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1 THE VISUAL CONNECTION: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF FOURTH AND FIFTH ENHANCED CURRICULUM By PRISCA M. RODRGUEZ CRUZ A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERS ITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 201 4
2 201 4 Prisca M. Rodr guez Cruz
3 To my M om and MC who believed in me every step of the way
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my family and closest friends for inspiring me to continue my journey in education, ask more questions, and never give up. I would l ike to give heartfelt thanks especially to my mother, Helen Cruz, and Maria C. Bonet I would not be where I am today without your kind words, advice, nudges, reprimands, and hours listening to stories about my experiences in the doctoral program. My sincerest gratitude goes to the collaborators of this study. They allowed me a stranger to them to step into their classrooms, ask questions, share personal stories, ask more questions, and discuss their beliefs and practices. I wish to t hank the members of my committee, who encouraged me in different ways throughout my doctoral journey. Thank you to my chair, Ruth Lowery, and to Mirka Koro Ljungberg, Erik Black, and Danling Fu for asking thoughtful questions, providing feedback, and givin g ad vice. I would also like to thank others I met at the University of Florida who helped and/or inspired me in different ways through the challenges of being a doctoral student: Soim Shin, Nathaniel Poling, Chris Frey, Martin Feng Liu, Kara Dawson, Alber t Ritzhaupt, Ela Kaye Eley, Jess Clawson, Katherine Barko Alva, Dianne Murphey Katrina Short, Brian Trutschel, Cathy Cavanaugh, Colleen Swain, Elizabeth Bondy, Katherine Alva, Nicola Wayer, Christina Barnes, Andrea Thoermer, Dorene Ross, Donna Rivera, Ros e Pringle, Luke Rodesiler, Timothy Barko, Chris Brkich and Katie Milton. My fellow doctoral student, Patricia Lopez Estrada, helped me in so many ways -I will be forever grateful to her and look forward to a lifetime of friendship and collaboration. Thank you so much, Patricia, for infusing my dissertation writing
5 experience with insanity, laughter, silence, camaraderie, peace, chaos, and everything in between. Thanks especially for listening and being a friend. I would also like to thank Kara Nesser Literature class I taught at the University of Florida and later became a close friend. Thank you for your input, encouragement, and questions. Finally, I am grateful to M. M. Bonet and Marcy Hairston You provide d invaluable help with the editing and all of the hair pulling final details of writing this dissertation. I have met and known ma n y people in my lifetime and know I will meet many more. Thank you all for the colorful little grains of sand you have contri buted to the hourglass of my life. They have filled my life with joy.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 10 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 A MULTIPLICITY OF LITERACY LANDSCAPES ................................ ................... 14 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 14 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 18 Purpose and Rationale ................................ ................................ ........................... 21 Guiding Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 24 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 24 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 26 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 26 Image Literacies ................................ ................................ ............................... 27 Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 27 Multiliteracies ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 27 Technology savvy ................................ ................................ ............................ 27 Text ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 28 Visual Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 28 Visuals ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 28 Visual Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 29 Visual Literacy Practices ................................ ................................ .................. 29 Visual Thinking ................................ ................................ ................................ 30 Visual Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ 30 Visual Communication ................................ ................................ ...................... 30 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ....................... 30 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ............ 32 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 32 Literacy Then and Now ................................ ................................ ........................... 32 The Autonomous Model of Literacy ................................ ................................ .. 34 Ideological Literacy and th e Socio Cultural Paradigm ................................ ...... 37 Multiliteracies and Out of School Learning ................................ .............................. 42 Multiliteracies and Technology ................................ ................................ ................ 46 Technology and 21st Century Life ................................ ................................ .......... 49 Technology: Policy and Teacher Preparation ................................ ......................... 52 V isual Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 58
7 Visuals and Literacy Acquisition: Then ................................ ................................ ... 63 Visual Literacy: Now ................................ ................................ ............................... 65 Visual Literacy and 21st Century Classrooms ................................ ........................ 68 Teachers, Technology, and Visual Literacy ................................ ............................ 70 Visual Literacy: Putting the Concept to Work ................................ .......................... 73 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 75 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 77 Intro duction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 77 Research Approach ................................ ................................ ................................ 79 Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ............................ 83 The Re search Context ................................ ................................ ............................ 85 Recruiting Collaborators ................................ ................................ ................... 86 Selecting Collaborators ................................ ................................ .................... 88 Sampling Criteria ................................ ................................ ....................... 89 EETT Workshop ................................ ................................ ......................... 91 The Collaborators and Their Classrooms ................................ ......................... 93 Ms. Maria, class 1 ................................ ................................ ...................... 95 Ms. Ladasha, class 2 ................................ ................................ ................. 95 Ms. Penelope, class 3 ................................ ................................ ................ 96 Ms. Poppy, class 4 ................................ ................................ ..................... 96 Mr. Jesse, class 5 ................................ ................................ ...................... 97 Mr. George, class 6 ................................ ................................ .................... 97 Mr. Rudy, class 7 ................................ ................................ ....................... 98 Ms. Lana, class 8 ................................ ................................ ....................... 98 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 99 Building Rapport ................................ ................................ ............................. 101 Observations of Classroom Literacy Instruction ................................ ............. 101 Video Recordings of Clas sroom Observations ................................ ............... 103 Field notes ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 106 Semi Structured Interviews ................................ ................................ ............ 108 Computer mediated interviews ................................ ................................ ....... 109 Data Analysis Processes ................................ ................................ ...................... 110 Reading the data and identifying frames of analysis ................................ ...... 113 Creating domains based on semantic relationships discovered within frames of analysis ................................ ................................ ....................... 114 Identifying salient domains, assigning them a code, and putting others aside 116 Rereading data, refining salient domains and keeping a record of where relationships are found in the data ................................ .............................. 117 Checking that domains are supported by the data and searching data for examples that do not fit with or run counter to the relationships in the domains ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 118 Completing doma in analysis ................................ ................................ ........... 119 Searching for themes across domains (followed by a master outline of relationships among domains, including support data) ............................... 120 Attrition ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 121
8 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 123 Trustworthiness and Validity ................................ ................................ ........... 124 Peer reviewers ................................ ................................ ......................... 125 Triangulation ................................ ................................ ............................ 126 Peer debriefer ................................ ................................ .......................... 126 Member checking ................................ ................................ ..................... 126 Audit trail ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 127 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 127 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 128 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 128 Summary of findings: The Visual Spiral Framework ................................ ............. 128 Theme 1: Information capture ................................ ................................ ........ 133 1.1 Ways to access information ................................ ............................... 13 3 1.2 Visuals are important ................................ ................................ ......... 138 1.3 Visuals have to be read ................................ ................................ ...... 140 Theme 2: Visual contextualization ................................ ................................ .. 142 2.1 Ways to activa .......... 142 2.2 Ways to enhance comprehension ................................ ...................... 145 2.3 Ways to connect with the content ................................ ...................... 147 Theme 3: Internalizing information ................................ ................................ 150 3.1 Visuals as mnemonic devices ................................ ............................ 151 3.2 Asking questions to analyze visuals ................................ ................... 152 Theme 4: Externalizing information ................................ ................................ 154 4.1 Summarizing content ................................ ................................ ......... 155 4.2 Teaching others ................................ ................................ ................. 156 Analytical insights from interviews ................................ ................................ ........ 157 Theme 1: Navigating technology ................................ ................................ .... 158 1.1 Technology used for teaching ................................ ............................ 159 1.2 Ways to engage with technology ................................ ....................... 161 1.3 What to look for when choosing technology for instruction ................ 163 1.4 Reasons for using technology ................................ ............................ 164 Theme 2: Visual literacy definitions ................................ ................................ 167 2.1 Characteristics of a visually literate teacher ................................ ....... 167 2.2 Visuals are ................................ .............. 169 2.3 Text as a visual ................................ ................................ .................. 170 2.4 What to look for when choosing visuals for instruction ....................... 173 Theme 3: Visuals as powerful and necessary ways to learn .......................... 174 3.1 Visuals are critical to learning ................................ ............................ 175 3.2 Students as visual learners ................................ ................................ 177 3.3 Teachers as visual learners ................................ ............................... 179 3.4 Ways visuals facilitate internalization and externalization processes 181 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 183 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ..... 185
9 Overview of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................... 185 Summary of the Findings ................................ ................................ ...................... 187 Discussion of the Findings ................................ ................................ .................... 189 ................................ ................................ .......................... 189 Teachers and the Visual Spiral Framework (VSF) ................................ ......... 192 I mplications ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 195 Implications for educators ................................ ................................ ............... 195 Implications for teacher educators ................................ ................................ .. 199 Implications for future research ................................ ................................ ...... 200 APPE NDIX: I NTERVIEW GUIDE SAMPLE ................................ ............................ 204 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 205 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 219
