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Visual Literacy Startegies

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Visual literacy strategies can engage learners to think critically as they can create opportunities for learners to derive meaning from images of everything that they see, and evaluate, apply, or create conceptual visual representations from these meanings.

Visual literacy: An overview

According to Frank W. Baker of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), visual literacy refers to the ability to “both read and write visual information; […] to learn visually; and to think and solve problems in the visual domain” (Baker, 2012, p. 41).

New digital technologies have made it possible for members of a learning community to critically view, use, and produce visual content. Many of these tools allow instructors and learners to collaborate to

  • use images and visual media effectively;
  • interpret and analyze the meanings of images and visual media;
  • evaluate images and their sources;
  • design and create meaningful images and visual media; and
  • understand many of the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media, and access and use visual materials ethically. (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2011).

Featured visual literacy tool: Using infographic to diversity content presentation to promote student learning and creativity

Infographic is a powerful data visualization tool for showing relationships; clarifying concepts; and facilitating communication and information on a particular topic, event, or program. Instructors as well as students can utilize infographics as a means to diversify how content is traditionally presented to promote learning and creativity. Through the use of infographics, students are exposed to the multiple ways of presenting, processing, and sharing of information. Infographics can be published and shared through emails, Facebook, Pinterest, and various other social media; embedded in blogs and websites; and downloaded as image files. In addition, any changes made to the infographic updates in real-time.

Instructional strategies using infographic

The following examples and supporting artifacts demonstrate a number of instructional strategies with the use of infographics.

Visual snapshot demonstrating an idea or concept

The Conflict Continuum infographic is a visual snapshot demonstrating the phases of conflict explained through the premises of conflict transformation theory. The infographic is a quick and effective method for communicating the “big picture” of how each premise relates to one another and how the abstract concepts work individually or in concert to influence the evolution of a conflict.

Artifact: Conflict Continuum

Visual mapping of a complex structure or process

The Study Abroad Pre-Departure Checklist infographic is a one-page visual checklist of a study abroad pre-departure process that has historically been explained through several lengthy documents and forms at this study abroad service provider. In addition to presenting a visually appealing and easy to follow summary, each icon could further be linked to the relevant form involved in the step.

Artifact: Study Abroad Pre-Departure Checklist

Data visualization of datasets and figures

The Malaysia’s Global Rankings 2011-2013 infographic presents a visual overview of Malaysia’s rankings in over 20 global indices, while the DDDM Class Data infographic displays the data showing participation and engagement for an online class.

Artifact: Malaysia’s Global Rankings 2011-2013

Artifact: DDDM Class Data

 Additional resources

Teaching with infographics: Practicing new digital competencies and visual literacies

Inventing infographics: Visual literacy meets written content

The power of infographics: Using pictures to communicate and connect with your audience

References

Baker, F. W. (2012). Media literacy in the K-12 classroom. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Association of College & Research Libraries. ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/visualliteracy.

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