Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Visual Literacy

While the inspiration for this entry may not be directly related to Education, but it immediately sparked an idea... visual storytelling!

(Image Credit:

There was a popular pin going around a while back showing a man, Melbourne's Andrew McDonald, holding a series of notes in what he called his "Pictorial Guide to Avoiding Camera Loss."  I originally pinned this here, and the original blog post can be found here.  I, like so many others who saw McDonald's guide, got a good laugh out of his creative approach to proactively asking a stranger to return his camera to him.

Then my teacher senses kicked in and I wondered how I might use this in a classroom.  Visual literacy is such an important skill to teach students- they are bombarded by so many images on a daily basis that it is vital that they know how and why these images are created.  This collection of images shows a strong connection between text and image.  It is also very easy for students to identify purpose (please return my camera).  I think that this would be a great project for kids to use as a model.  They can come up with any potential problem or message that they might want to get across and determine how they can use text and images to best meet their purpose.  Will humour work?  An appeal to emotion?  How will they keep the text concise and easy to read?  What will be included in the accompanying image?  The options are limitless.  I think that I might use this as a part of a media study unit, but I can also see this being a part of a study of a character (taking on his or her point of view), in an advertising unit, in a unit on rhetoric, or as an early essay assignment.

Food for Thought... What do you think about this idea?  If you are a teacher, would you use this guide as a mentor text in your classroom?  If you are not a teacher, what do you think about using images like Andrew McDonald's in the classroom?  How important is it to teach visual literacy in our schools? 

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