So over the course of the past few blog posts you’ve learned that a) I’m an avid reader (when I have the time) and b) I think about clicking. You are about to learn that c) I’m a wannabe photographer.

I took a few photography classes in high school and fell in love with printing my own black and white photos. I was lucky enough to mix in some photo classes while I was at NYU and learned more about photo composition.

How does this have anything to do with visual literacy?

I know a little bit about photography and this makes me a picky photo chooser.

During my blogging process, one of the things that takes the longest time is finding the perfect picture. I can spend hours on Flickr looking through photos for the one that’s just right. I’m a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words. And there are a lot of okay photos on Flickr. But I don’t want to settle for something that’s okay. One of Garr Reynolds’ posts on his Presentation Zen blog says that,

Visuals that surprise people, touch them, delight them, and support your story are best because they affect people in an emotional way. People are more likely to remember your content in the form of  stories and examples, and they are also more likely to remember your content if your visuals are unique, powerful and of the highest quality.

Looking back on some of my old blog posts, I spent hours looking for that picture. One that is relevant to my topic that would surprise and capture my audience. Something like this is a good example.

I’m also a Kindergarten teacher. I almost always need a visual to teach something to my students.

Thinking about the quality of photography I choose to use in my blog got me thinking about some of the images I use when I work with my students. Usually I look for something that is simple and easily communicated with very few distractions. With an audience composed of sixteen five-year-olds, I need to make my point and communicate it quickly.

How can I utilize what I now know about visual literacy to provide an engaging learning experience for my students?




There’s also something to be said about clicking.

In this era of visual literacy, how you see something is so important. Where and why you click has huge implications for a great presentation. When do you decide that it’s time to click to the next slide? Do you want the reader to click so that something is added to your slide? Is it effective in proving your point, or is it just distracting?

Have you thought about how clicking affects your presentation?



I am a skimming queen. I skim almost everything online. I can’t help it.

I’m actually an avid reader. I like to read a lot, and try to read as much as possible. But with easy access to thousands of pages of information out there… I physically can’t read everything I want to read. My curiosity takes me from one page to another before I finish what I first started. Hyperlinks are the worst. Next thing I know I have 30 tabs open and I haven’t finished reading anything. I hope to read them at a later time and end up opening more tabs that I don’t read the next day. It’s a vicious, never ending cycle. I think that’s why I’ve become a skimmer.

A visual is so important to me. Almost always, I’m not reading the entire page if it consists entirely of  text.

I need something to keep me engaged with minimal text that stands out if it’s really important. That’s why I love this presentation a colleague found on Slideshare:

Not only did it teach me something, but I was engaged the entire time. The photographs were relevant, the text simple, with just enough humor to make me giggle.



“Vision trumps all other senses.” – Brain Rules

It’s been awhile since we started Course 3, but visual literacy has been on my mind since.

Why is it that some websites are more appealing than others?

Am I the only person who thinks its ironic that our must read on visual literacy looks like this?

Why is it that I get incredibly frustrated when I can’t get my blog to look “”just right”?

If we remember 10% of what we hear, but by adding a visual you can increase what we remember to 65%…  How does visual literacy affect the way you teach?

I have not been a good blogger this time around. During my first course I did okay with keeping up with the blog, but this time I did not.

I want to say this is because of the political instability that has kept us on the edge for the past few weeks. That and end of the school year madness is enough to drive a person away from their COETAIL blog. I have learned a lot during this second course about my digital footprint and privacy online. I know more about copyright and the ethical use of everything that is available to me online.

For example, all of my photos I use on this blog are under a creative commons license. I’ve linked the photos back to the photographer’s photostream and feel like this is already a habit of my blogging process. It doesn’t feel like I chore, and I feel good about this.

Collaborating with Eva on our final project was also a great way for me to work with someone who teaches younger students. I continue to struggle with ways to incorporate technology into my classroom in a way that is age appropriate for five and six year olds. Having discussions with someone who works with a similar age group was definitely beneficial.

When designing our final project, it was very important to both Eva and I that our lesson be meaningful for our young students. One of the things I realized as I was designing this lesson is that it requires students to have previous experience with the internet. Whether that be in the form of sharing a YouTube video, VoiceThread or StoryBird, students need to be exposed to the powers of the internet and what it can do at an early age. Without this exposure, it would be very difficult to have conversations with kids about online safety.

Our lesson also demands help from an online community. In order to show young students how powerful it is to share things online, comments would have to be left by friends, family and other people that the students know. My students don’t belong to a social network online… yet. It would be my role as their teacher to utilize my networks to encourage families and friends to be a part of their child’s online learning community.

One thing I thought about when designing our final project is that there is a market for children’s books about the safe use of technology. A great way to start our lesson would have been to read a story about online safety. Do you know of any children’s books out there that deal with this topic? Please recommend some if you know of any!

I’ve learned a lot since January! This blog has been a good place to reflect about my learning, and express the thoughts and ideas that have been rolling around in my head. I think Iam ready to have a class blog next year. It would serve two purposes: as a way for me to communicate with parents, and a place for my students to share things that they’ve learned. I should talk to Siri and Cindy before the summer gets out, and if they’ve had a positive experience with having a class blog…

Summer project!

Summer is almost here!

I was just reading a colleague’s blog and found an article called “Social Media Parenting: Raising a Digital Native“.

This article is going to teach me how to raise a Digital Native? Bring it on!

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with another colleague. He is a teacher at our school, with kids in the elementary school. He was talking to me about his frustrations on using Facebook; he didn’t like it, and decided to quit. Fair enough.

I asked him whether he thought his kids would use Facebook or something like Facebook in the near future. Technology isn’t going away. Social networks are part of the future. How can he talk to his kids about proper use of the internet if he doesn’t know what’s going on, or how to use it?

If you’re a parent, please take an active role in your child’s use of technology. Get yourself involved. Do your homework! If you don’t know what goes on online, how can you talk to them about it?

I’m not saying that the my Kindergarten students are ready to be introduced to social networking sites (despite things like Togetherville). But if you have a child in fifth grade, chances are they already have a Facebook account. Get online and be their friend. Poke them every once in awhile, write on their wall, and see what information is available to their friends.

Summer is the perfect opportunity!