A new introductory geology text by ASU professor Steve Reynolds and colleagues is designed to address how students think, learn, and study. Although it was only published in June (too late for most professors to select it for fall classes) it's been picked up by at least four universities and is creating buzz in education circles because of it's innovative use of cognitive research in how visualization affects learning.
Exploring Geology by Reynolds/Johnson/Kelly/Morin/Carter (and published by McGraw-Hill) is built around nearly 2,700 photographs and illustrations laid out entirely in two-page spreads. Each two-page spread is a self-contained block of information about a specific topic.
It's organized differently from all the other texts I've seen as well. When Steve showed me a copy at last week's AGS conference, I wanted to run off with it, find a quiet corner, and pour though it. It's true: a good illustration is worth at least a thousand words.