A Commonsense View and Its Problems

  • Linda M. PhillipsEmail author
  • Stephen P. Norris
  • John S. Macnab
Part of the Models and Modeling in Science Education book series (MMSE, volume 5)


We introduce some commonsense notions of visualization for two reasons. First, we establish some basic ideas and vocabulary by looking at everyday examples of visualization in learning. Second, we establish a baseline for the sort of activities and objects that are the main focus of this book. Let us begin by conceiving of a visualization object as any object that a student observes to assist in the learning or understanding of some topic of educational importance. A visualization object could be a picture , a schematic diagram, a computer simulation, or a video. The student who uses the visualization object we will say is visualizing. The student who uses visual imagery in the absence of visualization object s we will say is introspectively visualizing. These terms will undergo refinement as the book proceeds, but these general notions will be sufficient to introduce our main themes.


Visual Experience Visual Imagery Visual Clue Beginning Reader Commonsense Notion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Swetz, F. (1995). To know and to teach: Mathematical pedagogy from a historical context. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 29(1), 73–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. van der Waerden, B. L. (1983). Geometry and algebra in ancient civilizations. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Swetz, F., & Kao, T. I. (1977). Was Pythagoras Chinese? An examination of right triangle theory in ancient China. University Park, PA:Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Netz, R. (1998). Greek mathematical diagrams: Their use and their meaning. For the Learning of Mathematics, 18(3), 33–39.Google Scholar
  5. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2000). Principles and standards for school. Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar
  6. Barwise, J., & Etchemendy, J. (1996). Visual information and valid reasoning. In G. Allwein & J. Barwise (Eds.), Logical reasoning with diagrams (pp. 3–26). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda M. Phillips
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen P. Norris
    • 2
  • John S. Macnab
    • 3
  1. 1.Canadian Centre for Research on LiteracyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Youth, Science Teaching and LearningUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.EdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations