People love visuals. Visuals have been shown to help us learn more quickly and to retain more information than text alone. We’re more easily able to understand the world around us when we have visual components to aid us. The same goes for the classroom. If you present your students with a block of text vs text plus visual representations, more students will ‘get’ it more quickly, and they’ll tend to be able to recall that information more easily. As teachers, this is a large part of what we’re looking for.
So when it comes to choosing what type of visual representation you want to employ in your classroom, what are your options? If you’re sticking with the basics, you can use a photo or drawing, or some type of chart.
But if you want to find the best type of visualization to represent the material you’re working with, this fancy schmancy chart will be right up your alley. It offers a periodic-table-full of visualization options to choose from. If you click on the link and head over to the site, it is interactive, so you can mouse over each element’s box to see an explanation and an example of each. (You’ll also see a much larger, easy-to-read version of the table).
The table breaks down the visualization methods into six groups: Data visualization, information visualization, concept visualization, strategy visualization, metaphor visualization, and compound visualization.
So if you’re looking for the right kind of visualization for what you’re working with, start by selecting the right category from that list, and then head to the corresponding color on the table. We’ve selected a few of our favorites from each category below.
Categories of Visualization Methods