Words versus Pictures: Leveraging the Research on Visual Communication

Librarians, like many other occupations, tend to rely on text and underutilize graphics. Research on visual communication shows that pictures have a number of advantages over words. We can interact more effectively with colleagues and patrons by incorporating ideas from this research.

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Visual Literacy Practices in Higher Education

In our media-driven age visuals are increasingly frequent and prominently present in society and their importance and influence across academic disciplines is growing. This makes it essential to enable learners to become visually literate and justifies the need for teaching visual literacy competencies. Yet, there has been little research on visual literacy practices undertaken across academic subjects and institutions in higher education. Moreover, the key challenges and factors of success for achieving visual literacy education haven’t been studied to date. Accordingly, this research aimed to elucidate the issues most relevant to visual literacy and to identify practices undertaken by universities/ faculties and academic libraries. Explorative and descriptive research was conducted using literature analysis and an online questionnaire distributed to an international group of visual literacy practitioners.

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Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy: How Two Academic Librarians Combined Information Science and Design in Their Careers

The two authors of this chapter both worked in graphic design departments before obtaining their Master of Library & Information Science degrees, and subsequent professional positions in academic libraries. Framed within a context of visual literacy, this chapter describes each author’s experiences with graphic design and how the skills gained from those experiences lend themselves well to academic library outreach, instruction, web design, and archival work.

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Visual Literacy and Education: Seeing the World Meets Critical Thinking

The abundance and complexity of information now being delivered visually demands that we become visually literate, as well as verbally literate. We need to understand better a process we have taken for granted. In an age increasingly dominated by images – a media culture, it becomes imperative to develop an understanding of how our visual processing system works; how visual cognition is shaped by social, political, and cultural conditioning; and how visual messages are created to elicit specific responses. One of the chief goals of visual literacy education is to encourage critical analysis of visual communication by developing tools that help us understand and manage this complex activity. “Seeing” needs to become an actively conscious, not a passive activity for us. This thesis illustrates the importance of critical visual literacy, provides an historical overview of the visual literacy movement, and suggests a foundational approach to teaching the basics of visual literacy.

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Visual Literacy (VL) in Teacher Preparation: Measurement to Direction

An abridgment of the dissertation Measuring Visual Literacy Ability in Graduate Level Pre-Service Teachers by Teresa A. Farrell, this quantitative descriptive study was designed to establish a baseline of VL ability within this population using a national pool of graduate level students enrolled in teacher preparation programs. Avgerinou’s (2007) VL Index (modified to an online format) was the instrument used to measure VL ability. Results of this study indicate there may be a need for purposeful VL instruction in teacher preparation programs to better equip teachers in K-12 to be visually literate.

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Using Strategies from Graphic Design to Improve Teaching and Learning

This chapter calls attention to the value of graphic design education in K–12 settings by explaining the history and practice of graphic design, identifying the uses and value of graphic design in education, and sharing a case study of how it can be applied in the classroom. The chapter focuses particularly on the value of constructing meaning with pictures and text, both for teacher use in the classroom and in student picture–text integrated projects. It argues that the visual draft process, which uses pictures and words together, can operate just as powerfully as the writing process to facilitate and demonstrate student learning. This graphic design process gives learners control of their content and liberates them to see different relationships between elements and ideas. At the same time, it frames picture and word relationships as malleable and builds flexible, critical thinking in multiple dimensions.

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The Teacher Candidates’ Views Concerning the 21st Century Literacy Education Project (LEP)

Today, the concept of “Literacy” represents reading and writing in various forms of texts which embody knowledge and a range of skills. Different literacies are essential for human to live, work and produce in the society. In order to use communication technologies in educational and teaching processes appropriately, individuals are not only required to become scientifically and technologically literate but also multimedia literate. Within this respect, a Project called “The 21st Century Literacies Education for Teacher Candidates” was conducted with the support of TUBITAK at Amasya University.

