Saturday, June 03, 2006

Visual Display of Information and Visual Explanation: Visuals as Instruments that Help People to Reason about Information

During the class on “Visual Display of Information and Visual Explanation” I observed that students were generally enthusiastic about this topic. They approached the task on selection of the best display of information about Giant Squid and uncovered important issues regarding effective presentation. Important point that emerged from this engagement was that if a visual representation is given to students for learning than there is a need for a teacher to prepare some additional questions or task that would direct them to seek information presented in appropriate ways (to support development of visual literacy). In this context, these visuals are resources which alone might not be sufficient for learning to take place. Teachers must create additional tasks that would place students to use visuals as instruments that mediate this task completion. This is an important point and I will work more in this in a lesson that will deal with learning objects as interactive visual representations designed specifically for educational purposes.

I noted that all students have created their own blogs and very interesting visual introductions about themselves. I have one point to make here. Design of visual information is much easier when we understand information that we want to communicate. However, design of visual material does not usually work this way. Often, visual designers are given unfamiliar information to work with and present it into visual formats. So what can they do? First, and perhaps most challenging thing is to learn about that information and then decide how can it be presented in most effective ways through visuals. I assigned the student such a task and I am looking forward to see the outcomes of it by next class.

In relation to blogs, my concern is if students would sustain their genuine interest to continue blogging and see it as a useful tool to reflect on their learning and present artifacts of their progress. When I say genuine, I mean, the blog should be seen more than just requirement of the assessment or even burden, but as something useful for learning. At the same time I hope that my students will see and learn about potential of blogging to support learning and serve as a digital portfolio. Once they return to their own school classrooms, I hope that they might try something similar with their own students.

Most concerning issue that emerge form this class is in relation to Macromedia Flash. Although I do not expect student to develop strong technical skills (but to demonstrate innovative spirit and creativity in design of visual representations), I would like to offer them some opportunity to learn certain useful things of Macromedia Flash. I created self-paced material for them to use in their own time and I will also demonstrate some key things in the class, however the problem is with the version of software that we use. In our class we have Flash MX while current version available for download from Macromedia site is version 8. Although the working principles are same, these two versions differ to certain extent in interface and functionalities. Students should try to work with new version, however, thanks to my technical support MX trail version is located and made available to students to download and install on their own computers.

6 Comments:

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Christina MLIM said...

Daniel,

I am concerning about if I will use the version of Macromedia Flash MX 2004, how different of this version with version 8. I am not worrying about the interface, but the compatibility, because I want to make sure if I do something by version 2004, and it must work in the version 8.

 
At 5:50 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

You can try to use trail version MX which is avaialbe for download form ILN. That is version used in the lab. I wish we had latest software.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Christina MLIM said...

As I know, the trial period of thr trial version is 30 days. I am quite worry that it is not sufficient to our use, especially for the assignment.

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Hi Christina, see my blog post in relation to your comment. Daniel

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger Peon Cheung said...

Daniel,
When I click at the term you mention 'visual literacy' in your text, its hyperlink seems to be not working. Can you fix it? Thanks!

 
At 12:22 AM, Blogger Maximilian Wat said...

There is a great potential in integrating the notion of visual literacy into the curriculum. As mentioned by the Learning Point Associates on the web page hyperlinked by Dr Churchill, it promotes thinking, decision making, communication, and learning abilities in students. Teachers can also undergo the transformation in developing their capability in line with their students. I guess that this can be achieved by any subject / learning area or even across disciplines.

I really want to try this in my subject Design and Technology. The opportunity for incorporating these visual presentation activities comes where the younger generations are in favour of visual artifacts. The video and audio elements are intrinsic attractions for them, both reading and producing them. But the main challenge for teachers will be their mentality and capability. Whether teacher is working with pedagogy of constructivism is the key point. Managerial and organizational obstacles shall also be overcome. The ICT assistants should be a strong support for the move.

 

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