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Nicole Kent: Visual Literacy

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S: Visual Literacy

BC: References www.ohio.edu/visualliteracy/JVL.../27_1_Brill_Kim_Branch.pdf http://fno.org/oct05/images.html http://dl.dropbox.com/u/272073/TE%20402_S11/HowToReadPhotographs.pdf Pictures from Google Images and my camera

FC: Visual Literacy Nicole Kent TE 402: Language Arts Spring 2012

1: Just like the general definition of literacy, there are many definitions of Visual Literacy. Here are a few definitions that have been gathered to get a sense of what it is all about: - Interpreting visual things encountered in the environment -Making things in your head visible - Graphic representations that help us to interact -The ability to understand and use images and to think in terms of images: to think visually (Horton, 2007) - The ability to both accurately interpret and create images that are transmitted through the sense of sight (Rezabek, 2007) | Definition

2: But, my favorite definition of visual literacy is: | “Basically, visual literacy is the ability to process the elements of and to interpret visual messages, the ability to understand and appreciate the content and purpose of any image, as well as its structural and aesthetic composition. A visually literate person can perceive, understand, and interpret visual messages, and can actively analyze and evaluate the visual communications they observe. Visual literacy involves the interpretation of images, movement, design, color, and pattern in the media messages of many kinds, from company symbols and street signs to television commercials and MTV” (Robinson, 2007). | (Note: Please keep in mind this definition doesn't include all that visual literacy entails)

3: So..... IMAGES CONVEY A MESSAGE TO US!! | Examples Include.....

4: Photographs

5: Logos | Logos

6: S I G N S

7: Hand Signals/ Gestures

8: C H A R T S | Graphs

9: Maps

10: Visual literacy skills need to be taught! Visual literacy skills: the ability to interpret and make sense of a variety of images (Jamie McKenzie, 2005)) Teachers need to teach students to make meaning of visuals and how to appropriately use that meaning. | By teaching students visual literacy skills, you teach them how to be more informed viewers. Images can influence our thinking and actions!

11: Debbie Abilock (2012) gives a suggestion of how to read photographs: 1) Look at 2) Look for 3) Ask myself: What have you discovered? Questions we can ask ourselves -What do I know? -How do I know it? -How can I find out more? -What’s the point of view? -Who’s the creator’s audience? -Why is this important? We can teach our students to do this with all photographs they come in to contact with, helping them to become more visually literate. We can accomplish this through modeling and pushing our students thinking by asking them questions.

12: Some visual strategies are better taught in a group setting Why? -There are more possibilities to show how people think differently. Not everyone looks at a visual representation and interprets it in the same exact way. This aspect needs to be taught. For example, some people may interpret the glass half empty, while others may interpret the glass half full, which has different meanings for different people.

13: We also have to teach that photos can act as tools for propaganda, persuasion, and marketing. One way for this to be taught could be to have students contrast photos from tourist sites, etc. with other collections of pictures. (Jamie Mckenzie, 2005) Sometimes visual representations can also create false impressions making things seems better or worse than they actually are. (Jamie McKenzie, 2005) One way for teachers to teach this is through graphs. They need to teach students that they need to take the whole into consideration, not just what they are looking at. For example, a graph could show that more people are employed now than last year, yet it doesn’t take into account the fact that those people are now working minimum wage jobs. Or, graphs can distort their lines, sizes, etc. to distort the message.

14: What else can teachers do to help their students become more visually literate? -Use more imagery and always explain graphs & charts -Always ask: What does this image make you wonder? Train students to ask themselves that every time they see a visual representation. -Have students write a caption and article to go with a photograph. If this assignment is done individually it can be another way to show that every person interprets images in various way because everyone will not write the same thing. - Have students create a comic, video, slideshow, etc. instead of writing an essay on a given topic -Talk about images as a class on a meaningful level - Use digital storytelling - Take a field trip to the local art gallery: have students pick a piece of art and write a poem about it

15: Remember..students want to understand what they are looking at and in order to do so they need to be visually literate!

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  • Title: Nicole Kent: Visual Literacy
  • TE 402: Language Arts
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