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Professional Development  - Visual Research

Visual Literacy
Carol Vaage
B.Ed, Ed Dip, M.Ed.
February 2006

Notes and Reference Links
Professional Development

Visual Research

Telecollaborative Projects

Electronic Portfolios
Meeting Our Students
Movie Making
Zoo School – Primate Environments
Birds – Sculpting, Models

As teachers, we know…
 A picture is worth a 1000 words.

 All of us are watchers - of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway - but few of us are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing. Peter M. Leschak

 If I can't picture it, I can't understand it.
Albert Einstein

Why is Visual Literacy important?

 We live in an increasingly visual culture. We are surrounded by images everywhere in our lives.
 Visual literacy is a universal grammar: preverbal, sophisticated, intuitive, and cognitively challenging.
 It is a key element to communication – to create, use, and evaluate images.

Value of Visual Literacy
 Young people learn more than half of what they know from visual information, but few schools have an explicit curriculum to show students how to think critically about visual data. Mary Alice White, researcher, Columbia Teacher's College
 The majority of information absorbed by human beings is collected with our sense of vision. It seems logical the we emphasize the development of visual skills as a way of preparing for successful and satisfying lives. page 4, A Guide for International Visual Literacy Association Board Members and Officers

Curriculum Benefits
 Better readers and writers
 Addresses learning styles, multiple intelligences
 Accessing primary sources of data for authentic learning
 Makes learning come alive
 Promotes constructivism and higher level learning

What does Visual Literacy include?
 facial expressions
 body language
 drawing
 painting
 sculpture
 hand signs
 street signs
 international symbols
 picture book images
 emotion, feelings
 color
 graphics
 cartoons

 layout of the pictures and words in a textbook
 the clarity of type fonts
 computer images
 photographs
 sequences
 movies or video
 web sites
 user friendly equipment design
 critical analysis of television advertisements
 concept maps
 cards

What is Visual Literacy?

 Visual Literacy can be defined as the ability to understand and produce visual messages.
Keith Lightbody

 Visual literacy skills can be taught
 Teachers can create environments and materials that encourage visual literacy
 Students encouraged to create their own visual messages
 Visual tools provide base for constructivist learning and collaboration
 Digital literacies offer opportunities for visual learning

Verbal Literacy vs Visual Literacy
 mastery of knowing and manipulating the basic components and genres of written language: the letters, words, spelling, grammar, syntax
 Mastery of knowing and manipulating the basic components and genres of visual text: structures (foreground…), elements (line…), genre (collage, photo…)

Teaching Visual Literacy in Research
 Guided “reading”
 Shared “reading”
 Independent “reading”
 Paired “reading”
 Read-Around-the-Room
 Retellings
 Response to “reading”
 Character, plot, setting

What do kids know when they start school?
 Read facial expressions and body language
 Recognize M in MacDonald’s and other symbols
 How to retell a story using the pictures in favorite story books
 How to recreate real world scenarios in their dramatic play

Reggio Emilio
 to help children express their knowledge through representational work
 to organize materials to help children make thoughtful decisions about the media
 facilitate children's construction of "his or her own powers of thinking through the synthesis of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages"

Reggio (cont)
 Representational Development: Consistent with Howard Gardner's notion of schooling for multiple intelligences, the Reggio Emilia approach calls for the integration of the graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Presentation of concepts and hypotheses in multiple forms of representation -- print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play -- are viewed as essential to children's understanding of experience.

Start early
 Children can interpret and read the illustrations in a book long before they can read the print text.
 Once they read print, we gradually move them away from image dependency.
 We should be enhancing this skill, spending time every day to build on this strength.

Hands-on Learning
 Real objects
 Photographs
 Stimulating and colorful environment
 Materials accessible and organized
 Props and materials
 Experiential

Genres in Visual Literacy
 Non-fiction
 Photographs
 Illustrations and Art
 Diagrams, drawings
 Multimedia; digital

Information Texts
 Visual texts accessible to all
 Visual texts are complex and multilayered
 Certain information better portrayed with images
 Electronic media widely uses images
 Visual texts can help with comprehension
 Visual texts can assist with planning
 Visual literacy is a life skill

Non-fiction texts
 My classroom has over 3,000 books – half of them are non-fiction.
 Texts, encyclopedias, coffee table books, simple texts, science magazines, catalogues, Big Books, reference anthologies
 Browsing time favorite stories and non-fiction
 Child choice – read the pictures? Or 1 page?

 Choose topic based on interest and choice
 Prepare a pile of non-fiction books and magazines; search and stack
 Tell me what you see and know from this picture
 Build knowledge and compare photos and drawings
 Compile information
 Apply knowledge; represent

Gorilla Research
 Books
 Magazines
 Non-fiction
 Photos
 Represent through drawings
 Compile information
 Create and manipulate

Drawing and Representing
 One of best ways to help children see, is to have them draw what they know.
 Reggio Emilio – 100 languages of children
 Fine black line markers (no erasing) and chances to do more than one drawing.
 Show different samples of how children tackled the problem
 Look critically at other artists’ renditions, compare, judge

Shadow Experience
Shadow Drawing

Lion Research
 Non-fiction
 Fiction
 Photos
 Video
 Represent – drawing, painting, building

Questions and Guiding Statements
 Tell me one thing you notice…
 What can you tell me about the shape of the eyes? Color?
 Who can tell me about the habitat or place where he lives?
 Can you see any food sources nearby?
 How would we begin to draw this animal? The shape of the head? Nose? Legs? Body?


