In their book, 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, co-authors Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel use the bicycle as a metaphor to vividly illustrate how the organization and flow of project-learning, which is based on inquiry, moves forward. Current brain research supports the power of pictures and metaphors when it comes to teaching, learning and remembering.
Accordingly, Dr. John Medina, developmental molecular biologist, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University and author of Brain Rules, lists ‘vision’ as Brain Rule #10. “Vision trumps all other senses. Vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up half of our brain’s resources. We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words”.
Therefore, it is no wonder that Darren Kuropatwa’s purposeful use of pictures, patterning, and metaphor leaves such lasting impressions on the learner when teaching high school math concepts or consulting with educators on 21st century learning . In Darren’s blog, A Difference, he comments, “Memories built through patterning (story telling and metaphor can be powerful encoding devices) are easier to recall, IMHO [sic. in my humble opinion]. If you can encode a great many facts with a single pattern or story then you are more likely to be able to retrieve the memories when needed, particularly if the encoding method makes the memories sticky by having some sort of emotional component.”
In his post, “Ole! – My Tango”, Darren explains his choice of The Tango as a metaphor for explaining to teachers how he uses online learning environments to help students learn. “The workshop I’m doing on Friday has two parts. Part 1 is called OLÉ! – Orchestrating a Learning Ecology (or Learning the Tango). Part 2 is Rip, Mix, Learn. OLÉ is the philosophy, pedagogy and concrete steps I take to orchestrate my students Online Learning Environment. I’m using The Tango as a metaphor for how I do this. The Tango consists of only three steps, but they combine in infinite ways such that each dancer dances their own tango. The read/write tools I use on my blogs are few: blogs, RSS, social bookmarking, flickr and chatboxes. But they can be combined in infinite ways such that each teacher can orchestrate their own learning ecology.”
Powerful stuff, this marriage of pedagogy, learning how we learn, and memory in 21st century education.