Tony Gurr

Blogging and my JOURNEY “back” to Visual Literacy…

In News & Updates (from the CBO) on 03/10/2012 at 2:31 pm

A few months ago I did a post entitled A Picture Paints a Thousand Words. I did this one because I had noticed that a large number of people had been dropping into the blog not for my “words” – but for my “images”.

The post, I thought, had very little “content” – no ideas, no major “rants”, no EDUlearning…or so I thought! It got “hit” more than poor Erol Taş making a quick run to the bakkal for bread!

BTWGoogle Translate dudes – “bakkal” means “corner shop“!

I really didn’t get this at firstwhy did so many people “search” for images…what were they really looking for…what did they want these images for…???

However, I should have – it was simple really!

When I first started the blog, I made the conscious decision to use images or graphics (I’d realised how many grown-up blogs just did not use them enough). However, in my very first post – I didn’t use any…nor in Post #02, Post #03 or Post #04!

This having been said, I was trying to LEARN how to use WordPress…and keeping to the promise I had made in my bloggery purpose statement

The first time I ever used an image was in Post #07 – a cartoon from Jon Marks (I wanted to credit him) and another one about a grammarian dog (crediting too)…

I wasn’t too happy…did not really work for me!

I skipped using any images in a couple of the next posts (it was bloody hard work finding decent images to “match” what I wanted to “say”) – but then followed up with a MindManager mind-map (based on the work of Ken Bain) and another cartoon (a cartoon that I still do not bloody know where I got – and has become one of the top 10 downloaded images from the blogstill)!

The same! Was not a happy camper…at all!

What I noticed (and I have just reconfirmed over the last day or two) was that I was more interested in sharing “links” and “information” about LEARNing resources…nothing wrong with that!

But, when I compare the types of images I use…and create…today – there is a huge difference!

A HUGE…difference!

…and a difference that is not always as pleasing to the eye as it could be:

What the heck happened to me?


Now, it’s probably no co-incidence that I started blogging at about the same time as my daughter started her undergrad programme in graphic design in London (yes, I had to fill the void that a teenager can create when she skips town…skips the country)!

I got interested in what she was being LEARNed…and her “frustrations” at having to wait till “next semester” to LEARN all that really cool stuff…she was already LEARNing on her own anyways!

If I was really honest, until a few years back I had no idea that visual literacy was all about the “ability” to evaluate, apply, or create conceptual visual representations – or even that it was more about “visual creativity”.

I’d even forgotten that as a “kid” I was pretty good at “art” – and “loved” it! By all accounts I wasn’t half bad…

It was…as if “they” had done a Total Recall” jobbie on me!

See what “high school” and “university” really do to us?

I read a lot about design that year (even got to change the types of “recommendations” they would annoyingly send me)…but what really LEARNed me was my own curiosity…and spending hours how to figure out how graphic designers got my attention.

I’m still not quite “there” – but you can see the “difference”!

I also spent a great deal of time “stalking” younger people in the blogosphere!

No, do not be silly…

Of course, reading about the demise of “textual literacy” in the 21st Century (as we “digital dinosaurs” do) is not the same as “observing” how Generation C are actually using digital images and video to communicate and share themselves – in the virtual world.

This having been said I did have to do a fair bit of “book LEARNing” (OK, e-book LEARNing) on the new “fluencies” that we talk about today – I especially liked the notions of Creativity Fluency and also Media Fluency. Ian – you and the boys are great!

I guess it just “clicked” – I realised that visual literacy was not so much about the TECH (yes, I know I say that a lot)…but more about story-telling and a wee bit of “artistic expression”!

I decided that I had to look at the ole Blog and say

…for me!

Now, having come this far with my story – it kinda makes sense for me to tell you what I actually didhow I started to put more and more images togetherhow I started to improve the images I was using

…and the “tools” I used!

I will…promise…but I wanted first to leave you with a few of the images that I was working on over the Summer. All these are taken from the blog…and are some of the most popular (yani, they have been “stolen”…sorry….”downloded”…more than any others)!

In no particular “ranking”…

…take a look…and see if you like them (if you click on them, they should take you to the original post).

This one was taken from a post on TEACHer LEADership I did in May (OK – not quite Summer – but almost):

…though I actually preferred the Superman images – I guess the message here is what people liked.

This one was from my post on the lack of bloggery on the part of academics (and how we TEACHers seemed to be gaining the upper hand in the blogosphere – yeah)!

Again, I thought there were better images in this mini-series – but I guess everyone does “love” Donald, after all!

Now, these ones I loved creating – but again the message was more important than the images:

The thing was…I had used these words before (in earlier posts) but the posts that contained these images – got loads more “hits” (note to self…)!

This was the R-rated version of a post on best practice in classroom observation:

…I really like this one (and the “credit” is there, too – if you look closely)!

Come on…who doesn’t love a picture of a dog?

This one is from the same mini-series (as above) – but took bloody ages to put together:

Ahhh…one of my summer favourites:

…took me 3 minutes to prepare…but what will old Dexter do now that Debs “knows”….really “knows”!

This has to be one of my favourite imagesever:

…it is one of the most downloaded graphics from the blog!

Those of you that know the blog…know how much I loves me questions:

…but, again, did not expect this type of graphic to be downloaded as much as it was!

Images like these are quite easy – a nice piccie and a “quote“:

…but again – there is a powerful message behind the graphic!

OK – not really a “cat fan” (sorry, Sally) but I loved this image…and was being a bit silly!

Another onesimple:

…but effective!

Now, this one was actually created…because I got some feedback that some of my summer posts were getting a bit long!

…from bloggersfar more visually literate than I!

This one…went “viral“…

OK…my mother-in-law and a few of her friends really liked it!

But, I created it in less than two minutes…

Who can go wrong with a quote from Albert?

People obviously liked this set of images:

…especially thosePinterest chappies!

Quotes…as ever…are popular:

See what I mean?

This…I loved doing…

…but, you do NOT want to know how long it took me!

I adored this image (from Chris Hardy) but…

…was not sure if people would get the “sage-on-the-stage” notion. They did!

For some reason, I did not expect this one to be as popular as it was:

…but perhaps it was John Hattie that made it one of the most popular images of  September!

Went with Jack – rather than Albert for this one:

…there are a lot of EDUfilm-buffs out there!

Now, this one really surprised me:

…I still do not know why this one was a “hit”!

This one…I do know about:

…it seems a couple of education lecturers (in the States, the UK and here) were working on the same topic (the day after I got this up). Lucky!

Now, this one is not “mine“…I borrowed it from a fellow blogger (Krissy)…

…and even though I only posted it a couple of weeks ago – it has has been downloaded 3 times as many times as some images that have been up on the blog for over a year! Thx Krissy!

Now, this next set…have not been up on the blog very long – but are racing to the top of the September / October download “chart”:

That was hard work!

I haven’t forgottenI’ll do a “how-to” follow-up bit soonpromise!

  1. Everything red is clickable. And he knows if you are not clicking.  

    I was awed by his visual literacy and drawn to read more and more not only by the content (which was and is sometimes just beyond my…)

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