Saturday, January 9, 2016

Visualization in mathematics helps students in math learning

There are different ways by which we acquire information. We mainly acquire information from our senses. The two senses mostly used in learning are the eyesight and the hearing. The multiple intelligences theory by Gardner. presently debated, show also other senses besides the traditional senses involved in learning. Teacher's lectures, videos, written materials, manipulatives are the primary ways by which we learn. Written information is widely used in learning and day-to-day activities. Reading and writing play an important part in learning and life. The command of these two techniques can help us tremendously in learning and life. Writiting comes as visual information in symbols. The comprehension of written information involves the mastery of different structures of a language. Visual information comes also in pictures and shapes that aid in the understanding of written information. The word "visualization" is a common word used in computer, psychotherapy, etc. Pictures that can come in different forms and shapes are easier to decode than symbols because they are more related to our personal experiences. Therefore they bring more clarity to coded information. In this article is highlighted the importance of visualization techniques to facilitate the learning of mathematics. We can approximately define "visual mathematics" as the represention of mathematics that are symbolic or not through shapes that correspond more to our actual experiences. Three main highlights are discussed in this article

Visual mathematics are used in basic and high levels of mathematics

Educators in beginning classes of mathematics use manipulatives, games, shapes and pictures to help learners to understand mathematics. Visualization techniques are also used in higher levels of mathematics. Mathematics don't deal only with numbers. Visual representation is a part of the structure of mathematics. Consider algebra that is mainly symbolic. Different shapes are used to represent abstract relations. Diagrams, tables, graphs are used to represent relations and functions . Visualization techniques can be used even in abstract theories and problems. One can invent pictures, graph or any sort of visualization technique to represent abstract situations. The visual representation can especially be useful when it facilitates understanding, higher order of thinking and develops ideas.

Brain research shows that visual mathematics improve student's math performance

Researchers found that when students used visual mathematics they activated another area of their brain besides the one used when using numbers and symbols. The communication and working of these two areas of the brain facilitate math learning. They even state that visualization techniques are more beneficial than numerical techniques of learning math even when students are essentially learning numerical mathematics. It's obvious that when the concrete is used to explain the abstract the understanding of the latter becomes clearer.

Visual mathematics help students to solve problems in different ways.

Visual mathematics are nothing but a visual representation of abstract mathematics. Visual mahematics facilitate individualized learning since students can have different views on visual representation. Not only visual representation facilitates understanding it develops imagination and allows communication to take place between students. They can compare their individual work between each other. They can also discuss problems together. Educators can favor this type of learning by asking students to come up with different ways of solving problems.


There is no doubt that visualization represents an important tool that can facilitate learning. However it can be used for some specific purposes but not as an obsession. Sometimes it might not be needed. When understanding is clear and  there is no need for clarification and depth one can move further.

It is also important to note that a math educator can use different learning techniques to facilitate student's learning comprehension. One is the use of sequential learning. Math is sequential meaning each concept is based on the previous one.It is important that students master previous concepts in order to understand the concept that is actually learned. The sequential nature of mathematics is obvious in the learning of the four basic arithmetic operations. The learning of subtraction is based on that of addition. Without knowing addition one can't do multiplication. Division implies the learning of multiplication and subtraction. As an educator I have found that students who have math learning difficulties don't master the basic calculations. They also don't love mathematics, which is linked to the learning deficiencies in the fundamental notions of mathematics. Study skills are also important in the study of mathematics. I have written about different study techniques in this blog. As a math educator and tutor. my primary task is to instill the love and usefulness of math in students. If you or your child is interested in math tutoring don't hesitate to contact me. You can also refer other learners to me.

Interested in learning to use effective study skills? For free tutoring by email fill out this form:Free Tutoring by Email . For paid tutoring and courses visit New Directions Education Services at