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Yuval Gozansky

This cultural and social analysis examines the discourse of producers of Israeli children’s television regarding the possibility of stimulating children’s creativity through television programs. Based on interviews with 20 central producers of more than four decades of Israel’s leading channels for children, this qualitative research creates two new sets of discourse categories regarding television stimulating children’s creativity: (a) The nature of programs that the producers believe may stimulate children’s creativity; (b) Skills that the producers believe children may acquire from these kinds of programs, and how the programs may help build their viewers’ creativity. Looking back on 40 years of Israeli children’s television, we see that contrary to the discourse of the ‘Single-Channel Age’ (1966-1989), when there was ideological identification between the producers and the educational establishment’s views on children’s creativity, producers in the ‘Multi-TV Age’ (2000-2010) found themselves in conflict between their protective perception of childhood and their commercial need to see children as consumers. The shift in the producers’ habitus concerning the importance of encouraging creativity in children within the field of popular culture uncovers a complex picture in the present reality: On the one hand, a decrease in the producers’ belief that they could actually influence children, and on the other hand, a strong desire to see their work in the cultural field as being meaningful to children. Based on this complex cultural picture, a third category has been added to round out the producers’ discourse: Why does children’s television today not try harder to encourage children’s creativity?

Matthew Dudzik and Marilyn Corson Whitney

Architecture and interior design are a manifestation of embodied life experiences, and as such, visual literacy forms the foundation of modern practice. Architects, as any artists, draw their inspiration from the people, places, and cultures in which they have lived or visited. But in practice, architecture and design must transcend art to examine culture, structure, systems, and environmental factors; therefore, architecture and design become art formed within rigorous parameters. As such, an understanding of visual literacy becomes key to exploring design possibilities by offering a lens through which design language and practical parameters alike can be examined. This chapter seeks to explore an educational process of amplified design literacy.

Terryl Atkins and Wayne Egers

As facility with media-based technologies becomes more naturalized to its users, and media converge in ever more powerful, sophisticated, portable, and interactive ways, we cannot assume that viewers of pictures are passive spectators; rather, they are likely to expect to actively participate. Yet, highly narcissistic tendencies coupled with attention spans measured in bits and tweets guarantee that engagement in this attention economy is promoted primarily through intrigue, surprise, and novelty, and is leached of aesthetic embodied engagement. In the most recent pictorial turn that both extends and modifies the last great upheaval in the perception of pictorial space—the Renaissance invention of linear perspective and its disembodied-objectifying spectator—new wireless technologies are driving a paradigmatic shift in how we see. The cool media of television left far behind, visual negotiation in the 21st century is compact, immediate, mobile, and personal via laptops or smartphones as we pause or fast-forward when we feel inclined, up- or down-loading films in pieces, remixing our versions of how it should be. Exacerbated by an enabling media convergence that is over-determined and fetishized, ordinary people’s belief that their democratic participation in the creation of the stories of culture exercises human agency often bears little resemblance to reality. Thus, this chapter explores our current phenomenological experience of imagery mediated through wireless technological devices and their effects on our embodied perception and engagement with pictures, including the fantasy of leaving the body behind.

Víctor Manuel Quintero León

This chapter presents an analysis of the visual image of globalization. A study on how the so-called globalization process is ‘pictured’ in social sciences educational textbooks around the globe. A comparative analysis has been made of textbooks for students in the last compulsory level before university in 19 countries: Europe (Portugal, Italy, Norway, Spain, Austria, Germany, Moldavia, England, France, Netherlands), Africa (South Africa), Asia (India) America (Uruguay, Canada, USA, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil) and Australia (Australia). By drawing a comparison between these countries, focusing on the decade 2000-2010, it extracts the most repeated images, patterns of visual meaning and possible hidden iconographic programs. Our sources, obtained through intensive research in Georg-Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, Germany, consist on textbook scanned pages, photographs inserted in those pages, maps, diagrams, drawings and paintings shown in the specific chapters dedicated to globalization in the selected sample of textbooks. Textbooks are still defined and produced by nation states; that make them holders of ‘legitimate knowledge’ from an academic, political and educational view. Moreover, visual materials are ubiquitous in these textbooks and of the foremost importance conveying ‘not explicit’ knowledge that sometimes stays in students much more than the text itself, creating a visual imagery where stereotypes and preconceptions hold. This research jumps into that field using a social semiotics methodology extracting patterns of visual meaning in two dimensions: visual expression (using Basil Bernstein and social semiotics’ concepts of classification, framing and formality) and contents. It answers questions such as: How is the concept of globalization constructed through the images in school textbooks around the world? And, is there an iconographic program in the teaching of globalization worldwide? The findings open the discussion about the role of textbooks in visual literacy, the international homogenization of ideas and how world-orders are legitimized by textbooks imagery.

