Visual Literacy

Theo Kuechel, Jeff Beaudry and Sarah Ritz-Swain | View as single page |

What pedagogical concepts does visual literacy involve?

The ISTE Visual Literacy toolbox asks the following question:

“What do you want your learners to be able to do? What do you want your learners to focus on? What are you hoping they can get out of using images?

and suggests the following activities (paraphrased and divided into two categories). These concepts provide skills that enable learners to read images with greater understanding!

Visual Interpretation (‘reading’ visual artefacts)

  • Abstraction: The concept of abstraction is challenging but fundamental to all art and visual imagery. Studying this will help learners gain a better understanding of the relationship between abstraction and representation in visual images.
  • Framing and Gaze: What visual choices are involved when any image is constructed to impacts a viewer's experience.
  • Interpretation:  Is about how to describe, interpret, and/or compare images
  • Translation:  Explore the multiple relationships between images and other images, and images and text. Strategies focus on the cognitive processes involved in translating between words and image!

Visual Construction (making)

  • Construction:  Negotiate the constructed nature of images. creating and engaging with visual and multimedia compositions, mediated communication, historical knowledge, and social norms.
  • Application:  Use visual media to understand and apply theories and explain key concepts in a given field

( adapted from ISTE Visual Literacy toolbox - no date)

The following references are part of the evidence base for this resource.

Sims, E. et al., Visual literacy: what is it and do we need it to use learning

The evolution of the visual language

Visual literacy - ISTE Use images to understand and apply theories and key concepts in your field. (2013) u

Visual Literacy toolbox, Reading Images (2013)

Visual literacy - ISTE.