Visual Literacy in the Classroom
Beyond just having visuals, it's important to encourage students to have the opportunity to discuss, infer, and analyze visuals and messages being conveyed through them. Students are bombarded with visuals all the time and even at a fast rate - action movies, Snapchat, etc. Learning to look, study, and reflect on emotions in images will help them deepen their connection and understanding towards the chosen visuals. I also appreciate the idea that literacy is not only in the form of text which is what we mostly teach, but that reading pictures is a very valid way to explore the world. I have used this idea before in our SS curriculum which is Geography of North America. Studying images we can see a bit about climate, recognizable landmarks, physical geography, and culture of a region. Sketchnoting is a way that students can make ideas come alive in all subject areas. Making meaning of difficult math concepts, complex science content, or even characters and plot in a story are ways to use this tool. Sketchnoting extends even further to incorporate 21st century skills like critical thinking and creativity as the learner constructs their own designs reflecting on what is most meaningful. I think it would even be interesting to share sketchnotes students created and discuss how different learners took different ideas away from the lesson.