Visual Tools for Thinking


Visual Tools for Thinking (VVT) Program?
The Visual Tools for Thinking program is an engaging, great start for any educator and parent for systematically introducing individuals, groups, and whole schools and systems to three distinct types of visual tools for use across grade levels and content areas.  An eGUIDE makes the 4 resources easily transferrable to practice for anyone using the program.

What are Visual Tools for Thinking (VVT)?
There are three basic types of visual tools:

  • brainstorming webs
  • graphic organizers
  • concept mapping


As demonstrated and fully described by Dr. David Hyerle throughout the VTT program, visual tools are dynamic graphic designs (visual) that are purposefully used (tools) for explicitly improving life-long thinking, cooperative learning, communicating, and learning, teaching, assessing and leading.  Research included in the program clarifies why each type of student-centered visual tool and software directly improve reading comprehension in every discipline, writing processes, scientific thinking, and mathematics problem solving.  An awareness level presentation of Thinking Maps® is included in each of the four resources.  Thinking Maps® is a common visual language for thinking developed by David Hyerle and is used after in depth professional development training.

Click here to purchase the Visual Tools Program

Please contact us for information about VTT distance learning, in-school professional development for teachers, and blended models for you and your colleagues.

4 Integrated Components of the Visual Tools for Thinking (VTT) Program

The Visual Tools for Thinking program includes four major resources integrated by an easy to follow “eGuide” for gaining fluency with  visual tools. Here are overview pages of the program showing the contents of each resource and how the VVT program integrates these multi-media resources work together.

Click on the images above to see larger size. 

The four resources are:

1. BOOK “Visual Tools for Transforming Information into Knowledge”
This book offers the most comprehensive view of the practical, theoretical, and research based range of visual tools in the field.  Published in 2011, there is a 6 page prologue by the foremost leader in the field of thinking processes (Art Costa) and a foreward by one of the top educational researchers in the United States (Robert Marzano)
Corwin Press

2. ONLINE COURSE  “Visual Tools for Literacy”
This online course has extensive resources including 5 hours of presentation time exclusively by David Hyerle chunked into meaningful 2 to 5 minute segments.  The course includes PDF slides, key concept reminders, a complete transcript, and 7 assessments and certificates of completion for those wanting college credits.
Educational Impact Online

3.  VISUAL TOOLS WORKSHOP “Visual Tools and Technologies”
Participants from K-12 schools in San Mateo, California engaged in a highly interactive workshop on visual tools led by David Hyerle.  The workshop video was edited and David offers mini-lessons on several visual tools and software programs.
Designs for Thinking, LLC

4.  VISUAL TOOLS VIDEO PROGRAM  “Visual Tools: From Graphic Organizers to Thinking Maps®
The School Improvement Network (PD360) documents classroom activities, interviews with students, teachers and administrators, and presents graphic summaries using Thinking Maps®. Interviews David Hyerle interspersed with key elements of his development Thinking Maps® within this video series.  This high quality resource (elementary and secondary editions) includes a guide for viewing and offers an awareness level understanding of Thinking Maps® as a language for learning.
School Improvement Network

Click here to purchase the Visual Tools Program

Using Visual Tools for Thinking
I.  Using All Resources Together

In the map on page 5 of the eGuide we have organized all the resources into 3 general phases:

  1. Understanding why and how Visual Tools Work
  2. Applying different types of Visual Tools
  3. Integrating Thinking Maps® as a common visual language

For a comprehensive study of visual tools, we suggest that you use each of the resources together. The eGUIDE is your ‘map’ to guide you using the four resou  The BOOK is most easily used as the foundation for each of the other resources.  Here is one option: Open the BOOK, and then access the ONLINE course on your computer so you have both resourcing working for you together.  As you read Chapters 1-3 of the BOOK in the UNDERSTANDING section, access the related Modules 1-2 of the ONLINE course.  After you have completed these Chapters and Modules view Segments 1-3 of the WORKSHOP. This will offer you a summary view of educators working together as you have on your own to understand, question, and discuss the basic definitions and uses of visual tools.

II.  Use One Resource at a Time
Some learners may want to focus on one resource at a time.  You may want to begin by reading the entire BOOK first and then proceed to go through the 3 to 5 minute videos of the ONLINE course or watch all the segments of the WORKSHOP.   We do suggest that you at least scan the BOOK first before using the other resources so you can easily reference the sections for more in depth descriptions.  Some people like to begin with the WORKSHOP resource and watch it all the way through (70 minutes) as it mirrors the kind of interactive experience many educators have when they are learning together.

How do we define Thinking?
This question will emerge from almost every page and video clip within these resources.  Consider these two meanings of the word “reflection”:

Like a reflection of our face in a pond or mirror, Visual Tools offer a way for each of us to visually show an imperfect reflection of our thinking in creative, analytic, conceptual, and cognitive forms;

  • Once we have drawn out one or several visual representations of our thinking, we are  able to sit back in reflection and consider what and how we are thinking.

Dr. Art Costa writes that the use of visual tools is “displayed metacognition” and we can’t think of a better phrase for the power of visual tools! Of course in any learning community, when we are using Visual Tools for coaching another person, in cooperative learning structures, and in large group collaboration can help to establish a dynamic, practical, reflective stance.  Thinking is enhanced because it is not only the words that we speak to each other that are important, but the underlying thinking that is being visually expressed.  When we show each other how we have connected our ideas together then we are offering to others a rich, dynamic landscape of thinking that grounds our words and ideals.

$150.00 USD

Click here to go to order page with ALL Designs for Thinking products

Please contact us for information about VTT distance learning, in-school professional development for teachers, and blended models for you and your colleagues.

 Posted by at 7:32 pm