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Sunni Brown

Author, Chief Infodoodler, sunnibrown.com


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Why is visual literacy discouraged in most cultures & WHAT CAN WE DO to change that?

This LIVE CONVERSATION will open at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT on Monday, October 31th! Join me!

Visual literacy, if described as the ability to communicate via doodling, drawing, and sketching or described as the ability to display complex information in visual language formats, is often a literacy missing in adults despite it being a universal and natural inclination in children. Why does it disappear? And more importantly, what can we do to alter this course?

**ADMIN UPDATE: Sunni Brown has asked to extend her Conversation for two weeks. She will be jumping in to catch up with responses over the next two weeks. Happy posting everyone!


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  • Nov 1 2011: Classically, text was seen as inferior to oration. The truth came in oration, and we recorded text as an imperfect monument to the oration.
    In such a world, visuals became meaningless. People wrote without the presence of a chalkboard, mostly. Now we use whiteboards and chalkboards all the time, and power point, and document cameras and projectors, so I think we are moving in the direction Sunni visualizes. Chalkboards gave way to whiteboards. Spreadsheets gave way to powerpoint. The party game of dictionary gave way to the party game of pictionary.
    I think the conversation could be titled "Visual literacy is coming. How can we prepare?"
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      Nov 1 2011: I like your positive outlook, I hope we open the way to it (although it should be here already, as is a natural element in learning)

      I personally can hardly function without visuals, so I provide lots as well...
    • Nov 2 2011: I tend to agree with your point, Kenneth. The emphasis should be on how we equip our students to make the most of the visual learning. In my experience, while they can benefit from it in the classroom setting (I used it extensively, and I make explicit references to how and why I am using it), the bigger struggle comes in getting the students to use it of their own accord. They are so wedded to the more traditional note making that they seem very loathe to choose any other strategy.

      Have you any thoughts as to how we might win students over?!?

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