It is self evident that we live in a culture and society that emphasizes visuals and presents ideas and messages in ways that appeal to our eyes and our minds. Dale's Cone of Experience highlights the research based conclusion that while we we are likely to remember only 10% of what we hear, we are like to remember 30% of what we see and 50% of what we hear and see. If part of our goal in the high school Judaic studies is that students remember their learning, the importance of associating visuals with ideas or concepts we are teaching become critical. Empowering students to find and develop their own ways to visually represent ideas could be even more powerful. Here are some examples of how we can accomplish both these goals in high school gemara.
1) Using visuals when we teach:
- associating a caricature or clip art figure with individuals (i.e. the buyer, seller, man, woman etc.) mentioned in scenarios in the gemara (and moving them around to represent cases on a Smartboard)
- show (provocative or unique are best) images that correspond to cases or halachot mentioned in a mishna or halacha class
- using different colors to represent functions of a word or phrase in a gemara or section of tanach
For a more complete presentation of various techniques see Rabbi Avi Wasser's excellent webinar here.
2) Asking students to use visuals to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding:
- requiring them to prepare presentation (powerpoint, prezi etc.) doing any of the above- associating images with concepts
- using tools like goanimate.com or xtranormal.com to prepare visual animations of scenarios of halachic cases or contemporary applications of gemarot or sections of tanach