Archive for the 'Visuals' Category

Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation)

Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare

Why teach about other countries?

Location: Large view to small on maps.

Culture or culture.

Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.)

Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that country.

Have students do a Visual Analysis and Interpretation (Literal; Inference; and Value) for visuals from another country.  Use Flickr to find current images.

Analyze the same topic by looking at pictures from various countries in the same continent.

Have students interview a person from another country for a specific topic about her/his country and record on mobile.

Avoid visual and verbal stereotypes and overcome existing ones.

More important to know how to interact with others that when that country’s battle for independence was. Find daily cultural customs at

What attitude will your students have about the people of the country after the lesson/unit?

My Modern Language Blog:  

My newest book, English Common Core Mobile Activities, 150+  mobile activities organized by ELA CCSS Anchor Statements Grades 6-12 (can adapt up or down). For Android and iPad, mostly free easy to use apps.   Pair and small group work.   7.99 at

English Common Core Mobile Activities

English Common Core Mobile Activities

Improve learning through a screencast program.

Some uses of a screencast/screen capture program such as Jing. I prefer the paid version ($14.99 a year).

* Create a mini- teaching lesson so that students can view it 24/7.

* Create a mini-teaching lesson that you will teach  more than once. Instead of  your having to say the same information for five classes such as explaining the fall of the Spanish empire, create a movie to show.  Save your voice.  In addition, you can observe the students as they watch the movies.

* Provide a video as homework. You can create short videos that prompt the students to think or do something about a topic before the next class.  Foreign languages teachers can provide a picture and have students practice answering the video questions about it.

* For a project, do a screencast of the instructions and assessment so students and parents can be sure of what is expected. For example, walk the student through the “comparing two works of literature” project.

* Create a screencast of some exemplars or model work so students can understand the high quality of learning expected. You can narrate what makes each work exemplary. A Social Studies teacher can tell  how a “history in our community” screencast represents several different historical time periods.

* Produce a formative feedback movie in which you suggest and show several ways to overcome a common learning gap. Students can view this as often as they want as they practice their  new strategy in the privacy of their own homes.

* Narrate or provide appropriate sound  over your PowerPoint so that you can emphasize certain points by changing your voice quality.  Simply record your voice as you go through the screencapture of the PowerPoint.

* Make a video in which you  narrate  a series of pictures.  A science teacher can narrate a walk through a bog to explain each part.

* Make a screencast of how to use a new program. For example, you show your students how to use the  new class wiki.

* Capture a short  first part of a show from a DVD, NetFlix, Hulu, etc , a middle part  and a near-the-end part  that are all on the same topic such as the  Mexican economy  so you can show all three together without having to search for the next part.

* Record some short  instructional movies for when you are out.  Your sub can show the movies and you’ll still be teaching the class the way you want it!

* Have students make their own Jing movie in which they peer teach.  Students can record themselves as they explain  a difficult concept. They can come in a few minutes early, record their planned out video, and show it in class. Also, Jing can be part of a learning station in the class where student groups  produce their peer teaching movie.

* Interview people in the community who use your subject area content  and show students that video. For example,  a builder talks about the various angles in building a house.

How have you used a screencast program in your class?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Visual Learning in All Subjects- Scaffold and Self-Assessment

In my English class I was reviewing basic paragraph writing. I found that of 66 students (3 classes), only two students had had a visual way to remember what goes in a paragraph. One had a snowman analogy and one had a hamburger analogy. When I introduced them to the hand analogy, one student commented that her teachers did not give her visuals of writing.

The visual act as a scaffold to guide the students as they write. In addition, they can self-check themselves by using the visual.

How do you visualize the critical information in your course in a visual only (no-text) manner to help all students to learn?

Creating Formative Feedback “I can” sheets

One way to help students and to help ourselves is to create “I Can” sheets which also list the formative feedback strategies so that we do not have to list them each time. We can use a student’s “I can” sheet and circle which formative feedback we feel will be most appropriate or have the student select. We have to verify that each activity will lead to improved learning.

For example, this partial “I can” list can be expanded to include formative feedback

___I can identify items in a topic/situation.

–I can make statements about a topic/situation.

___I can ask questions about a topic/situation

For a Spanish student who has trouble with talking and particularly talking about a topic with a visual, the “I can” statement can be expanded:

–I can make statements about a topic/situation from a visual
by describing
each person by clothing (shirt, shoes) and/or by personal description (tall, thin…),
each object by its description (color- red, shape-round) and what it is used for (There is water in the glass).
what actions are in the picture (shop, buy, sell, walk)
the nature (tree, bird) and the weather (sunny)
by saying as much as I can about any object or person before I go to the next person or object.
by listening to other students as they describe a visual and them imitating them or listening to sample speaking podcast.
by watching the “Spanish speaking” YouTube video where the instructor shows how to speak about a visual as you “read” it

By creating formative assessment “I can” sheets, we already have numerous possible formative feedback from which to select.

Do you do “I can” sheets with formative assessments so your students “Can”?

The Power of Visuals to Persuade: An Inconvenient Truth and Teachers’ Images

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. I realized how powerful his visuals were. His images showed the impact of global warming through charts and through simulations. As he was talking, I did not doubt him but I felt unconvinced. However, as I saw a simulation of the impact of global warming on icecaps and the potential flooding in areas like Florida, I saw the horrible possible future. I was moved. His images were convincing.


