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FW: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy?



Sorry for the incomplete references... I was grading, and took a break... J See list below.

Some additional thoughts..


"the quality or state of being literate, esp. the ability to read and write"


-- I am reminded of Alan Luke's statements about being 'just literate enough to get yourself in trouble' ...Luke, A. 1995, When basic skills and information processing just aren't enough: Rethinking reading in new times. Teachers College Record 97(1), 95-115


--So where is the line in the sand? What counts as being literate? Age old question. Context dependent for certain (IMHO)... A. I. Willis has a nice piece (1995, Reading the world of school literacy: Contextualizing the experience of a young African American Male), an older one, that speaks to some of the basic understandings and definitions of literacy from Cook-Gumperz, Freire & Macedo E.D. Hirsch, McLaren, Giroux, Apple, Goodman.... With great connections to Heath, Gutierrez, Delpit... even Vygotsky get's a nod.  But the excellence of the article is really in the teasing out of the complexities of literacy.  If anyone is interested, I have a pdf I can share.




The children's books/ authors I mentioned:


Smith, Jeff. (2005).Bone, volume 1. Scholastic.

Selznick, Brian. (2007). The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Scholastic.

Browne, Anthony.(2005). Into the forest. Walker Books. [also Voices in the Park, The Tunnel, The Zoo)


Others I mentioned or might have if I had taken more time:


Bang, Molly.(2000). Picture this: How pictures work. Chronicle Books. - takes you step by step through understanding visual text

Mantione, R.D. (). Weaving through words: Using the arts to teach reading comprehension and strategies.

Nodelman, P. () Words about pictures: The narrative art of children's picture books - talks about use of white space, paper texture, etc


Anstey, M. & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning Multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies. IRA.

Berghoff, B.,  Egawa, K.A.,  Harste, J.C. &  Hoonan, BT (). Beyond reading and writing: Inquiry, curriculum, and multiple ways of knowing

Lewison, M., Leland, C., & Harste, J.C. (2007). Creating critical classrooms: K-12 reading and writing with an edge. Erlbaum. - classic on transmediation

Stevens, L.P. & Bean, T.W. (2007). Critical  literacy: Context, research, and practice in the K-12 classroom. Sage. 


Eisner, Will.... Too many!

Frey, N. & Fisher, D. (2008). Teaching visual literacy: Using comic books, graphic novels, animé, cartoons and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills. Corwin.

McCloud, S. () Understanding comics: The invisible art



Dewey, J. () Art as experience.

Dondis, D.A. (1973). A primer of visual literacy. MIT.

Greene, M. () Releasing the imagination: Essays on education, the arts and social change

Eisner, E. (2004). The arts and the creation of mind. Yale.

McLuhen, M. &  Fiore, Q. () The medium is the massage.






From: mike cole [mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:00 AM
To: Duvall, Emily
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum - Lifestyle - SignOnSanDiego.com


Fuller references, Emily? It would be helpful.

In general, in discussing this topic, I find it helpful to keep in mind
three inter-twined conceptions of literacy in discussion of it that lead to confusion:
1. the quality or state of being literate, esp. the ability to read and write. 


possession of education: to question someone's literacy. 



a person's knowledge of a particular subject or field: to acquire computer literacy.

To me what is significant is the (perhaps necessary, see Larry's remarks) conflation of being able to mediate action/interpretation through a code like kanji and knowledge about some topic.

Forgetting this issue leads to people speaking past each other with respect to, e.g. computer literacy.


On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 5:39 PM, Duvall, Emily <emily@uidaho.edu> wrote:

One of the more interesting experiences I have had is when I was
preparing to teach a course on Visual/ Critical Literacy: Using Picture
Books, Comics, Graphic Novels, Anime, and Film in the Classroom. I sat
down with vol 1 of Bone and began to read. I ignored the pictures and
read the text. Zipping along, I realized (a) I didn't know what was
going on, and (b) I was bored. I went back and spent time with the
entire text and am now thoroughly addicted. It really depends on the way
the pictures are used... in tandem, as conjoined text; as the front
runner (as in children's writing where the pictures are the important
aspect a story); or an add-in (as in children's later writing when
pictures illustrate, but don't really tell us much... they fill up time
in a classroom... "go back and illustrate"). Some texts, like The
Invention of Hugo Cabret, weave words and pictures and you need to read
them both.
I highly recommend Molly Bang's theoretical work (sorry if I am
repeating anything already said, I'm jumping in)to really dig deeply
into the pictures; her children's books are interesting as well. Anthony
Browne has some pretty amazing children's books...they are edgy and
post-modern at times.

