In this technologically advanced environment, users have become highly visual, with television, videos, web sites and images dominating the learning environment. These new forms of searching and learning are changing the perspective of what it means to be literate. Literacy can no longer solely rely on text-based materials, but should also incorporate digital images and sounds. Higher education seems to be lagging behind with incorporating visual literacy into their academic programs. This paper explores visual literacy, the digital native, and the importance of integrating visual literacy into our learning curriculum, especially in instructional design programs.
In 2007, film critic Kevin B. Lee began publishing “video essays,” which he described as videos that “take footage from films and reconfigure them using editing, text, graphics and voiceover to reveal startling observations and insights, visualizing them in ways that text criticism can’t,”1 on his blog Also Like Life. When I started working at the University of Maryland’s Nonprint Media Services Library (now Library Media Services) in 2013, I knew I wanted to incorporate this technique into our instructional efforts. Traditionally, NPMS’s instruction had focused on finding audiovisual materials; our new objective was to teach students how to create something new from the items in our collection.