Developing Visual Literacy in Science K-8
This Web Seminar took place on May 1, 2012 from 8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, NSTA Press Author and Vice President and Program Director - Arizona Transition Years, Teacher and Curriculum Initiatives at Helios Education Foundation. In this Seminar, the presenter talked about how to use visual literacy to help students better understand science concepts.
The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from
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In this program, Dr. Vasquez explained that literacy signifies not just the ability to read, write, and do basic mathematics—it includes the capacity to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate in a variety of forms. To demonstrate this, Dr. Vasquez introduced an exercise where participants practiced identifying common images and learned about the effect of our visual memories. Participants also found out how visual literacy tools like ‘foldables’ and other graphic organizers can be used to help students better understand a wide variety of topics.
Sixty-one (61) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alabama, Arizona, California,
Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,
Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. Four participants joined the presentation from locations outside of the United States: Germany, Puerto Rico, and Turkey.
Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate
of attendance was deposited into participants' My PD Record and Certificates
area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of
Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
- “Visual literacy is a real challenge at the high school level - the more effective the student’s exposure in the lower grades the better.”
- “As a student still in the university completing my teacher education program, this seminar has helped me to choose science material for my practicum lessons.”
- “Understanding the important relationship between visual aids and student understanding and the fact that visual aids help bridge the gap between prior knowledge and new knowledge.”
- “I teach astronomy and the text book visuals often serve to reinforce common student misconceptions. I have never used foldables but that may be of benefit to some students as we discuss stellar lifecycle.”
Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions,
and a job well done!
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