Photographs – Visual Elements
 light and shadow
 value
 focus
 space
 shape
 line
 scale
 color
 texture

 angle
 framing
 dominance
 contrast
 repetition
 variety
 balance
Photos -
 What mood or feelings does the photo create?
 What viewpoint or message did the photographer want us to notice?
 No such thing as an objective photo – each comes from the perspective of the photographer
Learning to Read a Photo
 Look for main subject
 Visible features
 Environment/habitat/surroundings
 Other subjects in the photo – why are they there?
 Foreground objects? Background objects? Can you determine location?
 What time of day is it? Lighting, shadows
 What mood or emotions are being communicated?

Illustrations and Art

Picture Books
 A picture book is any book in which the message depends upon pictures as much or more than text. The pictures must be accurate and synchronized with any text, but they extend the text, giving the reader information or interpreting the text in a way that would not be possible from the words alone.
Sequential images
 A picture book conveys its message through a series of sequential images. We are exposed to the verbal story (the text) a little at a time, remembering and associating its elements as we read or hear them, but we see each picture first as a whole, and then notice individual details that make up the whole. Unlike many other media, however, we can turn back and forth through a book at our own pace.
Art object
 The impact of the total book creates the art object known as a picture book. Every aspect of the format (the book's physical characteristics and design) affects the story and the book must be designed as a whole.
 Aspects of the format which affect the book's impact and contribute to the book's quality as an art object include the size and shape, cloth cover, dust jacket, endpapers, title page, spacing of text, margins and white space, size and spacing of pictures, colors used for pictures and text, color and texture of paper, choice of typeface, type of binding.
 Color
 Proportion
 Form
 Design
 Composition
 Dot
 Line
 Shape
 Direction
 Value
 Hue
 Saturation
 Texture
 Scale
 Dimension
 Motion
Illustrations: Style
 Realism
 Impressionism
 Expressionism
 Surrealism
 Primitive or Folk Art
 Naďve Art
 Cartoon Style
 Collage
Illustrations: Artistic Media
 Painting – acrylic, gouache, oils, watercolor
 Drawing – pencil, chalk, pastel
 Collage – assemblage, collage, cut paper, fabric
 Photography, digital art
 Printmaking – etching, linocut, woodcut, monotype
 Miscellaneous – plasticine, mixed media, reproductions
Reggio – art media
 explore first: what is this material, what does it do, before what can I do with the material
 should have variation in color, texture, pattern: help children "see" the colors, tones, hues; help children "feel" the texture, the similarities and differences
 should be presented in an artistic manner--it too should be aesthetically pleasing to look at--it should invite you to touch, admire, inspire

Diagrams, Drawings
Using Diagrams to Represent
 Graphic organizers and visual mapping tools enable students to make sense of complex subjects by exploring linkages, relationships, similarities, and differences between phenomena, and visually representing interplay among system components.
Types of Visual Information
 Maps
 Diagrams
 tables or charts
 Graphs
 time lines
 tree diagrams
 cutaways and cross sections
 flow charts
 web diagrams
 Venn diagrams
 Use visual mapping to organize ideas visually: categorize, Venn Diagrams, cause/effect, before/after
 Create a visual field trip: use drawings, maps, directions, and highlights
 Create drawings of Native artifacts
 PowerPoint presentation on the topic of nutrition. Students scan labels in this project; identify the location where the item was produced.

Multimedia, Digital
Developing Technologies
 Digital and still camera
 Digital video camera
 Audio recording
 Computer
 Internet
Manipulate media
 Technology now enables us to record and play back at varying speeds and to freeze visual language so that students can identify, describe, discuss, analyze, and evaluate the language features used in a very short section of what they view. Thus they gain experience in interpreting visual language through close reading.

Digital Cameras
 Enhance quality of instructional materials
 Self-esteem and student celebration – identity photos, class photo book, labels…
 Assist with language teaching
 Recording information from field trips
 Provides close-up views of any subject
 Enhance presentations
 Encourages effort recognition of achievement

Digital cameras (cont.)
 Document student progress/process learning
 Analyze physical activity
 Recording a sequence of events
 Recording weather, cloud formations
 Photos of natural or built environments
 Documenting an interview
 Evidence for demonstration of learning
 Electronic portfolios

 Computers and applications software programs enable users to carry out different communication tasks that require, for example, a database, a spreadsheet, a word processor, a simulation, or a drawing. Computer programs provide a range of graphics, including line graphics, animated graphics, and 3D graphics, as well as the variety of interactive computer and video games that many students know. Games can assist students to explore visual language by using such technologies to view, interact with, and present ideas. Students can describe the games' narratives, including their own interactions, change their narratives, describe their visual features, and create their own games.
Graphics programs
 Kidspiration, Inspiration
 KidPix
 PowerPoint
 Paint
 Hyperstudio

