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Visual Literacy

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chelsea callaway

on 30 January 2014

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Transcript of Visual Literacy



visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be 'READ' and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.
Visual Literacy is a group skills that is learnt over time we use these to understand and use visuals for intentionally communicating with others.
The term Visual Literacy is credited to John Debes - co founder of the International visual literacy association
The development roots for this concept formed from; philosophy, Art, Linguistics, and Psychology.
Early communication systems were both iconic and representational in that they directly compared to the visually observed world.
90% of what we take in is Visual
'Its not a skill, it uses skills as a toolbox, it's a form of critical thinking that enhances your intellectual capacity' - Brian Kennedy
'Visual literacy stems form the notion of images and symbols that can be read. Meaning is communicated through image more readily than print, which makes visual literacy a powerful teaching tool' - Patricia Edwards
Visual images, like all representations, are never innocent or neutral reflections of reality... they represent for us: that is, they offer not a mirror of the world but an interpretation of of it' - Midalia
'One becomes visually literate by studying the techniques used to create images, learning the vocabulary of shapes and colours, identifying the characteristics of an image that gives it meaning, and developing the cognitive skills necessary to interpret or create ideas that inform an image, be it television, shows, photographs, paintings, charts, graphs, advertisement, and power points'. - Tad Simons
John Debes
Clarence Williams
Colin Murray
Robert McKim
Through my research i have found that the importance of Visual literacy is more significant to every individual than we may think, its use of images to understand its meaning is an effective way to interpret language other than the written word.

In relation to the grammar of visual literacy it is clear to see that the break down of signs enables us to create an image - it creates this aspect of building blocks 'to get to the outcome you have to start building'.

The increase in digital technologies has allowed visual literacy to expand immensely because there is more scope to access this through many different forms, not only this, but it has encouraged a change in education in that it is a significant concept in all our lives today.

From the Mid 20th century it has been more apparent that visual materials have become increasingly dominant in schools, colleges and universities across the world. It is highly unlikely that you will go anywhere in the world today that does not use visual literacy in one way or another.

Its development over time has allowed us to create several new concepts from this - making it into more than one area of focus, these include; visual studies, culture, communication and graphics.

To understand the use of visual literacy you develop skills over time, these set of skills enable you to interpret content, social impact, purpose, audience and ownership in visual images. the more you do this the less you think about the things that go into identifying these factors and the more you think about being able to interpret, create and select images to portray a range of different meanings. For example; the image below can have more than one meaning but shows just one visual appearance. why? you are critically analysing this so you can make the judgement. What does this image tell you?

Theoretical View
Avgerinou & Petterson proposed;

If visual literacy was grounded its would consist of five main components: language, thinking, learning, communication and perception.

The break down of these components have a chance of creating many different connections, in doing this it allows the components too interact in various ways when creating and interpreting all visual messages.
Cave drawings gives us a clear indication that our use of visuals have been around a lot longer than imagined, this was there way of producing information from what they could see, the landscape, the animals. The use of symbols to create meaning can be understood before the written word, not always but, images do play a significant part in our lives, as seen in the images above.
Visual literacy dates back a long way, the classic and medieval theories encouraged its use in the memory of learning.

In the early 18th century a Swiss educator - Pestolozzi realised how visual materials had a significant impact on learning - he was the pioneer of manuals and visual mediums.

Educators in the early 20th century saw this concept as not only supplying us with information, but enabling us to encounter a reaction and emotion from a visual form.

visual literacy became part of the English national curriculum in the early 90's within the arts, without this we would not be able to influence our work through the use of imagery, and as some would say 'actions speak louder than words' from this we have been able to produce our foundation of knowledge through this wonderful form.

Importance of Visual Literacy
In the contemporary world we live in today we have become more and more visually dependent through our use of communication to the world and within our environments - the use of images create and form instant results.

In teaching it is a great form of delivering messages and developing use of visual learning strategies through different medias.

'a wise man once said that a picture is worth 1000 words. But when visual symbols are used in place of words to express an idea or evoke feeling within, it is necessary for the viewer to understand the message'(Oring, 2000).

The use of images influence us as individuals, it plays a part in our beliefs, values and attitudes towards life in general and the way we read into an image to determine an outcome.

The environment we live in enables us to process information of those that we may and may not know through their publication to the world through use of worldwide social networks, the main ones being Facebook and twitter. For those that agree with these forms of communication, it gives them an unbelievable amount of information about a person and what they choose to share publicly, some more than others. For example:

In my own experience i use Facebook not only as a social aspect to keep in contact with friends but to share images to friends/family near and far, so they are able to get a look into my life at my own demand, as well as, accessing groups that contribute and keep in contact with fellow peers within my university course. However, these social networking sites can be used in the wrong format and through the use of imagery, images can be read and found offensive to others, dependent again on their culture background, or beliefs.

