What would a visually literate teacher or learner know?

Visually literate teachers and learners understand that:

  • images are made with a specific purpose

  • images can convey meaning and information more concisely and powerfully than text

  • there are instances when text may be a more appropriate medium to convey information

  • that images have a cultural and collective meaning

  • images can be misinterpreted

  • images can be manipulated

  • images can be designed to make you respond in a given way

  • there is a distinction between image and reality

  • are a fundamental part of our world today

  • visual literacy is related to the other literacies

  • be confident to evaluate the visual work of learners or peers learners or peers.

It is not a case of being visually literate or not, there are degrees of visual literacy, it is a progression of phases.The concept map of phases of development in Figure 3 is a synthesis of the two models, and includes the effect size estimates from research syntheses (Nesbit and Adesope, 2006; Hattie, 2009; Adesope and Nesbit, 2009). In this new model the phases are

  1.    the engagement phase with generative flow
  2.    the consolidation phase with critical thinking flow, and,
  3.    the transfer phase with design and creative flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). See Figure 2.


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

Visual Literacy, 10 interpretations from Professors at the University of Utrecht  (video)  http://youtu.be/CtzI594iJBs

Image Culture, Rosen; New Atlantis, 2006, http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-image-culture

Four & Six, Photo Tampering  in History http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/category/1950-1999

Metros, Susan E. "The educator's role in preparing visually literate learners." Theory into Practice 47.2 (2008): 102-10 (pdf download) https://commons.ct.edu/sites/default/files/336/files/visual_literacy.pdf