Our Brains are not designed for…. Downloads?
I just downloaded a book today. OF course even 20 years ago the idea of loading a book onto an iPAD along with a whole library would have been a strange thing. It seems that today, we are overloaded: we and our students are at the breaking point of what researchers in the cognitive-neurosciences call “Cognitive Load.” The book I downloaded is by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin: “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.”
This dilemma is not just about organizing information— but about critical thinking— and an action research paper sums up how visual tools, and specifically Thinking Maps® explicitly develop both organization skills and critical thinking. Here is an excerpt by Long and Carlson (2011) from the conclusion section of their research document that goes beyond the important task of "organizing" to deeper understandings:
In conclusion, Thinking Maps make an excellent addition to any classroom because they teach students to think critically about subjects and form connections between subject disciplines. By watching their thoughts unfold in front of them, they will be better equipped to make curricular connections and develop deeper knowledge and understanding of concepts. Since Thinking Maps can be utilized across all grade levels and content areas, they are an invaluable resource for teachers. With so many schools basing their curriculum and instruction on standardized tests, students are rarely afforded opportunities to develop critical thinking skills that are necessary in higher education. Read more...