Using graphic design in the classroom is a powerful tool because it allows students to visualize information rather than just reading it or hearing it. Studies have shown that people tend to remember an impressive 80% of what they see and do compared to only 20% if they just read it and 10% if they just hear it (The Power of Visual, 2017). Graphic design is also a great way to keep students engaged in the lesson and focused on the important information, not be distracted by all the extra information that often goes with it. Having students make the graphics themselves takes it even one step further and forces them to use their own creativity. Student creativity fosters both self-motivation and flexible thinking which are very important to student learning (Inspire Student, n.d.).
In order to support more visual learners in the classroom, teachers should try to use a wide variety of graphic design ideas. Simple ideas such as which type of font should be used, which pictures or graphics, which graphs or charts can all lead to students absorbing and remembering the information better. Instead of simply talking about the different types of volcanoes, have the students create an infographic explaining the differences. This forces the students not only to learn the information, but makes them create something unique and show it off in a way that they understand. Many of my IEP students have accommodations stating that they be allowed to use graphic organizers. These could be great for that as well. There really is no limit to what can be done in the classroom with graphic design for both regular ed and special ed students, as long as the teacher is willing to experiment and try new ideas and tools.
I have a unit coming up in my Earth Science class where we learn about star life-cycles and the classification of stars. In the past I have had my students take notes and make outlines on paper and pencil to show the path different stars take during their lifetimes. I have had students look at H-R diagrams and answer questions about them. Now that I have learned more about infographics, I’m thinking that this will be a perfect unit for my students to create their own infographics about this topic. I can have them show me in their own infographics why different stars go through different stages, and how they end up where they do on the H-R diagrams. Instead of just regurgitating what they see in a textbook, this will make them condense the important information and create something that is unique. This type of assignment also leaves them a lot of freedom to choose how they want to represent the information which should lead to self-motivation and engagement.
Inspire Student Learning & Creativity (n.d.) [Digital lecture]. Retrieved from https://learn.stfrancis.edu/courses/1135000/pages/facilitating-creativity-and-innovation-in-a-digital-world-readings-and-resources?module_item_id=11209008
The Power of Visual Communication Infographic. (2017, August 31). Retrieved April 04, 2018, from https://blog.wyzowl.com/power-visual-communication-infographic/