Drawing diagrams, using pictures, and other visual techniques are great for creativity and problem solving. Episode 8: Mind-Mapping discussed one well-known visual technique.
Clive Thompson writes about drawing in his article, Think Visual. Thomson writes that the best way to solve a complicated problem may well be to use drawings and pictures, that such visual techniques allow people to more quickly understand an issue and have the same mental model of a problem, and that images provoke a creative leap (the “aha moment”) more often than verbal or writing techniques.
Thompson’s article points out that drawing, unfortunately, is considered childish, and that people with higher verbal skills are thought more highly of, including in our school systems.
Related to education and drawing is a company named Smart Technologies which sells large interactive screens to schools, as profiled in a Forbes October 9, 2009, article, Getting to The Top of the Class. These screens replace the old whiteboards and even older chalkboards. The screens can be attached to the Internet, providing a “portal to the digital world,” students and teachers can manipulate what’s on the screen with their fingers, and they can be used as a blackboard, too. The founders of Smart Technologies believe these screens increase student participation and enjoyment in their learning and so decrease behavioral problems and help the students to achieve more. I sure hope so.