Importance of Visual Literacy

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As the school K-12 librarian, I collaborate with many  teachers at all grade levels on a variety of projects & units. For most of my career a huge aspect of research has always been the skill to sift through a plethora of information in order to find materials that would be most authoritative and beneficial to the task at hand.

Up until the COETAIL course I always considered the most serious research to be sifting through documents, journal articles, and books. This is still a huge part of research in the upper grades and in preparation and participation in the IB program. So much in our upper grades in terms of research is still predominantly geared towards reading and writing, as the extended essay is the culmantion of many parts of research skills taugh.

Yet, with several of the courses last year I came in touch with the reality that media literacy, the skill in  being able to discern and assess visual images is equally an important facility developed. Just as in research there is literally millions of books and articles to wade through, so too in visual images there is a tremendous amount of materials to find and work with.

In our writing assignments at ISE we utilize MLA format in order to give credit where credit is due. One of the lessons last year and a video posted by Jeff Utecht on how to go to Creative Commons on citing an image from a blod has also been helpful. Also, I ask students in their .ppt presentations to do as was mentioned at EARCOS last year and cite the source at the bottom of each screen.

I am reminded of the importance of Media literacy also this first week as the article VisualLiteracyandtheClassroom posted by Johns Hopkins  University by Erin Reisland spoke of the onslaught of advertising that students will incur, any sort of help given to students to discern the images with which they will be inundated would be valuable indeed.

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One Response to Importance of Visual Literacy

  1. Kim Cofino says:

    It is interesting how the concept of research is changing, and even the idea of a source for research, it’s not only just “papers” anymore. Love that you’re teaching these new media literacy skills to students!

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