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The “Eyes” Have It: A Digital Media Lab in an Academic Library

Multimedia design center, digital media lab, makerspace, scholars’
lab—there are many names for the ways that academic libraries
are embracing a wider definition of the “library as space” concept,
“where new and emerging information technologies can be combined with traditional knowledge resources in a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching,
and research” (Freeman 2005, 3). While actively renovating and reinventing spaces for information/knowledge commons areas, the rationale for
this movement is to provide an environment where students have access to
equipment and space to experiment. The underpinning of this movement
encompasses two key missions of academic libraries: to develop skills in information literacy and to encourage critical thinking among college students.

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Strategies and Best Practices for Data Literacy Education: Knowledge Synthesis Report

For the benefit of students, employers, and society, data literacy must be recognized as a necessary civic skill (Swan et al., 2009). This recognition should come from all levels of government, and from post-secondary institutions. There needs to be agreement on what
elements of data literacy are necessary in an undergraduate core curriculum, in order to provide a consistent foundational education for those entering an increasingly data-dependent workforce.

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Stories of Service-Learning: Guidelines for Increasing Student Engagement with Digital Storytelling

This article describes a project at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Libraries in which two library staff members–a librarian and a media specialist–collaborated with a Communication Studies professor to provide assistance for two sections of an Intercultural Communication class in the creation of digital stories. As part of the course requirements, students performed service hours with community organizations and then created digital stories as a way to reflect upon and share their experiences. The project provided students with an opportunity not only to create and reflect but also to acquire digital media and visual literacy skills that may be helpful to them in future coursework and employment. In this article, the authors will describe how the digital storytelling project was designed and executed at UNR and provide guidelines for executing digital media projects to increase student engagement and to support a variety of learning objectives.

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Some Visual Literacy Initiatives in Academic Institutions: A Literature Review from 1999 to the Present

The ubiquitousness of images in the digital era highlights the importance of individuals’ visual communication skills in the 21st Century. We conducted a literature review of visual literacy initiatives in academic institutions to illustrate best practices for imparting these skills in students. The literature review identified five categories of visual literacy educational strategies in academic institutions including: the availability of instructional scaffolds, faculty’s creation of activities and assignments aimed at increasing students’ abilities to interpret and create visual images, lectures and readings that promoted visual design principles, the development of programs and courses centered on visual communication, and research initiatives that sought to identify and improve individuals’ skills in communicating visually. The latter two strategies remained especially popular in institutions outside of the United States. All of the efforts served to focus attention to the importance of visual literacy competencies in higher education.

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Presenting My Selfie to the Digital World: Visual Composition for Better Representation

The intention that motivates an online image’s creation might be ignored by overwhelmed media consumers as images wash over them as they scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Consumers of commercially and personally produced images tend to focus on how those images make them feel as opposed to the narrative or reportorial information embedded in images. Since both “experts” and “novices” create online images, discerning an imagemaker’s level of expertise is difficult, if not impossible, to grasp due to lack of attribution, the availability of sophisticated online photo editing tools, and a steep learning curve among many novice creators. To discourage merely skimming images and to develop greater visual literacy, five principles of visual composition can be applied to access and analyze the intended and unintended denotative and connotative messages embedded in personal or commercial images posted on various social media platforms.

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Multimodal Composition in Teacher Education: From Consumers to Producers

In the twenty-first century, visual texts are vital to learning in English language arts (ELA). As English educators, we know the importance of telling and sharing stories in various formats in order to build community as well as facilitate deep understanding of the concepts we teach. In our methods courses for undergraduates, two of our course projects help students think creatively and reflectively about themselves as ELA teachers, particularly in this time of changing demands, standards, and high-stakes testing. Further, these projects also help to expand students’ understanding of visual and digital ELA content and promote their development as sophisticated consumers of these texts. However, the projects also encourage students to be producers of digital content and to better understand the affordances of multimodal composition. We ask students to use digital tools such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and VoiceThread to achieve our goals. In this chapter, we share the multimodal assignments we use and student project examples. While we teach in a university setting, we discuss adaptations to these projects that make them applicable to learners in other contexts.

