The purpose of my reading review was to find digital technologies to help teach visual literacy. I was able to find some good resources and I enjoyed looking into them in more detail this week. There are a few I will definitely bookmark to use to help me teach visual literacy. Reviewing my results, I found the most useful sites to be Learn NC and Edutopia.
Finley’s blog post on the Edutopia website, Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies, was helpful and has some good ideas on teaching visual literacy. He offers strategies that teachers may be familiar with for reading text, and gives insight on how they could be used for reading images. Searching the Learn NC site from the University of North Carolina yields pages of links for ideas and lessons for teaching visual literacy in the classroom. They range in grades from K-12 across a variety of subjects. Though many lessons are specific to the North Carolina area, there are still a lot of general ones for teaching visual literacy. For example, one link, Resources For Teaching With Photographs lists websites and activities to use in the classroom. These include an activity on optical illusions to help explain how our brains often misread the images we see, as well as a collection of photographs where students are prompted to spot which are real or fake. The activities are interesting and there are pages of other resources and lessons that I am looking forward to checking out.
I was a little disappointed with the blog by Gary Abud, Digital Activities For Visual Literacy. At first glance it lists a number of apps along with ideas about how to use them to support visual literacy. However, like Marqueed, most of the apps are not educationally based, but for professionals to use for collaboration. Though they seem to have educational value, I would prefer to use something designed for students in mind. I did like Write About This, “an app for emerging writers that prompts the student to write about what they notice in a picture.” I also liked Visual DNA, which is an image-based personality test. It is a great way to think about your feelings and emotions in terms of images rather than words.
The ColorMatters site is different from the others I looked at. It does have a global colour survey students can take, but I was hoping to find more online activities on the site. Instead, it mostly gives information about colour theory and how it relates to media images and branding. Therefore, I think it has some excellent information that could be used for a combined lesson on visual literacy and media literacy.
According to the literature, the term visual literacy has been around for awhile (I found articles from the 1990s) so even though I have only become familiar with it in the last couple of years, it shouldn’t be considered a “new” literacy. I think what is new, is that with the rise of digital technologies, teaching visual literacy has become essential, not just as a way to engage visual learners, but as a necessary competency for all students. Though I found numerous articles discussing the importance of visual literacy, I was a little surprised that I didn’t find more strategies for teaching it using digital technology. Some of what I did find seems very useful, utilizing online activities and photo collections to develop lessons. However, other suggestions focus on trying to use available apps that are designed for purposes other than teaching visual literacy. Though there is value in using these apps, I would prefer using something that is intended to help students become visually literate.
Now that I have some resources to teach my students visual literacy, my challenge, as a teacher-librarian, will be to design lessons and collaborate with classroom teachers to teach visually literacy to our students; especially challenging in the content-driven curriculum of high school.
Abud, G. (2013, August 16). Digital Activities For Visual Literacy. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://abud.me/digital-activities-for-visual-literacy/
Finley, T. (2014, February 19). Common Core in Action: 10 Visual Literacy Strategies. Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ccia-10-visual-literacy-strategies-todd-finley
Marqueed Collect and Discuss Images. (2014). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from https://www.marqueed.com
Thibault, M. (n.d.). Resources for teaching with photographs. Learn NC. University of North Carolina. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/678?ref=search
Welcome to Color Matters. (2015). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.colormatters.com