There is simply too much information these days; too many words and not enough time to read them.
I would agree with David and I appreciate the ability to view his approach to capture the spirit of ISB using key words and photos—A brochure without words.
Doug McIntosh provides a good starting point for those wanting to learn more about visual literacy. His website offers good links a variety of resources such as ASCD author and educational consultant Lynnell Burmark. I have always been a big fan of graphic organizers. I like the visual literacy overview chart created by Steve Moline (below).
An overview poster such as this can help give students options on how they would like to organize their material. In the language classroom, even students with a limited vocabulary can utilize the key vocabulary that they know to communicate higher level thinking without having to worry about sentence structure, verb tense, and other grammatical points.
While I use visuals on a daily basis to teach and use vocabulary. These illustrations are often simple line drawings that allow easier and quicker recognition by the students. In the past, due to the limited amount of instructional time, I may or may not have included the quality of photographs that I desired. For Hinamatsuri (ひなまつり) or Girl’s Day, I have used various photos acquired from a Google image search. I have often used the document camera or the computer to zoom in on details of the dolls. However, an image such as the one below found via Flickr has much more appeal. In particular, the details of the layered kimono are sharp and clear. I think this photo would be much more memorable for students.
Thanks go to Viviane Van Esche for her mention of Sliderocket. I experimented with the site to see what it could offer. The online presentation software allowed easy access to Flickr pictures that were licensed under Creative Commons. The layout with the black background also made it easy to view the search results. Here is a simple series of photos that I found that I could use for my Getting Around Unit (street directions).
I plan on having the students in pairs describe the pictures in Japanese. Students would take turns saying three statements about each photo. Students can state where the picture is taken, what the picture is of, what you might do at the location. More advanced students could compare and contrast (in simple terms) two pictures.
In the future, students will describe routes from their home to the nearest train station or bus stop. One option I would like to offer the students is to be able to use a digital camera to document the key locations where specific directions are needed.
Incorporating visuals with presentations and projects is continually becoming more and more seamless. I am looking forward to continuing to explore different ways of utilizing these capabilities in the classroom.