Having even a basic understanding in visual literacy allows any person to produce images that communicate information effectively and more efficiently.

Dance Based Visual Literacy
Visual literacy in dance is used a lot, it signifies a meaning when creating movement.

We often use imagery as a starting point for making movement which is known as a 'stimuli'

Rudolf Laban, a pioneer and well known dance practitioner created a form in dance called 'Labannotation'. This is the use of visual images to read dance, the images each have their own meaning or act as a part of the body, when reading these it forms sequences/phrases or whole dances. Not only is this a different way to interpret dance it is a great way to keep note of steps that have been created, using this form enables you to pass the information to someone else without having to demonstrate the outcomes.

'Visual literacy is a requirement for anyone who consumes or is exposed to information and knowledge of any type, which is loaded with visual messages, including those in the fields of art, design, film and media, theater and dance. All the more so, of course, for those who teach these subjects' (Visual Literacy in Education).

'I had discovered the power of mental imagery, what goes on in your mind, your thoughts, mental pictures, attentional slates, flashes of intuition - has a great influence on developing your movement skills and many other capacities (Franklin, 1996).

'Imagery is a system that helps us to analyse, understand and acquire movement patterns more efficiently and more quickly' (Franklin, 1996).
Visual Literacy
Bibliography of References

http://www.smkb.ac.il/en/visual-literacy-edu - accessed on January 28th 2014

http://ajijo.co.uk/labanot.html - accessed January 28th 2014

http://www.laban-analyses.org/jeffrey/2011-Rudolf-Laban-1926-Choreographie/annotations-introduction/major-concepts-Laban-1926-Choreographie_files/image004.jpg - accessed January 28th 2014

http://www.laboriechic.com/wp-content/gallery/lascaux/lascauxbulls.jpg - accessed on January 23rd 2014

http://www.historicalhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2-Lascaux-Cave-Drawing.jpg - accessed January 23rd 2014

http://www.fanningart.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/cave-painting.jpg - accessed January 23rd 2014

- accessed January 10th 2014

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/06/30/article-1196454-0589860E000005DC-746_634x517.jpg - accessed January 23rd 2014

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/675 - accessed January 29th 2014

- accessed January 29th 2014

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4072/4688417819_4e86542408.jpg - accessed January 29th 2014

Barnford, A. (2003) The Visual Literacy white paper. Australia; Adobe systems

Raney, K. (1994) Visual Literacy: a spectrum of visual learning. USA; library of congress

Franklin, E. (1996) Dance Imagery for technique and performance. USA; library of congress

Within my own experiences of visual literacy in dance, it is used an effective tool to help create and develop movement ideas.

The use of images are an endless way of creativity and opportunity for experimentation, on many occasions i have used images to convey my outcome of a dance work.

For example when studying my FdA i created a dance work which had to be someone or something that shared the same birthday as me, i found out through my research that John Lennon was born on the same date as me, which led me to look into this more where i came across an artist called Denny Dent. It wasn't just about the art itself but the meaning behind the image, his work was so realistic to the real life form, it brought to life the hard work and creativity that goes into making something like this so appealing to an individual.

Art is perceived through its use to create a visual meaning and his work inspired me to create movement based upon this, reading his images through his use of different visual interpretations. Below i have included a video that i actually used as inspiration for movement for this dance work and the first image that inspired me to use his work.

The use of visual literacy not only allows the eye to read an image, but enhances the mind to dig deeper into meaningful communications, anyone that is able to encode and decode images can discuss and create a purpose for something. It wasn't just the image alone i was interested in, it was the colours he used, the shadows, his enthusiasm for his specialism, and his vast amount of creativity,

The syntax of an image determines the structure and organisational composition. Its purpose is seen as the
'building blocks'
of an image. syntax looks at both its placement and editing. some examples are;
Simplification &;

The first level in reading is simply decoding words and sentences, but reading comprehension is equally (if not more) important: teachers work to help students not only to decode words but also to make sense of what they read. That understanding requires broad vocabulary, experience in a particular content area, and critical thought, and teachers have various approaches and strategies to help students build contextual understanding of what they read.
(Thiabult & Walburt)
Questions you may ask yourself to create a better understanding of visual literacy are the;

What &;

1. Changes in facial expression and taking pictures, asking others to analyse your emotions

2. Encouraging individuals to interpret the things they like the most and discover there signs and symbols

3. Explore different technologies to enhance and edit images to discover a new and changed outcome

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