seen all around us. Magazines, newspapers, websites, PowerPoint presentations, billboards, Excel all abound with examples. Edward Tufte's books on information graphics explore the design and presentation of information. Mark Lombardi's extraordinary art of Global Networks are fabulous examples of the power of information graphics. See examples and links to interesting information graphics on this website.

Comics are words combined with pictures creating their singular magic — a literary form that truly is a valid medium. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics The Invisible Art is indispensible. The works of Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, Aaron McGruder, and Garry Trudeau are amazing.

Maps are all around us - from maps and cartography to globes to accessing directions online - guiding our journeys since the time of clay tablets. Maps help our studies of history, genealogy, and our cultures — take a trip with the amazing David Rumsey collection online. Maps provide varying perspectives. Experience the power of Google Earth seeing your neighborhood (or others) from above while zooming in and out of the maps and or satellite imagery. Even rotate in 3D.

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updated 17 February 2007