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New Literacies Project - Visual Literacy

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3: IAH - Visual literacy is the ability to read images, however the manner in which images are presented, or their delivery, can greatly influence their interpretation. Images of tornadoes that are meant to be warnings would not be as effective if there were images of people smiling and dancing. To use images as means of expression for students can also be difficult. It may be difficult to asses and understand children's images which is why it may be helpful to have have written or spoken commentary when working with visual literacy in the classroom. Language is the communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals such as voice, sounds, gestures or written symbols. It can be frustrating to students to communicate their thoughts and feelings sometimes due to lack of experience. Using visuals can help students find other ways to express themselves. Consider visual literacy as a language for students to use. This requires students to learn how to read, understand and use visual literacy.

5: IAH - Visual literacy can be confusing and helpful for ELLs. For example, the semantics of signs can sometimes get lost in translation.This can be caused by cultural differences or lack of language competency. On the other hand using visuals in the classroom can be an enormous help to ELLs who struggle with the language. This goes for visual gestures as well. Gestures can also vary across cultures. For example, the O.K. sign that we make with our thumb and forefinger means asshole in Germany.This is one of many reasons that teachers need to be culturally aware and know their students' backgrounds. This also means that studying and explaining the semantics of signs in the country where you are teaching can be helpful for all students. You can try having native students create presentations to talk about the signs they see on an everyday basis. this will also help the native speaking students look at signs more closely and get a glimpse at the rhetoric behind them. For example students could try and find the origin of a certain sign and what it means and why we interpret it the way we do. they could also look at what that sign may mean in other countries.

7: - IAH - Semantics is the relation between signs and the things to which they refer; denotation or meaning. Pragmatics is the relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them. Signs are only one part of visual literacy and can certainly be taught in the classroom. A way to incorporate global understanding into lessons would be to talk about visual literacy and how it is used, interpreted and read in other countries. You could start by doing the countries whose nationalities are represented in your classroom. This might not work well with elementary students, but teachers could do lessons on dissecting the rhetoric of signs. What they mean, how they use physical features to get their point across, and why they want to say it. This can all relate back to the ISA and RSA and how signs or gestures can be used as power to control people. This would be useful when studying forms of visual literacy such as propaganda. At an elementary level, where I will be, semantics can be simply signs that tell us which bathroom to use. But even young students are capable of finding deeper meaning through discussion. It is important to discuss or debrief when working with visual literacy so that students may learn from each other, being that we are social learners.

9: - IAH - It is important to keep in mind that there are specific audiences meant when studying forms of visual literacy such as signs. Road signs, for example are meant as warnings, directions, or laws for persons traveling along the road. They do not apply mostly if you are not traveling along the road. This means that the delivery of the signs will be large and easy to read and probably in the native language of that area. Some signs have no alphabetic writing and use only pictures while others use only text. These are all things to consider when teaching visual literature in the classroom. This can also be important when students are creating their own objects of visual literature. Teachers can incorporate these notions such as audience and delivery when helping students create their own visual literature. Reminding students to consider those aspects will help them to think of the aspects or Canons while studying other visual literacy. It will help them create meaning

11: I think these visual thinking strategies are helpful because they require students to digest visuals instead of just looking at them. I think producing growth or helping aid growth in students is the most important. Using visual literacy as a medium can help more students of different learning styles access the information. One issue with visual literacy is that it cannot be accessed by the visually impaired or may not be conducive for some other kinds of learning styles. While visual literacy can be helpful for many students it will not be helpful for all students. This is why it is important to know the students and learn how they learn best. It is also important to keep in mind the kind of visual literacy that teachers use in the classroom. One should try not to become too large a part of the ISA. As teachers we should promote individuality and creativity in our students. Visuals can do harm in the classroom by promoting stereotypes or by stifling student growth. Be mindful as a teacher to avoid using visual literacy as a means to stunt students.

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  • By: Nicole D.
  • Joined: about 6 years ago
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  • Title: New Literacies Project - Visual Literacy
  • NLP merged with IAH final project - rhetoric and identity
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  • Published: about 6 years ago