Edited by Taina Brown and Alejandro Mieses Castellanos

Shaping visual literacy has been at the forefront of contemporary discourse, as images have increasingly surpassed words in becoming the primary vehicles to persuade our emotions. Visually encoded domains of symbols and signs inform the educational, public and entertainment industries increasingly as an undifferentiated whole, aided by globalizing media forces in various forms. Whether top-down, peer-peer, one-to-may, or many-to-many, this volume attempts to derive sets of rules used to visually decode patterns present in certain media formats – press, cinema, television and maps, among others – and the place of the spectator in their respective dynamics. The topics discussed transition through various approaches to deconstruct mass media influences to engage critical thinking skills, and ending with a collection of chapters dedicated to exploring their effects upon children, and the capacity to be implemented to foster collaboration-based creative learning environments.

Ann Fantauzzi, Marisa van der Merwe and Patricia Fennell

Chess is creative, analytical, and spatial. Chess fosters engagement, connectivity, and visual literacy. Chess builds personal identity, executive function, and cultural diversity. Emerging from a military concept 1600 years ago, the game gives participants the opportunity to fully engage with peers and adults on a tactical, yet creative field. The unique, empirically validated approach of MiniChess™ develops a math sense on the chessboard with chess pieces as tools and squares as a textbook, bringing higher order thinking skills and reasoning abilities to learners in Africa. In remote villages, where children often grow up with no games or toys, chess is not only a vehicle for learning, but also an opportunity to engage the modern world. Learners gain confidence to go into unfamiliar circumstances, speak English with strangers, and make personally responsible decisions. Gender equity in this culture becomes a nonissue as girls and boys become partners and competitors. MiniChess™ is a licensed academic programme for 5-9 year olds integrating social skills, personal growth and creative thought. Management skills become a focus of playing and working in both math and chess. The schoolroom becomes the literal space for newly found language and conversation development, while an inner space of visualization, fantasy, and emotion begins to be acquired and nurtured. The chess culture of academic interplay develops self-reliance as students continue their education away from the village as they move on to the secondary level. The MiniChess™ program is pedagogy of culture, academics, and personal development for learners worldwide.

Fay Fletcher, Therese Salenieks and Alicia Hibbert

A University of Alberta research group and the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement in Alberta, Canada have engaged in a community based participatory research (CBPR) project to develop resiliency among children and youth living on Metis Settlements. Metis’ are one of three Aboriginal groups in Canada; children living on Metis Settlements are at high risk for substance abuse and violence. The Life Skills Journey is a product of the research team/community collaboration; it is a summer day camp for children aged 7-14, which is aimed at helping kids build skills to succeed in their lives. In the summers of 2013 and 2014 children attended the life skills day camp for 10-day sessions. Knowledge of alcohol and other drugs, bullying, self-esteem, communication, kinship, spirituality, grief and loss, and community were discussed in camp and reinforced through play. Employing a sociocultural perspective, learning materials were aligned within the context of norms and practices of Metis settlements. Trained facilitators guided campers through games, activities, and play. The play-based guided participation approach was positively received by campers; however, integrating life skills learning and play remains a major challenge that the research team faces. This presentation will elaborate on the approaches used to meaningfully engage children and the challenges associated with implementation. Qualitative data on play and learning, collected through interviews and focus groups with camp facilitators, child participants, and other staff will be shared. Presenters will focus on key Life Skills Journey program activities that children enjoyed and learned from, using qualitative data to support the findings.

Taina Brown and Alejandro Mieses Castellanos

Susana Pereira, José Azevedo and António Machiavelo

Visual communication of information, namely quantitative information, has been increasingly important in journalism, especially in recent years. Among other competences, the visual communication of quantitative information requires mathematical skills. Nevertheless, several authors alert to the misuse of mathematical information in the news. Namely, results of a previous study of the Portuguese press – carried out by the authors of this article – show that there are mathematical errors in more than one third of the news articles (both in weekly and daily newspapers). In this context, it is important to better understand how Portuguese journalists convey quantitative information through graphs. In this article, we present the several types of errors identified in graphs of Portuguese news, highlighting the most prevalent ones and illustrating them with examples.

Fang Xu, Yixiang He and Imad Khan

This chapter explores a visual reinterpretation that represents the complex physical environmental transformation of the Rocks in Sydney. As a famous historical site, the development of the Rocks is the result of the interactions of the social, economic and cultural changes in the past 100 years. It can be seen as the most representative example of urban-scape development of a historic city in Australia. Many previous studies of the Rocks mainly focused on heritage protection, historical events, the historical photography and documents collection. However the physical environment of the Rocks as a whole that witnesses the past changes has not been systematically studied. The general public cannot find the concise materials that can help them to understand the site. They are very critical to the current and future exercise of urban renewal projects of the site. The difficulty is how one can find an innovative way to effectively represent the research outcomes. This chapter highlights the visual reinterpretation as the key issue. Inspired by the art works of Escher, M.C. Escher has developed a special visual reinterpretation method in his graphic works. Based on a series of meaningful exercises, the chapter identifies the unique characteristics of the physical environment of the Rocks. Through revealing the layers of the Rocks, it classifies the main features of many restoration projects of the site into three essential categories. The developed visualization method provides an effective tool to deconstruct the multifaceted buildings forms, offering a new perspective to induct the general patterns of the complicated configurations and transformation of the urban historical site. The chapter’s outcome can be used as a valuable reference to direct future design intervention in an urban historical site.