Visually speaking . . .


.Education. (Flickr)  by Ranga Krisha Tipirneni under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic Licence

My last blog post focused on a move away from a text centric way of learning. This has been confirmed more emphatically to me in recent readings around the topic of visual literacy.

What pervades the literature, is that there is no agreed upon definition for VL. Rune Pettersson, among many scholars contends, “There has been, and there still is, considerable disagreement among researchers and practitioners concerning a definition of visual literacy. So far, there is no consensus” (2009, p.38).

He continues by saying, “Many researchers from different disciplines have explained their views and interpretations and written about visual literacy from their various perspectives” (2009, p.38).

My question is, Is this why it is not more explicitly stated in the curriculum?

What scholars do seem able to agree on is being visually literate in the 21st century is critical. As Maria Avgerinou states, “VL has been identified as the essential literacy by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.” She also says, “VL training will not assume the position it deserves unless a more holistic view of learning is adopted” (2009, p.32).

And in my own work with students, I have found that interdisciplinary projects are a great way to practice and develop visual literacy skills. My class recently completed social studies presentations using Glogster. We spent quite a bit of time looking at glogs to determine what made a glog not only visually appealing, but also easily “readable.” I have been impressed with how students have taken our discussion points and applied them to their own visual creation of the work.

In light of this, I have decided that a big focus for me will be to become more visually literate. And though there is no specifically delineated curriculum in visual literacy, I want to be thoughtful in including as much visual literacy instruction in whatever I do. As Avgerinou states, “Educators need to recognize that all teaching and learning experiences involve communication and that communication cannot any longer be limited to spoken or written word” (2009, p.32).

I get the picture.

Avgerinou, M. (2009). Re-viewing visual literacy in the “bain d’images” era. Tech Trends, 53(2), 28-34.

Pettersson, R. (2009). Visual literacy and message design. Tech Trends, 53(2), 36-40.


About sandralbecker

An educator who is passionate about the creation of a school Learning Commons, which supports inquiry, critical thinking, and collaboration.
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