Tag Archives: Visual Literacy


Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

My wife passed this on to me noting my habit of doodling during staff meetings. Great little video. So grab some paper, a pen, push play and doodle away! It’s okay!

Course 3

Take a Picture!

Well that was enjoyable!

Course 3 introduced us to a multitude of options and effective practices in the use of visual media. The tools and philosophies presented were inspiring and some even immediately incorporate in to the classroom. Where previously I felt a hesitation to apply many of the new technologies introduced, but these particular new toys (VuVox, VoiceThread, Comic Life, etc.) and new ways of looking at uses for old ones (PowerPoint) began to feel familiar much quicker and dare I say it, fun!

The amount of programs/websites tools available now is absolutely astounding, yet super exciting. The link to cogdogroo was eye opening with its list of over 50 tools to assist in the creation of digital storytelling. Granted I wish I had seen it last spring when I was wrapping up another online course in technology integration from a California university. At the time I was given very little to go off of in regards to digital storytelling, yet I was expected to write about how I would use such a tool in my own classroom. The idea was completely new to me and almost entirely dismissed. Hate to sound like an rear end kisser, but really a big thank you to Jeff and Kim for presenting digital storytelling in a more inspiring light. The possibilities are truly endless and more importantly engaging for students.

As a visual learner the power of imagery has never surprised me. That being said I have come to realize that I was not using visual literacy in a manner that was most effective for student learning. PowerPoint presentations were drab and cram packed with too much text and super saturated with long spiels by yours truly. It needs to be concise, to the point and exciting. I’m taking cue from the advertising world. We know that the biggest consumers and most easily influenced are the youth today…the tweeners…the teenagers. Major corporations are more successful than ever before in selling their products to this age group because of excellent advertising campaigns. It’s concise, to the point, memorable and it all involves visuals. So take a picture!

I look forward to seeing what lies ahead in the COETAIL program. Feeling anxious and antsy though about that final presentation to the rest of the class in March. Public speaking ranks about as high as eating lutefisk for me. Looking on the bright side I suppose I could use lots of visual imagery to get my point across and spare you all of my stutters and “umm…umm…ummms…”

Course 3

Who’s buying?

As a visual art teacher the idea of using visual media seems natural. Slides, PowerPoint presentations, video clips, are all a regular part of everyday instruction. What I am starting to realize though is how much more powerful visual imagery can be in the classroom when it is used to its true maximum potential. It’s not unusual in an art classroom setting for us to interpret and make judgment based upon the viewing of a single image followed by what most middle school students would call a lengthy or drawn out discussion on content by yours truly. Although it is not completely unreasonable to expect a middle school student to be analytical when looking at art this is perhaps no longer the proper method to establish meaning. It seems young minds no longer work in this manner and neither should old minds.

The idea that you could essentially omit all spoken word, consolidate what’s really pertinent into a compacted few minutes of visual bliss and still be incredibly effective in connecting with your audience really hit me after following a link to the Sony Bravia (Bouncy Balls) advertisement (http://youtu.be/2Bb8P7dfjVw). It is a beautifully shot video where image and sound are in perfect harmony…just colors, sound, movement and a slogan of “colour like no other”. Ultimately it’s a memorable. It’s an advertisement that I actually find myself watching over and over again.  In a world driven by consumerism with much of the products being successfully targeted towards the children we teach, it seems high time we started acting a little less like teachers and more like advertisers. It’s time to sell Picasso’s “Guernica”.

Some rights reserved by Jaume d'Urgell ∴

My visual arts standard on aesthetic valuing: making formal judgments continues to be quite a tricky one for me. Students are expected to construct an interpretation of a work of art based upon the content of that particular piece. When introducing Picasso painting “Guernica” to my middle school class the typical reactions tend to be that his style appears child-like, cartoonish, weird, and overall not very good. We trudge on with with the most time being spent on the class determining whether or not there are in fact boobs hanging out of one of the abstract figures shirts while quickly dispelling all pertinent information on the true meaning behind the piece itself, the Spanish Civil War. After most of our 45-minute class time is eaten up some students will make connections, but overall it feels very spoon-fed and contrived.

The Sony Bravia ad gave me an idea that perhaps through the creation of a short video clip I could streamline the learning of the content to assist in the constructing of meaning and ultimately judgment of Picasso’s “Guernica”. My hope is, that given I can find enough “free” powerful imagery on the Spanish Civil War, I can intertwine Picasso’s masterpiece with real parallel historical footage. The grief stricken mother, the fallen soldier, and the agonizing expression of the horse all equaled with real corresponding images.  I have yet to explore the music-sharing component of compfight.com, but I am hoping that the right soundtrack might be found there as well. If not Garage band could easily be used. It wouldn’t be far fetched to see this turn into a class project instead. One in which each student is responsible for “selling” a piece of art using nothing more than 30 seconds of images and sounds. Who’s buying?