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Kids, Take a Look at This! Visual Literacy Skills in the School Curriculum

Although the paradigm of visual literacy (VL) is rapidly emerging, the construct itself still lacks operational specificity. Based on a semiotic understanding of visual culture as an ongoing process of ‘making meaning’, we present in this study a skill-based classification of VL, differentiating four sets of VL skills: perception; imagination and creation; conceptualization; analysis. A qualitative curriculum analysis based on this framework revealed that curriculum standards for compulsory education in Belgium refer only peripherally to the use of visuals. The attention for VL skills also decreases from secondary education on, especially curriculum standards related to the analysis of images are scarce.

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Integrating Visual and Media Literacy in YouTube Video Projects

Advancements in social media technologies have made it easier than ever to locate, produce, and share online video. Much of the rapid expansion of online video can be attributed to YouTube, which has become the largest and most popular video-sharing platform online. The development of visual and media literacy (VML) competencies is valuable when engaging with social media content and technologies like YouTube. This chapter illustrates how VML have been integrated within a set of educational YouTube video projects in an online university course that has been offered regularly since 2008. The projects discussed in this chapter were designed for an audience of adult educators, but have applicability in K–16 classrooms. YouTube was selected as the central video platform for several reasons, which include practical, technological, and societal factors. Competencies described in published definitions of VML frame the discussion. Curation projects involve finding, interpreting, and evaluating video resources, which are grouped into collections for educational purposes. Educational video creation projects include video blogs, remix, PowerPoint movies, and interactive videos.

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Imagining a Constructionist Game-based Pedagogical Model: Using Tabletop Role-playing Game Creation to Enhance Literature Education in High School English Classes

In today’s K-12 educational environment with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS), improving student literacy as a foundational skill to obtain success in all other subject areas is one of the most important goals. Unfortunately, many literature curricula suffer from a lack of innovative pedagogy despite the introduction of various educational technologies meant to aid student learning. This study focused on developing a new game-based constructionist pedagogical model for literature education using tabletop role-playing game creation. Using Shulman’s (1987) Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) that eventually evolved into Mishra and Kohler’s (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) as the main theoretical framework, this design-based research showed how tabletop role-playing game creation as a constructionist pedagogical strategy successfully helped high school students to receive the benefits of high quality literature education.

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Illustrations of Iconic Women in Children’s Book Biographies

The purpose of this study is to examine the illustrations of iconic women in children’s book biographies published in the United States. Part I will discuss the history of juvenile children’s book biographies and identify the gradual growth of illustrated biographies and the emergence of children’s picture book biographies pertaining to women throughout the twentieth century. Part II will present research on the history of four iconic individuals and representations of them in art as a foundation. There will be a discussion of past and contemporary depictions of four iconic women: Joan of Arc, Pocahontas, Harriet Tubman, and Josephine Baker, by various children’s book illustrators in different time periods. This will allow for the comparison and contrast of different approaches of illustration for these women. Through in-depth research and interviews the visual representation of a historical female figure in children’s books will be explored.

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Equipping Teacher Candidates with Media Literacy Skills: Best Practices in Online Education Courses

This paper provides an overview of how to reach the millennial generation, primarily at the higher education level. However, it does address an audience of K­12 teachers, higher education faculty, researchers, administrators, and practitioners, who not only teach the higher education population of students, but who prepare students who will one day attain a postsecondary education. Currently used practices that have been grounded in theory are presented along with evidence of curricular integration of visual and media literacy skills. The skills are in alignment with the standards of the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL), the definition of visual literacy from the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA), and the definition of media literacy from the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

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Data Literacy: In Search of a Name and Identity

The role of data literacy is discussed in the light of such activities as data a quality, data management, data curation, and data citation. The differing terms and their relationship to the most important literacies are examined. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

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Creating an Interdisciplinary Materials Lab in the Design Library

In collaboration with students and faculty, the Library of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University developed an interdisciplinary Materials Laboratory that offers students in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction a hands-on and interdisciplinary sensory experience of building and construction materials. Materials research is a key component to students’ learning in design disciplines, and the tactile and visual experience of handling physical building materials samples allows students to investigate and discover materials in new ways. This article explores the collaborative creation of the Materials Lab that positioned the library as a central and innovative educational resource for all design disciplines.

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