David Barton, Year 3 Leader
An effective flipchart could be deemed one that supports you in drawing a student’s attention to what you want them to see without overloading their working memories. Showing a child a huge colourful heading will draw their attention, but more than likely it will also keep their attention away from what you want them to see. You want them to look at the example on the board but that heading keeps them locked in. Only the distraction of a catchy animation of a man giving a thumbs-up can break their attention from the heading!
Within a classroom, there are so many variants and distractions which could affect a child’s attention and draw their focus away from the key thing you want them to see. Some of these extraneous things are out of our control. Some we can adjust to give children a better opportunity to access the learning. A flipchart is one such thing. Whether its Powerpoint, Active Inspire or Google Slide, the same design concepts apply.
These simple concepts can draw a child’s attention to the key aspects you want them to see.
Bolding or colouring key words, taking out needless images and backgrounds are small but impactful changes. It’s not only about drawing attention, it’s about limited working memories and how they can quickly become overloaded. Lovely looking pictures are nice, but are they effective? If they don’t have a purpose, then delete them as it is using needless working memory. Depending on the purpose, often a line drawing can be more effective than a picture, without overloading the working memory.