Introduction to LVT
LogoVisual Thinking (LVT®) is a simple yet profound methodology for making sense. It gives everyone involved the means of developing meaning. It is a method of ‘Hands-on’ approach tothinking that were developed as a way of enablingenables people to represent their thoughts as objects and then manipulate them until they make sense. It gets people out of their heads, engaging physical, emotional and kinaesthetic intelligences to develop understanding.
The initials LVT stand for:
Logo - articulating discrete units of meaning in words and icons.
Visual - revealing and manipulating patterns and connections.
Thinking - attaining new levels of understanding or perception.
LVT is a particular kind of Visual Thinking, in which ideas are written on objects that can be displayed and arranged on a surface that can also be written upon, such that everything can be readily revised to facilitate the game-play of meaning making. It requires simple tools – perhaps as simple as Post-it notes on a paper background, though the preferred medium is dry wipe magnetic hexagons (called MagNotes) on whiteboards, as this means everything can be changed at any time. Hexagons tessellate well and help to prize our thinking out of its habitual lines and columns.
Clearly, the tools and method are not exclusive to teaching History. Across the whole spectrum of education, there is an imperative to nurture curiosity and enquiry. We need to adopt pedagogies that enable young people to think for themselves rather than rely on what another generation perceived as fact – this is essential if they are to make sense of the rapidly changing world of the 21st century. Making meaning is, therefore, the fundamental thinking skill for the rising generation. In the hands of enlightened teachers, LVT is enabling students to rapidly develop their cognitive abilities.
Hands on exercise 1
This exercise was introduced as a means of engaging students in a collaborative sense making activity. The theme and focus was What factors led to Germany’s defeat in WWII?
After a 10 minutes of gathering responses onto drywipe hexagons, and displaying them at random on whiteboards, table groups of 3-6 then organised their material into groups, looking for sameness and difference. Having formed groupings, each cluster was given a title. For both the ideas themselves and for the cluster titles, attention was paid to the use of complete phrases that were responses to the question. The whole exercise lasted around half an hour.
Here are some examples of the material developed:
What does this show us?
Even teachers/historians struggle to articulate meaning, and LVT is useful for practicing and developing this skill!
The boards give an instant visual clue as to the students thinking and understanding of the topic in question.
The visual display becomes a collaborative thinking space, and a stimulus for discussion.
It enables students to arrive at their own meaning and sense
Presenting, comparing and contrasting the work of different groups and discussing the process provides an opportunity for metacognitive learning
Its not dissimilar to mind mapping, but works inversely. I.e. instead of starting with some key factors and then populating each with component ideas, you start with a random display and let the key factors emerge – if you know a subject, this can be useful in surfacing some new insight. If you don’t know a subject, it enables you to develop some understanding of it.
Hands on exercise 2
This exercise introduced a way of using the same visual resources for exploring credibility of sources. The theme was the Samarra battle, Iraq at the end of November 2003.
Table groups were given copies of reports from the Independent, The Mirror, Hi Pakistan and DC Military, and a prompt sheet asking them to represent each named source as a yellow hexagon, display it on the board depending on whether the source supported or contradicted the principle argument, and use green and orange hexagons alongside them to represent +/- credibility factors.
Here is an example of the material developed:
What does this show us?
The example and sources used weren’t ideal – it was all very subjective, and some useful points were made about the pitfalls of serious consideration of events in such recent past. – At least it provoked the discussion! Of course, the intention wasn’t to get Iraq added to the syllabus, it just seemed like an interesting deviation. It has to be said, there are more appropriate sources around for actual use in the classroom.
The boards give a visual answer to questions like where is the balance/body/weight/ of evidence?