Whether you see your students as portrait-churning-aficionados, or conversely, individuals just barely able to master stick figures, having them bring their artistic skills (at whatever level they may be) into math and science classrooms for problem solving can prove to be more beneficial than you think.
Recent research has confirmed what many visual and tactile learners have known for a long: drawing things out will help you remember and recall them more easily and faster. And as a result it will also make you a better problem solver.
Drawing and memory retention
A study by the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo found that using imagery significantly enhances memory retention and speed of memory recovery.
In particular, one experiment prompted participants to memorize a word during a set amount of time.
In a memory test given at the end of the session, those who were prompted to draw a detailed picture describing the word had better memory recall than those who just used brute force and wrote the word out over and over again.
Interestingly enough: Both involved the pen and kinesthetic or tactile learning.
Three additional experiments within this study had the same conclusion: drawing it out helps you remember and retain things better and faster.
Another astounding fact that might blow your mind (bad pun I know...) as provided in this article the information in an image is processed 60,000 X faster than textual information.
Solving your problems
Although there's obviously nothing wrong with having better memory skills. Brute memorization is an approach that only works within certain settings, such as exam rooms, lecture halls, and on game shows like Jeopardy (Sorry Alex....)
Beyond such context, the real world poses outside of the textbook problems that cannot be solved by simple recollection, but instead require creative problem solving skills.
There is a correlation between problem solving and the act of drawing. And it is related to how the brain processes information. Our minds are not computers that runs on binary code. Instead, our thoughts are constantly shifting; a feature that is difficult to do with the linear system of typing out a line of words. Unlike equations on a screen, drawings things out allows us to shift, transform, and alter thoughts MORE quickly.
But you need to able to do this on a canvas that offers "surface continuity"; thus, allowing you to flow with the problem at hand and keep up with your shifting thoughts. And in order to do this you need to be able to make make mistakes, redo, and correct.
Benefits of the doodle
There you have it: There may be more benefits to the doodle than you think. Drawing things out and other strategies like #sketchnoting not only improves memory retention and retrieval speed, but in doing so it also provides a very efficacious way to work things out so that you can be good at creative problem solving.
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