Educators educating Educators

May 26

Harvard GSE


Visual teaching points to be mindful of when presenting information to students

Todd Rose: Harvard Gradate School of Education, Mind, Brain, & Education

Big Ideas Relating to Visual Perception: When talking about visual perception, below are some things to consider

Þ Visual perception doesn’t assist in the perception of our world; it dominates the perception of our world

Þ Perception is dynamic and extremely variable

Þ Vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up half of our brain’s cortical resources

Þ What we see is only what our brain tells us we see, and it is not 100&% accurate.

Þ We don’t see with our eyes; we see with our brains.

Þ The brain takes very limited information and makes meaning of it within a context

Þ The brain is naturally goal directed, it shapes perception, attention, memory

Þ The visual cortex process the thousands of streams of information separately for individual features, the visual field is in its most fragmented state. The brain then reassembles the scattered information

Þ What you see is not 100% acute representation of what is out there. Why? Because our brains insist on helping us create our perceived reality

Þ The brain is far from a camera. It is actively deconstructing the information given to it by the eyes, pushing it through a series of filters, and then reconstructing what it thinks it sees. Or what it thinks you should see

Þ Not only do you perceive things that aren’t there, but also exactly how you construct your false information follows certain rules. Previous information play a role in what the brain allows you to see, and the brain’s assumptions play a vital role.

Þ What does the brain base it guesses? Prior experiences with events in your past.

Þ Competence depends on context and there are tradeoffs in context

Þ Visual perception doesn’t assist in the perception of our world; it dominates the perception of our world

The following videos will reinforce the above concepts

Biological motion:

Blind spot:

Cornsweet illusion:

Curveball illusion:

Importance of luminance and contrast illusion:

Color lags behind luminance:

Cortical blind man avoids obstacles:

McGurk Effect:

Koffka ring:

Raman solves rubix cube:



Read April's Ed Tip to understand how using video game design principles will improve instruction.  Moreover, educators should not view video games as the enemy of education, but rather a model for best teaching practices. When educators design instructional strategies, they must keep in mind the principles of video games, namely achievable challenge, and the role of dopamine in education.