Visual Literacy – Final Reflection

A library by its very nature is full of images. Of course there are books covers, but also magazine covers, posters, Dewey signage and student art. My goal after taking this class is to take in up to the next level, whether it be through visual displays or in my teaching. It is important to recognize that for educators, Web 2.0 tools can be used in a variety of ways to enhance how teachers present information to students. If design concepts and eye-tracking movements are kept in mind, new ways to present information can be very powerful. During the class we were introduced to Infographics, using Presentation Zen when creating Powerpoint presentations; Pecha Kucha for imparting a big concept in a short amount of time and finally digital story telling. I believe all of these methods, if used correctly will greatly enhance how I can get information out to the students whether as a teaching aid or perhaps more importantly as a librarian for awareness, advertising and marketing.

My first Infographic was an illustration of particular aspects of the Guided Inquiry Research Model. In this situation I used it as a way to review the model that the students were introduced to the previous semester. I also left it up on the screen during the class so that they could refer to it while they were going through each step in the research process. I think that Infographics can be particularly useful to a librarian when presenting a model or concept. I also think that Infographics could be used in the library as a reminder about things, such a copyright, plagiarism, digital citizenship and general signage. There a numerous posters I could create to display around the library. I could even do this to promote a particular genre either fiction or non-fiction. This year I have a table in the library which I use to display books from a particular category; every month I change it and put up a simple sign. For example, in January I displayed Diet, Health and Fitness books, this month I have Craft books as well as Man Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners. In future, along with the books, I will try to add an Infographic to go with the display and as we develop digital citizenship in the school, school wide Infographics can be created to promote and reinforce this, similar to the one Dana did for Social Networking.

Presentation Zen is fabulous and so much more enjoyable to watch. As a librarian I can see using this style of presentation when promoting reading and presenting a particular genre to the students. I also think I could this in promoting new books, by just having the book cover, title and author and maybe one or two words about the book that would peak interest. In the blog post by Garr Reynolds titled From Design to Meaning: a whole new way of presenting? He discusses 6 new areas to consider, including: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. This made me reflect on when I do book talks, they are a) so much better when I have read the book as my presentation is far more personal and b) it does help if there is a great book cover, especially with the younger students.

Pecha Kucha was a fun, but for me, an extremely hard form of presentation. It certainly made me think about what I wanted to say and about being far more succinct, however, having each slide be the same length, did not work well for me. I found there were slides that lent themselves to more dialogue than others. I think the premise of keeping the presentation short is good but I would prefer to allow myself more flexibility.

Digital storytelling has so much potential and can be used in many ways. I decided to use a screen casting tool to do a database tutorial. As a librarian it is a great way to show the students how to use either a database or our library catalog and post it so that they can refer to it at any time. I could also use it to make short announcements and send out reminders. The students could use digital story telling for book reviews or even explaining a historical situation, like “Causes of World War II”.

In the article titled Becoming Screen Literate by Kevin Kelly he discusses how we are becoming ‘People of the Screen’ which made me reflect on a skype conversation I had with Kevin Hennah, a library design expert we consulted on our new library renovation project. He talked about marketing in libraries and how some new libraries now have flat screens which advertise books and other media. Visual literacy can be used in a library through screens, signage, Infographics and also as a teacher/librarian I can modify my own teaching. Finally any library blog or website needs to be designed well and updated on a regular basic and can include a wide variety of images, including Infographics, digital stories and changing screens all as a way to capture attention.

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