Sunday, November 2, 2008

Topic 1: Photo and image manipulation, image composition, color theory and text use

Do images enhance text understanding?

Compare what these authors say and come up with your own theory about using images with text to generate understanding. Post your ideas to your blog.

"In facilitating L2 reading comprehension, the use of sound, pictures, and animated pictures or video in addition to text have played an important role in vocabulary acquisition and in overall text comprehension, and are unquestioned components of instructional materials for language learning (Chun & Plass, 1996a, 1996b; Cohen, 1987; Hanley, Herron, & Cole, 1995; Leow, 1995; Oller, 1996; Omaggio, 1979; Secules, Herron, & Tomasello, 1992).

As a second language teacher who has taught all grades and levels from Pre-K to Adult Ed, I have drawn from many sources over the years to create instructional materials for my French and Spanish classes. When I left a public high school to teach Spanish to students in grades K-8 in a new, cash-strapped Charter School, I quickly realized that my artistic talents were of great value, especially with the youngest students who could not yet read. Even now, I will frequently draw an image on the board to jog my high school students' memories when trying to elicit a word or phrase in the target language.

As I am writing this I am reminded of one of the first topics we discussed in EDTC 617- the importance of matching the media to the audience and to the instructional goals. I believe that the key to successful teaching and learning is the ability to stimulate the learner's imagination by promoting personal and sensory connections without overshadowing the message. Students of all ages tend to like visual stimuli and are frequently bored by text-only formats, yet some of the textbooks I have seen and used lately seem to have taken the use of color and images to an extreme. The textbook I am now required to use, for example, is so 'loaded' that the students can barely identify the important points. As with everything else in life, the key seems to be striking a balance.

This belief seems to be supported by the findings of the Eyetrack III project from the Poynter Institute with regard to recall of factual information (, namely, that research suggests that "Users who received information in text form seemed to have better recall of specific factual information." and also that "multiple, potentially conflicting streams of information (graphic, audio, and text) might impede some types of recall rather than help it."

I wish I had seen this site sooner as it provided very useful information concerning the use of text fonts and how they might appear on different screens and on different platforms since "displays and resolutions vary widely and Macs and Windows machines make significantly different guesses about them… Type specified in points (or any point-based measurement) will appear larger on a Windows machine than on a Mac". As a MAC user, I now understand better the issues I had when designing my final web site for EDTC 616. .

Create 5 quality images/photos- cropping for optimal composition, using various filters, and adding text to create visuals that will improve students comprehension in a subject you teach or envision teaching. Post these images on your final portfolio project for this class on an image page and also save them as .jpg or .png and email them to your instructor.

On a personal note...

I really had a lot of fun with this week's topic, and I have also begun to discover iWeb, another integrated Mac tool that will undoubtedly facilitate the completion of my final project for this course. After all of the incompatibilities and technical difficulties I experienced when trying to complete the digital storytelling project in EDTC 617, the integrated software on my new Macbook is a welcome relief!


Saylor's Computer Classes said...

Your images are great, both in content and in presentation, colors, composition, detail and text.

I think you hit it on the head when you discuss the need for visuals when teaching languages. I'll bet you do a great job enhancing your lessons. I have also read the info on recall when multiple streams of information are used. I think todays students are more wired for media delivered this way and when there is only text on the page, it seems boring, lack of stimulus.

Great week! Keep up the good work! Alison

Sheila said...

I have to admit, I am finding that this new technology is making teaching fun again!