Many times we think of literacy as reading and writing. However, we now know the importance of our children acquiring a new kind of literacy: Visual Literacy. This is something that we must teach them and it is becoming ever more apparent that these skills are embedded in our teaching and learning both in and out of the classroom.
I appreciated reading the article by Kevin Kelly, Becoming Screen Literate, in which he breaks down this new generation of screen viewers and the cultural shift occurring in what it now means to be literate. We are being bombarded daily by screens.
We are viewing screens and visual images and recordings in taxi cabs, ATM machines, airplanes, bank lines, etc…We are also now not just consuming this information but also creating it. With applications like iMovie, photoshop, touch screen phones and media apps it is becoming increasingly easier for us to create short animated films.
I came across an app for the iPhone (and possibly available for other operating systems) called Vine and it is described as the “best way to see and share life in motion”. Who would have ever thought ten years ago that this would be a popular attachment for our youth. The essence of the application is that you create short animated videos of approximately 7 seconds in length to share with friends over social media. It is a mini youtube but for shock and humor factor. If you watch them, not much goes into their creation but the creator has liberty to say and do what they want and must determine a way of communicating their message in a very limited amount of time. Interesting concept. I see the potential in the classroom to have students discover how to communicate a message in a focused way…..
There are three fundamental principles in good digital story telling that I see as things we need to teach children. They are: Navigating, Evaluating and Communicating. We need to teach how to navigate and search for images using creative commons sites like Compfight and Flickr Creative Commons Searches. Do we accept everything as valid? We need to teach our students how to evaluate content. We need to question and seek meaning in images. (I have been doing this as a I revamp my Zen Presentation for Week 6). Finally we need to be teaching how to communicate that message. Will students be sharing it? How will they share it? How will the communicate their story?
How do we do this? I was battling with this today as I try to be a networked educator working in a 21C school with limited technology. How do I do this when I have 5,000 other things to do during the day? How will my kids create and be visually /digitally literate in today’s age of screen communication?