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Visual Aides - Definitions and Applications

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What's going on in these two photographs?

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CARTOONS What they are: Cartoons are sketches or drawings that present an opinion using symbols, satire, or caricature and usually are in regard to some action, subject, or person of popular interest. Application in the classroom: Cartoons are an accessible and “friendly’” text from that improves student engagement. They typically require students activate their Prior Knowledge and students will spend some time debating which geopolitical figure or issue is represented in the image. Additionally, cartoons typically deal with current issues on the themes of politics, society, economics, or the environment. Consequently they are an excellent way to introduce a topic (Mental Set), view and analyse different points of view around an issue, and require students to incorporate abstract and Critical Thinking skills in their understanding and assessment of the text. CHARTS/GRAPHS What they are: Graphs are a visual representation of qualitative or quantitative data. The symbols used to represent the data can be almost anything but typically pictograms, dots, bars, lines, or sections of a circle are used. Applications in the classroom: Graph creation, use, and analysis are a key part of the analytic skills set that students need to develop in geography. Data collection and the resulting graphs that are generated are always connected to geospatial points. Therefore, graphs allow students to compare and contrast data, search for correlations, and identify and extend trends. Graphs also allow students to predict the probable outcome for one location, based on the data that exists for an already understood location. DIAGRAMS (FLOW CHARTS, CROSS-SECTIONS, ETC.) What they are: Diagrams are visual simplifications that use a combination of text, labels, sketches, drawings, and illustrations, to represent and explain complicated concepts from the natural and built environment. Applications in the classroom: Diagrams can be used by students to help them grasp a range of geographic concepts ranging from mountain building and drumlin formation to biodiversity and human migration. Prepared diagrams are tools that help students understand concepts; whereas diagrams that students prepare themselves regarding a topic promote research, application of skills, and consolidate learning and ideas. FILMS/VIDEOS Applications in the classroom: Films and videos help students understand a range of geographic concepts and are the best substitute for actually being at the site. Produced films and videos help students understand concepts; and films and videos that students prepare themselves regarding a topic promote research, application of skills, and consolidate learning and ideas. IMAGES (SATELLITE/AERIAL) What it is: These images are collected by satellite or aerial devices (airplanes, balloons, remote controlled devices); they are different from photographs in that they collect data across the broader electromagnetic spectrum. For the purposes of this report satellite photographs fall under photography. Application in the classroom: Satellite images are useful for visualizing parameters and concepts that generally require a physical measurement; such as surface temperature, albedo, smog production, and so on. They allow the student to visualize abstract concepts in concrete terms. MAPS (TOPOGRAPHIC, LANDUSE, ETC,)What it is: These images are collected by satellite or aerial devices (airplanes, balloons, remote controlled devices); they are different from photographs in that they collect data across the broader electromagnetic spectrum. For the purposes of this report satellite photographs fall under photography. Application in the classroom: Satellite images are useful for visualizing parameters and concepts that generally require a physical measurement; such as surface temperature, albedo, smog production, and so on. They allow the student to visualize abstract concepts in concrete terms. MULTIMEDIA What it is: Media that combines text, graphics, full-motion video, and sound into an integrated package. Application in the classroom: A movie on DVD is technically a multimedia text. However, multimedia in the context for this report refers to an interactive media form that that frequently integrates diagrams, films, mapping, and photography. A good example would be https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/, which is a Genographic multimedia tool that outlines human migration throughout history. PHOTOGRAPHS What it is: These images are collected by people or satellites and offer differing perspectives of scale and scope. Application in the classroom: Photographs allow the student to see what an idea or concept actually looks like. They allow for comparison and contrast and also put the student “there” at the site.

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