visual literacy

What are the basic elements of visual literacy; the grammar and syntax of visual media?

To help learners become visually literate, it is a good idea to set design learning activities that help them gain a practical understanding of visual grammar and syntax, and identify these elements and the part they play in visual media.

What pedagogical strategies make use of the affordances of visual literacy?

Visual literacy is an essential element for organising managing and sharing ideas - it develops critical thinking and is appropriate for all areas of learning - teachers should design learning activities that:

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)

Which pedagogical questions can teachers ask to develop visual literacy


  • What's going on in this image?  (*image can be any visual artefact)
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find out?


  • What does this image say to us?
  • Who are the audience?

What kind of image is this?

  • What media has been used to make it?
  • Is purpose of this image; art, advertising, documentary, educational, instructional, inspirational?


Where can teachers find resources to support Visual Literacy

Teachers can access many different types of resources for supporting visual literacy, in addition to the papers, articles and web pages referenced in the other sections of this Mesh Guide, there are communities and online resources designed to further the study, understanding and development of visual literacy.

These might include:

Tools and platforms

These examples offer starting points and the range and scope of tools and platforms to support  the study and research of Visual Learning

Online media sharing and repositories (search = visual literacy)

Links to other useful resources


Visual Literacy

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


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