Wednesday’s Toolbox: visual thinking, sequestration

Apologies to my readers for the week’s absence, and thank you for sticking with me.

I have been continuing to read about visual thinking, visualization, and modeling of problems, and I will report on my explorations in future posts. One of the things I am sorting through is the difference between great infographics (which I am finding an abundance of!) and great visualizations or models of problems. While the concise and effective presentation of information is a talent to be lauded — and I will bring you future examples — the visualization of a problem is a different beast. It struck me, on my ride home on the bus in our Chicago snowstorm yesterday, that there is a very talented group of people who visualize abstract problems most effectively: political cartoonists. For starters, check out Political Cartoons Every American Should See.

I confess I am in awe of political cartoonists and their talent. I cringe at every abstract word I choose in an intense game of Pictionary with my family! A quick search finds that there are many lesson plan resources for teachers wanting to use political cartoons and visualization to teach critical thinking skills. Following that lead backwards, what can we learn from political cartoons about visual thinking?

On another problem-solving topic, do you use sequestration, or something like it, in your own life to solve a problem? A problem of indecisiveness, or a problem of lack of consensus? Have you ever been not able to arrive at a decision, so take a little of this and a little of that and end up with nothing that works? Have you ever had an argument with your spouse, a friend, or a colleague, where you cannot agree on the best option, so you agree to take a “cut” out of both of the pieces/projects in which you are invested? Who wins? Is it fair? Does it move the issue forward? Does it “solve” the problem? I’d love to hear your thoughts!