Graphically Speaking a Thousand Words

by : Ajeet Khurana

When making my school projects I was always told to keep in mind that "A picture speaks a thousand words". Why should we let all those words go to waste if there is a better way? When I was younger, I remember wishing that somebody would turn all those lines of words in my books into pictures. My teachers would often come to class with charts which they would put up for our benefit. These were quite simple to follow and very colorful. What I liked most about them, however, was that they made learning fun.

Today, my kids have started studying long lines of words. I have been trying to teach them to use flowcharts and matrices and make their student lives just a little simpler. They really enjoy themselves using their crayons and making their charts brighter and prettier.

Of course, more than being fun, graphic organizers of all kinds help develop learning. They lay stress on the important thoughts in a particular subject of study. They reveal the patterns and associations that exist between a number of different aspects. If you are in the process of understanding the elements of causality between a number of ideas, a graphic organizer makes that easier to understand too.

Brainstorming is made a whole lot easier when one tries to use charts and diagrams to pictorially represent the various ideas that emerge at various points of time. Most of the ideas that emerge at brainstorming sessions tend to appear rather random. So, it is a good idea to graphically represent the various associations between concepts so as to avoid confusion. If one does this right from the beginning, as the volume of ideas grows, the element of confusion will not skyrocket out of control. So whether it is likeness or antagonism or causality, maintaining a graphic organizer will make life a whole lot less puzzling for you.

These days things are very different from the days when when we had to sit down with our pencils and erasers, rubbing out older lines as new developments emerged. These days both children and grown-ups can take advantage of computerized graphic organizers. A simple click of the mouse and a little dragging will allow you to make all kinds of modifications to your chart. So whether you are looking for an less puzzling way to study new concepts or are simply trying to browse through the information that you have collected, graphic organizers are usually a great help.

Of course, for those of us that are not technologically inclined, it is preferable to stick to the good old crayons and sticky notes. However you may use those charts, make those pictures speak for you.