Educators educating Educators

Sep 23

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:



Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!