I wonder how powerful are the images that teachers use in the classroom? Are they compelling images? Do those images move students to new view points? To greater understanding? To more higher level thinking skills? Or do they just decorate a presentation?


What is your truth about visuals in your classroom? Can they convince students as to what winter is the Northeast is like?

Woophy and Flickr: Finding a Good Visual in Time?


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how long should a teacher or student search for a meaningful image to communicate an idea?

Yes, Flickr has a search engine.

Yes, Woophy searches Flickr through a map or a search.

There are a host of other searching flickr sites.

Flickr is a wonderful site that contain many images. However, the question still remains how long will a teacher or student be searching for an image?


I’ve been preparing a presentation on Visual Literacy and I’ve been using Flickr. I can verify that I have spent much time in finding the image that communicates the idea I want. For example, I want to give a quick overview of the geography of Mexico. When I search Woophy for Mexico, geography there are 102 images. Many of them do not show geography; for example, I see racing cars, models, traffic jams, a wall, etc. It is the search engine that is showing me geography or Mexico? It is that the pictures were tagged with geography? There is no way to see all of the images at once so I have to scroll down and see ten and then scroll to the next ten. Eventually I found what I needed but it took a long time. Do teachers and students have that much time in the classroom?

Analyzing Visuals in School Learning and Promoting Elmo and Smartboard Use

I have been a fish on dry land during all of my schooling. I am a visual learner in a non-visual learning environment. I took notes and more important, drew symbols or shapes, to help me “see” what the teacher was saying. I can remember only a few subjects or courses in which visuals were used (not counting Friday Social Studies movies). In classes that did visuals, the visuals were often used to decorate the written information. Teachers did not use visuals as the primary source to communicate information.



As I reflect on my experiences in public education, I realize that the amount of visuals that are used in schooling is inversely proportional to the grade level. The greatest number of visuals are used in the lowest grade levels. Likewise, the least amount of visuals are used in the highest grade levels. The graph represents my view of the use of visuals in education.

Why do written materials carry more meaning in education than visual materials?


Teachers can use devices like an Elmo or a digit camera hooked up to a projection device to show visuals in the classroom such as students’ drawings of a scene from a story, a handful of different seeds that student groups sort as the other students watch, having student groups show the similarities between different geometric shapes, and combining hand drawn webs to show the big view about a country. Teachers and students can use a Smartboard or equivalent to make learning more visual.


Please help your students to “see” your content and express their answers visually.


Better Learning and Expressing of Learning through Visual Literacy

Our cave ancestors were visually literate; their lives depended on how well they could visually read the world around them. Today our students are visually literate within their world of “electronic images” such as TV, videogames, and the Web; they want to be visually literate in their school which is often devoid of visuals.


One major component of 21st century skills is Digital-Age Literacy. This literacy consists of scientific/technological literacy; visual literacy; and cultural literacy. Visual literacy is the ability to see, to understand, and ultimately to think, create, and communicate graphically. Students can use images that are realistic or abstract. They can use an image by itself or any image with words or sound. They can use one image or a series of images. They can use visuals to express their voice, their views, and their conceptualization of a information. They can learn to read and express themselves from the knowledge level up to Bloom’s evaluation level using visuals. They can work with visuals individually or in groups. However, the ability to read a visual depends on the student’s background knowledge. We can help students to learn visually in school through providing them with a variety of images.


We can start with helping students learn to read and to express themselves with still a single visual. The students can:

  • Identify the basic content of the picture

  • Get information from the picture

  • Put an item into its context through a visual

  • Learn new words from visuals.

  • Analyze an image for its media impact

  • Depict the meaning of written materials through a created or chosen visual..

  • Write about a topic due to the power of a single visual

  • Analyze information from a chart or graph


When teachers and students use a series of visuals, students increase in their learning through in-depth analysis and understanding. A group of visuals may be in visual series where the main object and background change or visual series where only the main object changes. Studens can:

  • Tell a story through structured visuals

  • Write through structured visuals

  • Show changes over time using a series of visuals

  • Represent the many steps in a process or an event

  • Compare and contrast several images of the same event

  • Ilustrate the many different perspectives of a single event through many visuals

  • Show a discrepancy or misconception through multiple images.


Teachers can help students to read visuals from other cultures, countries, and time periods. Students can:

  • See up-to-the-moment images from a country

  • View many images rapidly to get a visual overview of a country’s geography or of a topic

  • Compare how different cultures deal with the same event through visual comparisions

  • Contrast paintings of the same event from different time periods

  • Discover that a visual may look like one thing when really it is portraying something very different unless they know the culture or time period.


Teachers and students can obtain and produce visuals easily. They can use:

  • A digital camera or digital camcorder to record class, school, and community images

  • Inspiration like programs to create graphic organizers that consist of visuals

  • Word processor and insert graphics from the Web or from the digital camera

  • Use iMovies (Mac) or Window Movie Maker (PC) to produce their own movies.

  • Web sources such as and for still images

  • Web sources as a GoogleEarth for geographic images

  • Web resources such as for movies


Teachers can employ meaningful visuals in the classroom and can have students express themselves visually so that students can demonstrate their deep knowledge about a topic.


Some Resources:

Shows photos that can be used by students and teachers as long as they give credit to the authors (about 56,000 photos)

Focuses on the use of Flickr

Allows students and teachers to locate images by geographical location

Is the site for the International Visual Literacy Association

Has many visual literacy activities especially historical photos

Demonstrates good examples for K-8

RSS Education with Technology

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