Meanwhile I have a doc student who is working on financial literacy...
there are some fundamental elements of a literacy that ring across
domains it seems... like discourse, eh?

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 5:05 PM
To: Jenna McWilliams
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum - Lifestyle
- SignOnSanDiego.com

No doubt, Jenna.  And forms like Youtube allow for users to be producers
a big way. But I see no need to knock museums and
the pleasures of "reading" paintings that have endured over a long time!
(The cost can be pretty steep these days though).

The "learning to see" theme runs through a lot of CHAT-related work, and
seems an endless source of insights.

One way I find that i can learn a lot about paintings is by doing
puzzles. Jackson Pollock seemed a total fraud to me until i had, with
of friendly gossipy help, done a quite complex puzzle of one of his big
canvases. Now jig-saw puzzles require their own
form of visual literacy, but what was amazing (a Klimpt also provided a
similar experience) was that I actually began to see nuances in the
paintings that i had simply never seen before. And once seen, the
ability to
see more deeply, at least for the given painting (after all
of the skill is a huge undertaking!)
it sticks with you along with the belief of the possibility that, say,
a Russian 18th century icon may contain the potential for visual
that my naive eye, loving the combination of colors and shapes, could

I hear what you are saying that I am seeing.

PS. Have you met Etienne Pelaprat, a great grad student here at
UCSD, formerly in cogsci but completing degree in Comm, who has moved to
your fair city? If not, you should. He is rumored to be the sometime
of xmca through his technical skills.

On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 4:25 PM, Jenna McWilliams

