Reflective Eyes View Course 3

by Frank Patrick

Iceberg by Frank Patrick

What is visual literacy and how does the manipulation of visual elements affect the viewer?   These were essential questions  in  CoETaIL course 3, and forced me to think about those ideas in depth.  The visual part of that term is easy to get, but the literate part means you go truly beyond the surface meaning of something you “see” and evaluate for other less obvious elements that vie for your attention.  There’s more to it than meets the eye.

This course put me to work with projects that I found useful and motivating.  I like it when we can kill two birds with one stone by using our homework to teach students. I also thought the progression through infographic, presentation Zen presentation, pecha kucha, and digital storytelling worked.  I am motivated to do more graphic work and projects to support my curriculum.

This course introduced me to Garr Reynolds and Presentation Zen.  I like how he doesn’t spend too much time telling you what you shouldn’t do, but focuses more on the positive. Images that affect your gut or evoke memories automatically put the viewer’s brain in your corner- or in the opposite corner if that’s your intent.  We gain and hold the audience’s attention largely through visuals.  We also lose their attention without some zing in graphics used. And Garr’s making a living himself teaching us by doing presentations about presentations.  I want to be him!

This is all about sales.  You’re selling ideas, products or services in the end. Eye tracking studies analyze the movements of our eyes, and executives and designers use the data to decide which images that will most grab our attention to put where to help guide our eyes.  Darrin Stevens did it every week on Bewitched usually without the help of his witchy wife.

We’re sensitive to light while still in the womb  (if you’ve got that sense). I remember seeing my own children move toward light while still in utero.  That first glimpse of light after birth must have seemed strange.  Or is curiosity piqued to put an image to some things you’d become familiar with through sound?  So, we know the importance of images to our view of the world so to speak.  We could probably draw before we could talk. Making sense out of sounds took more time to develop. Visuals had and have the advantage of being perhaps more easily interpreted.

Visuals are one way  we can really grab someone’s attention, so as teachers we should be integrating these thoughts into lessons and presentations.  After all, we’re selling, too.  We can’t forget that part of our duty is also to get kids to be a little aware of evaluating visuals in their lives.  They are bombarded with images aimed at getting them to buy something, and maybe they can see through some of the crap.

CRAP.  I hope to apply CRAP.  Not like sunscreen; but use contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity in the graphic design process.  Its a handy acronym to help one focus a little and stay mindful of the power of picture.  Of course this being a course about visual literacy I instantly see an image in my head when I hear the term.  I’m sure that’s what the person who coined that phrase had in mind. Oh, the power of visuals!

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One Response to Reflective Eyes View Course 3

  1. Avatar of jbass jbass says:

    Reading other people’s posts are great review. I just realized I forgot to mention C.R.A.P in my reflection. Great post and visuals Gary. Thanks for all your help.

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