Chalk it up to art in the name of science

October 26, 2006



Owl, by Chrys Rodrigue

You should read this post. It demonstrates why P. Z. Myers is one of the most-read bloggers in the world — he writes so well, on topics that are so dramatically interesting.

Myers tells an interesting vignette of a professor of gross anatomy who was a wizard of illustration in colored chalk.

Visuals, especially spectacular visuals in color, contribute to the ability of students to learn the material illustrated. Drawing is rapidly becoming a lost art, a victim of too-easy-to-use clipart and Bush’s dour view of education that excludes music, dancing, painting and drawing, anything that might distinguish us from lower animals or otherwise bring delight and insight into human existence (and other factors). How could PowerPoint seriously compare to live art in a classroom?


Presentations are always made better with specific, relevant illustrations. Most people are at least partly visual learners, with about four times as much information going through eyes on illustrations than going through ears hearing a lecture, or eyes reading text. I use a simple tree to illustrate the Constitution, its roots in the consent of the people, its three branches of government, and fruits of liberty and freedom. Students — whether budding lawyers, eager Boy Scouts, or complacent high school kids — get the point, and do well on the exams.

Myers’ tribute to Professor Snider is touching, informative, and inspiring. Where is Professor Snider today?

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