Vintage Thought to Virtual Thinking

Illustration of title

“Design is thinking made visual.” ~ Saul Bass

The primary goal of education is teaching students to be critical thinkers so that they are capable of problem solving and expanding their own horizons. As technology evolves, the critical thinking process within ourselves, and eventually, our students must evolve as well.  Even scripture urges us to think critically about our steps.

Proverbs 14:15 says, “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.

In this post, we will explore ways to use technological tools to visualize and organize information for easier and more efficient use.  Keeping ourselves organized in this digital age frees us to use the information rather than waste time and energy just juggling it.

Hopefully these tools will help you design more engaging lessons that will encourage our students to be critical thinkers.

  •  Visualizing Data – A graphical system or representation of information or data.Visualizing data is the most basic form of organizing information or data into a visually useful or graphical system.  This is typically done through Spreadsheets, tables, charts, graphs, and flowcharts.

    • Google Sheets


    • Lucidchart

  • Mind Mapping/Graphic Organizers – A graphical representation of brainstorm ideas and concepts.


When I was in college in the 90s, before widespread digital tools, we learned to use the “webbing method” to organize our thoughts in order to critically think and visualize a project or writing piece with our students. It would look something like this on a piece of chart paper.  Let’s take this tool and go digital.

    • Wakelet

    • Webjets

    • Popplet

    • Explain Everything


    • Google Keep

    • Interactive Notebooks w/Google Slides

    • Choice Board, HyperDocs

    • Google Drawing

  • Virtual Creation / Multimedia – Visually illustrating a concept through a graphic, slideshow, website or video


The vintage way of producing thoughts visually to illustrate understanding of a concept was through a written report, poster, diorama, cereal box book report, and much more.  Let’s take these ideas and go digital.

    • Canva

    • Adobe Spark

    • Over

    • WeVideo

    • iMovie

    • Google Drawings

    • Google Slides

    • Google Sites

Sketchnoting – Visual notetaking using  illustrations, symbols, structures, and texts.


Many students (and teachers for that matter) are very visual and can’t think critically about how to solve a problem until someone literally draws them a picture.  This is where sketchnoting comes into play. Sketchnoters take highlights from a presentation, book, article, lesson, etc., and sketch them out to see an overall understanding.  This image shows a sketchnoting example for the content covered in this post.

Leave a Reply