It clicked for me today and I wasn’t even looking for it. I now understand the power of images and the importance of visual literacy. As a teacher who uses images to inspire imagination and strengthen comprehension, I thought I knew how to create and give a presentation. Prompted by course three of CoETaIL to open my eyes I realized that wasn’t so.
I found myself wanting to shout, “A-ha” while visiting author Jan Reynolds shared her books titled, “Celebrate” and “The Cycle of Rice“. I was completely overwhelmed because each of her beautiful photos held so much power. There were no words to read. Her photos were Pecha-Kucha-like, on a short timer, and she narrated while allowing quiet time for thought.
Her presentation was simple. In a darkened room, photo slides held the screen for about 30 seconds each while she sat on a stool to the side of the screen and narrated. She spoke slowly and kept to the timing of the slideshow. At times she would say just one word or a sentence and we understood. Other times she would explain a concept like, all cultures celebrate with dance, by giving details about the specific cultures that she had photographed dancing. Once she had finished “The Cycle of Rice” story, she told us to reflect on what she shared. Then, the exact same slides roll on the screen in the exact same order, just a little faster and with music. Having this time to reconnect the dots and solidify what was presented was so important to my understanding.
Mrs. Reynolds never talked at length. She did not control the timing of the slides during the presentation. She let the images do the teaching.
I thought I would introduce our unit of study, “Human Impact on the Rainforest” with a proper PowerPoint, but I think Ms. Reynold’s model, without text, is more powerful. It holds the audience’s attention and allows for much more thinking than any wiki, slideshow, PowerPoint, Speech, or Prezi I’ve ever created.