Telecollaborative Projects
 Web Sites
 Electronic Portfolios
– PowerPoints
– Kid Pix
– Kidspiration
 Movie Making
– Making class movies
– Creating own movie

 CD-ROM not only provides interactive opportunities for computer users but also extends to multimedia viewing, presenting, and interaction through its ability to integrate moving images with sound and with computer text and graphics.
 DVD’s enable us to record huge video files adding in text and effects.
 Transform any media into a digital format to manipulate
 Capture children’s work digitally
 Scan unusual items for manipulating: paper, fabric, objects, covers, lights, or body parts.
 How about dirt, food, clothing labels, or cross sections?
 Scan artwork such as projects using colored pencils, markers, chalk, watercolors, and collage to have a permanent record that lasts long after the artwork itself is worn out or lost

Where to Start?
 Start with what you have in your classroom
 Bring out the real, the art, the photographs
 Question so that the children need to look closer
Teaching Visual Literacy
 Look for the whole and parts of the story of the visual; subject, plot, setting
 Go beyond describing: understanding and explaining are higher levels of thinking
 Teach how to interpret the visual - retelling, identifying, describing, explaining, and critiquing
Practicing Visual Literacy
 Introduce Photo of the Day
 Describe, interpret these photos
 Collect photos and have them accessible for student assignments
 Manipulate photos on the computer

Places for Photos
 Google – image tab
 Yahoo gallery
 Ditto
 FreeFoto

 Astronomy Picture of the Day
 Kodak Picture of the Day
 Earth Science Picture of the Day
 Colorado Scenic Picture of the Day
 CNN Picture of the Day
 Horse Picture of the Day
 Weather Photo of the Week
 Travel brochure
 Children around the world
 Science discussion
 Find photos for class poems, stories, novels
 Take photos that show…
 Create visual representations for …
 Create maps
 Create pictionaries
 Create an I-Spy game
 Take photos for special words
 Photos with colors, create game
 Take photos of kids working/playing – create dialogue

Activities (cont)
 Write words that rhyme with photo
 Take photos of prosocial activities, write.
 Take “feeling” photos, label
 Use career photos and match materials used
 Create quizzes or games using photos
 Take photos over time – planting, weather…
 Photos of different angles/perspectives
 Photo a dramatic retelling
 Photos from skit - reorder

Activities (cont)
 Photos from field trip; retell
 Photos (velcro, magnet) use in retellings
 Claymation/playdough photos
 Brainstorm the many objects you could scan or photograph in your classroom including tangrams, money, and shapes in math and science. Think about projects that mix mediums such as scanned pictures, craft foam, glitter, beads, and paper combined with computer graphics painting. Create collages using photos, cloth, ribbons, and reusable pictures and objects
 Information Toolkit
 Show Me
 Rubrics built with class
Role of the Teacher
 Help children to see
 Teach parents how to help their children see
 Show parents and community what children are learning

Train your brain to see more…


Visual Literacy Links

On-Line Visual Literacy Project - http://www.pomona.edu/Academics/courserelated/classprojects/Visual-lit/intro/intro.html  Defines aspects needed for visual literacy

Visual Literacy in Classrooms - http://members.ozemail.com.au/~leemshs/visual.htm  Digital cameras, multimedia

Visual Literacy and Picture Books - http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/picture.htm  Links to many sites

Art in Children’s Books - http://nosferatu.cas.usf.edu/lis/lis6585/class/art.html  Discusses types of illustrations and focus areas within the illustrations

Learning to Look at Photographs - http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/branches/ccp/education/guides/aaguide/lookguid.htm 

Picturing Books – A Website about Picture Books - http://picturingbooks.imaginarylands.org/  Deals with the illustrations

21st Century Literacies: Visual Literacy - http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/21stcent/visual.html  Online lessons

How to Read a Painting - http://www.visualsummit.com/Media/VLOverview.html 

Picture This: Visual Literacy Activities - http://www.museumca.org/picturethis/visual.html  Exercises

21st Century Skills: Visual Literacy - http://www.ncrel.org/engauge/skills/vislit.htm  Good list of books and articles

Visual Literacy k-8 - http://k-8visual.info/  Excellent descriptions of different types of diagrams,

Information Inquiry for Teachers: Visual Literacy - http://eduscapes.com/info/visuallit.html  Great summative page

Exploring Visual Language: A Framework - http://english.unitecnology.ac.nz/resources/resources/exp_lang/visual_lang.html

Visual Literacy - http://eduscapes.com/sessions/digital/digital1.htm 

Going Digital in the Classroom - http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/sbeck/digital/goingdigital.htm  Using digital cameras

101 Uses for a Digital Camera - http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~ucfcasio/qvuses.htm 

Web Museum - http://www.ibiblio.org/louvre/  Art images from the Louvre in Paris; also links to other art museum collections.