Visual literacy is found all around us, quite literally EVERYWHERE, as we live in a very technological age. We are able to use visual literacy in many ways from presenting information through the use of detailed visuals, such as Paul Hughes demonstrated in his Ted Talk, “Ten Meters of Thinking: The ABC of Communication” and communicating like Alex and Liza described in the podcast, “Me and My Girlfriend Texted Only in Emoji for a Month”. While written and oral word is still an important aspect, it is no longer the only thing we consider when we think of literacy. Visual literacy can be used to enhance the understanding of information and communication through the use of visible actions, objects, symbols, and so on.
In my post last week, I included a visual that explained “90% of all information transmitted to our brains is visual” and “people remember 80% of what they see but only 20% of what they read”, which further supports just how important the use of visual literacy is to learners…
Visual literacy has been being used to support learning and increase understanding in classrooms for a long time now. In his Ted Talk, Paul Hughes used 10 meters of paper to provide meaningful visuals to help the audience understand the information that he was presenting. Honestly, sometimes when I am watching a lengthy video such as a Ted Talk, I tend to lose interest and become less engaged as the speaker continues to stand at a podium and talk. Paul’s use of visuals throughout his talk really helped me to stay engaged in what he was saying and understand the concepts that he was presenting. If I would’ve listened to his explanations without also seeing his drawings I do not think I would’ve fully understood his message. Initially, his strategy of rolling the paper out and drawing seemed like an innovative and really cool way to keep his listeners engaged. However, I soon realized that it reminded me of something teachers have been using in their classrooms for a while:
Anchor charts are a great source of academic support for all students, especially visual learners that promote visual literacy. Personally, I always loved when my teachers would use anchor charts when I was an elementary school student. Now, as a teacher education student, I really enjoy making them to support my lessons.
Below is a link to a website that further discusses classroom usage of anchor charts.
Another great way to use visual literacy in the classroom is by incorporating Emojis into instruction. In my experience, students get such a kick out of using things they love in their everyday lives inside the classroom. In the podcast, “Me and My Girlfriend Texted Only in Emoji for a Month”, Alex talks about they are challenged and ultimately able to express more emotion through the use of visuals to enhance their vocabulary with each other. This same idea can be used in classrooms to help students develop their visual literacy skills and really begin to think critically by using multimodal formats for learning.
I found a great blog that includes many different ways that teachers can use Emojis in their instruction.
One of my favorite resources that was included in the blog post was something called the OMG Shakespeare Series which is a collection of works by Shakespeare told through texts and Emojis. This is something that I feel I definitely would have enjoyed reading in my middle and high school English classes. I always hated reading Shakespeare, mostly because I often had a hard time understanding what I was reading. This series makes the original works relevant and easy to understand for students, like myself, who struggled with reading Shakespeare. I think this is such a cool idea that uses aspects of visual literacy and popular culture to increase understanding of traditional literacy.
Though, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to use the OMG Shakespeare Series as a student, I can remember coming across some similar things in popular culture. For example, in the 90’s film 10 Things I Hate About You, there is a scene in which the teacher raps an excerpt from Shakespeare in the effort to make the text more relatable to his students. This idea is symbolic for the entirety of the movie, as it is meant to be a rendition of Taming of the Shrew for modern audiences. It was interesting to me how the movie made use of visual literacy, in this case: film, to convey Shakespeare’s story through alternate means of expression and representation. Because of this, both that particular scene, as well as the film itself are great examples of visual literacy.
Basically, there are really so many ways teachers can incorporate visual literacy into the classrooms including: