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Transcript of Themes
3 common themes that emerged from other reading about the issue include:
1. Visual texts communicate certain information more clearly than words.
2. Visual texts can be complex.
3. Visual literacy is a form of universal language.
Visual texts communicate certain information more clearly than words
Knoell (2012), an educational consultant and author, explains that graphics often communicate information more effectively than words alone.
She provides 2 strong examples that support this claim. These are a photo and a map.
While it is possible to write a description of a person, a photo is a better device to use to capture their true visual identity. As the famous clique goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Likewise, while it is possible to give written or verbal explanation of directions, a map provides a more understandable picture of where and how to get to a given destination.
Moline (2013) supports this idea, stating that visual representations can be more concise, accurate and memorable.
It is clear that there are times in which it makes sense not to write information as visual representations can communicate information more clearly.
Visual texts can be complex
Moline (2013), a writer, illustrator, designer and literacy consultant, explains that visual texts are not always simple to understand.
He explains that they follow conventions that need to be learned.
He supports this idea throughout his book. He explains the conventions different text types follow before proving some great teaching ideas and examples. This is beneficial as it helps teachers to determine the purpose of each text type and analyse how they make their meaning.
The amount and availability of similar resources also reinforces this theme. Three examples include:
Comprehension Strategies Visualising &Visual Literacy by the Department for Education and Childhood Development.
Teaching Visual Literacy in the Primary Classroom by Tim Stafford
Four resources model
If visual texts were easy to understand, there would be no need for so many teaching resources.
From this it can be determined that visual literacy is not something that children are simply born with. It is a learned skill. Hence, there is a need to explicitly teach the elements and devices of visual literacy.
Some other themes that emerged from readings:
1. Assists ESL students, visual learners and students with learning disabilities.
2. Engages and motivates students.
3. Extends the repertoire of writers.
The large amount of themes presented is an indication that teaching the elements and devices of visual literacy is essential.
Visual literacy is a form of universal language
Zender (2006) explains that an increase in globalisation has made it easier to communicate messages. It has also made it more important to do so.
Some common universal signs that can be seen today are rest room signs, no smoking signs and road signs.
Knoell (2012), although referring to ESL students, reinforces this idea stating that “visuals are a kind of universal language that brings meaning to an otherwise incomprehensible world of words” (para. 10).
Interestingly, Zender (2006) also explains that communication designers are working on expanding icon based communication to communicate more complex messages and more abstract ideas. The hope is to enhance global communication. To do this, context is being explored.
Reflecting back on Winch et al (2010), culture would be a significant reason why some messages may be more difficult to communicate.
It can be gathered that by teaching the elements and devices of visually literacy it will provide students with the ability to function in an increasingly globalised nation. It will also provide them the skills which may soon may be transferable to other universal signs and symbols.
Knoell, D. (2012). The Role of Visual Literacy to Enhance Social Studies. Retrieved from https://www.herffjonesnystrom.com/index.cfm?fa=Teachers.06February
Moline, S. (2013). I see what you mean visual literacy K-8 (2nd ed.). U.S.A: Sternhouse Publishers.
Winch, G., Johnson, R. R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L. & Holiday, M. (2010). Literacy: reading, writing and children's literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford.
Zender, M. (2006). Advanced icon design for global non verbal communication: or what does the word bow mean? Visible Language, 40 (2), 178-206.