> Mike, you write:
> "I managed a D+ in my one obligatory art producing class in college (a
> later exhibited, by some really odd
> error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
> involved on either side of the
> process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not entirely
> illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings."
> It's fair enough to argue that reading and writing are not equivalent
> of literacy. But in this crazy multimodal culture of ours, where
reading and
> writing both require adeptness with design proficiencies (remember
that even
> the text we read on the screen is a digital product--the 'translation'
> code into a specifically designed visual format that we can
interpret), what
> we call "visual literacy" is increasingly an essential component of
> reading and writing. Visual literacy goes far beyond what we learned
in art
> class--the color wheel and all that.
> In fact, it seems a little strange to link visual literacy to
> I bombed art class right along with the best of them, and success in
> class still wouldn't have prepared me to engage in the sorts of
> communications platforms that have become the most significant message
> delivery systems. Indeed, design and visual literacy (or whatever you
> to call them) skills are so embedded in communication platforms that I
> myself making design decisions without a thought (as when I
re-formatted the
> chunk I quoted from the previous email in this thread, because when I
> it in the line breaks got all funky--distracting for the reader!). I
> know if the fact that visual literacy (or whatever you want to call
it) is
> embedded within reading and writing literacy practices strengthens or
> the case for calling it a form of literacy; I only know that it's both
> important and different enough from reading and writing skills to
> its own label, if only so we know how to talk about it.
> visually,
> jenna
> ~~
> Jenna McWilliams
> Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
> ~
> http://jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com
> http://remediatingassessment.blogspot.com
> ~
> jenmcwil@indiana.edu
> jennamcjenna@gmail.com
> On Dec 21, 2009, at 7:06 PM, mike cole wrote:
>  The addition of production to definitions of literacy is always a
>> move
>> in my view, Jay. Reading is not equivalent to writing. In the case of
>> visual
>> literacy and museum art, it seems like what is being referred to is
>> reading half. At least i hope so. I managed a D+ in my one obligatory
>> producing class in college (a work later exhibited, by some really
>> error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
>> involved on either side of the
>> process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not entirely
>> illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings.
>> There is, a few blocks from you apartment, a show at the SD Museum of
>> Contemporary Art by Tera Donavan. I think you will find it as
>> as
>> I did. I plan to take the family during their visit. Donovan take
>> objects (tar paper, straws, cups, and more) and creates installations
>> thousand of only one object aggregated in the most fantastic ways.
>> states her goal as wanting to explore the properties of objects seens
>> parts of very large populations rather than as individual objects.
>> effects she achieves are mind boggling with the play of light and
>> over surface sufficient to reorder our perceptions in ways we could
>> anticipate.Again, art as tertiary artifact, re-admired.
>> Since you have written more on time scales, I'll stay away from the
>> in
>> general; we have agreed too often here to warrant repitition.
>> But quite specifically, our work in creating the "Fifth Dimension"
was to
>> be
>> able to study changes in a pre-pared system of activity over a long
>> period (from inception to death) at several scales of time. The idea
>> part of our interest in the failure of "successful" educational
>> innovations
>> to be sustained-- how did they die and why and how did their
>> enter in to and respond to the process. Still wrestling with
>> lots
>> of 5thD's were born and died but others keep being born. Some are,
>> strikingly like their originals in the 1980's, others have morphed so
>> only a few features remain. The children participants, who are almost
>> impossible to track over time are now adults -- i sometime encounter
>> at
>> ucsd. The college participants are parents I sometimes hear from. All
>> recorded in their fieldnotes written at the time. I have some money
>> away so that "when it dies" (or if i can manage to retire before
doing so
>> myself) I will have the full range of instances documented and a lot
>> the
>> data in digital form,
>> so that I can look at that object from both ends of its history. A
>> preliminary report is in the book, *The Fifth Dimension*.
>> As to LCHC, that is another matter. It seems to me a certainty that
>> will
>> die. It had a near-death experience a couple of years ago. As a way
of at
>> least marking its passing, a number of former and current members of
>> lab
>> are in the process of creating a book that traces its origins and the
>> offspring it has generated. THAT collective narrative I hope to live
>> enough to see come into being.
>> Now if Yuan or anyone would like to see LCHC live, proposals for how
>> arrange that would of course be seriously entertained, and perhaps
>> even entertaining! I thought I saw a nibble at collaboration on
>> a more powerful medium the other day, but it turned out to be a
>> So
>> for now, we keep on keeping on.
>> mike
>> On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:07 PM, Jay Lemke <jaylemke@umich.edu>
>>> Thanks for the link, Mike. Was nice to see someone in the mass
>>> affiliated with a newspaper no less, arguing for critical visual
>>> to
>>> protect us from advertising!
>>> Of course that is an old idea in visual education circles, and it
>>> build
>>> on the widespread folk-skepticism toward advertising. Unfortunately
>>> more
>>> pernicious effects in ads are probably at subtler levels than what
>>> visual literacy skills can foreground.
>>> "The ability to find meaning in images" is the definition of visual
>>> literacy used. That seems a little too basic. I think everyone finds
>>> meaning
>>> in images, with or without any literacy education. Maybe there is an
>>> implied
>>> emphasis on FIND, in the sense of digging below the surface/obvious,
>>> which
>>> would be better. But more recent ideas in the field put more
emphasis on
>>> visual production relative to interpretation, so I'd probably go
with a
>>> definition more like "the skills of making meaning with visual
>>> for your own purposes", and include in that the meaning-making we do
>>> others' images by way of interpretation, critique, etc.
>>> Have you ever noticed that when anyone, docent, tourguide, or just
>>> speaks authoritatively about a painting in a museum, that many
>>> seem to become interested in listening? People generally seem to
>>> that art images, at least, require some professional interpretation
>>> benefit from having specialist knowledge (esp. historical). People
>>> seem
>>> to enjoy visual interpretation more than textual. Textual
>>> is
>>> seen as superfluous, even obstructing to enjoyment of the work. No
>>> really reads literary criticism, or book reviews beyond the "it's
>>> part. But people are fascinated by the exegesis of visual works. The
>>> one
>>> basis for the popularity of the DaVinci Code and similar popular
>>> And there is not a word about visual interpretation skills in our
>>> standard
>>> curricula (meaning as practiced in schools, there are some nods in
>>> official standards).
>>> JAY.
>>> Jay Lemke
>>> Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
>>> Educational Studies
>>> University of Michigan
>>> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
>>> www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke>  <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> <
>>> http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke>
>>> Visiting Scholar
>>> Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
>>> University of California -- San Diego
>>> La Jolla, CA
>>> USA 92093

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