10 LIST OF TABLE S Table page 3 1 District summary of participants and projects overview ................................ ...... 87 3 2 Diversity within the district ................................ ................................ .................. 87 3 3 FDE goals ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 92 3 4 ................................ ..................... 92 3 5 EETT active participants ................................ ................................ ..................... 93 3 6 Collaborators ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 94 3 7 Technology available to collaborators ................................ ................................ 95 3 8 Data collection ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 100 3 9 Video log by subject taught ................................ ................................ .............. 105 3 10 Domain example from domain an alysis worksheet ................................ ........... 116 3 11 Assigning codes to salient domains ................................ ................................ .. 117 3 12 Exploring data and domains ................................ ................................ ............. 118 3 13 Analysis of observations ................................ ................................ ................... 121 3 14 Analytical insights from the interviews ................................ .............................. 122 4 1 Anal ysis of observations ................................ ................................ ................... 129 4 2 Analytical insights from the interviews ................................ .............................. 130 4 3 Technology used by teachers ................................ ................................ ........... 134 4 4 Visuals and other resources used for literacy instruction ................................ .. 134 4 5 ........................ 145
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Model of sociocultural visual literacy ................................ ................................ .. 76 4 3 The Visual Spiral Framework ................................ ................................ ........... 132
12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE VISUAL CONNECTION: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF FOURTH AND FIFTH ENHANCED CURRICULUM By Prisca M. Rodr guez Cruz May 201 4 Chair: Ruth McKoy Lowery Major: Curriculum and Instruction visuals in technology enhanced classrooms during literacy instruction. I wanted to see how teachers used visuals as another way to encourage learning, thinking, and communicating in the increasingly heavily technological and visual contexts of the 21st century. This examination could enhance our understanding of what teachers are asking stu dents to do and what counts as an acceptable use of visuals for classroom instruction. This study may also add to the understanding of how current integration of visuals in technology enhanced contexts may inform future literacy considerations within a vis ually rich, digitally of visuals in technology enhanced curricula may promote discussions related to the availability, use, and integration of technology and visual literacy principles, tools, resour ces, and practices, as well as encourage reflection of such practices. Specifically, I asked the research question: How do fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as technology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teacher directed technology enhanced, literacy instruction? To better understand their responses, I
13 asked two more guiding questions: What are teachers doing with visuals and technology in the classroom? What are teachers trying to accomplish when they use different stra tegies, methods, and/or resources? For six weeks of the school year, I observed teachers using visuals as a tool : a making. To better understand what I gleaned from the observations and to directly exam ine perceptions of visuals in technology enhanced environments, I conducted individual interviews. Their responses were interpreted using inductive domain analysis which helped illuminate and problematize the ways teaching and commun icating with visuals were enacted within the context of 21st century technologies.
14 CHAPTER 1 A MULTIPLICI T Y OF LITERACY LANDSCAPES Introduction Throughout millennia, we have relied on the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies embedded in specific times and contexts in order to survive and thrive (Knobel, 1999; New London Group, 1996; Street, 2003). When humanity lived in caves, we relied on skills to communicate and work together to hunt and feed families. As populations thrived and develo ped, changing contexts demanded new knowledge and skills We invented and crafted new tools that increased productivity, mobility, and communication, such as calendars navigation systems to deliver goods and electronic communication From humble beginnin gs to traveling into outer space and connecting digitally to people all over the world, the acquisition of skills and knowledge and the need for literacy has always been an indispensable part of our existence and prosperity. Historically, literacy included the ability to read and write in standard forms (Brandt, 2001; Hagood, 2000; New London Group, 1996; Seels, 1994; Street, 2005). However, as technologies and contexts changed, so did literacy (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008). Views of liter acy have broadened to include what it means to think of literacy as a social practice (Gee, 1996; Street, 2003), which focuses on how people use literacy to construct everyday meanings within specific contexts (Brandt, 2001; Hicks, 2002 ; Purcell Gates, 199 5; Street, 2005). Literacy encompasses diversity and complexity (Genishi & Dyson, 2009), where learners are impacted by wh ich literacies are valued in informal settings outside of school that include a multitude of them (Kitson, Fletcher, & Kearny, 2007; N ew London Group, 1996).
15 At the interstices of our literacy experiences, visuals have been consistently embedded in our history (McCloud, 1993) and discussions of literacy (Callow, 2005; Debes, 1974; Wyatt Smith & Kimber, 2009). When people lived in caves, for example, they took pigments to cave walls to relate stories such as the hunt for food. Later they created calendars to plan when to plant crops. Images are also present in ancient Egyptian tapestries and medieval illuminated manuscripts (Lehrer, 2009). Image centric objects have been and remain present throughout our culture, communications, and the economy (Altisen, 2002; Avgerinou, 2001; Duncum, 2010). In present day environments, the rise of image centric technologies emphasizes the need to learn to (understand) (communicate with) visuals (Avgerinou, 2007). V isuals have been used to create templates and designs to plan and execute innovative technologies, such as cell phones, computers, airpla nes, automobiles, and space craft Visua ls have and continue to impact us in various ways, including aesthetic and affective manners. For example, many of us include household decorations and p ersonal images on a mantelpiece They can serve as visual aids to memory, spark emotions emphasize wha t we value, and more Images are intimately linked to our bodies, mind, and social contexts (Fleckenstein, 2003). While I allude to images and image centric objects, v isuals should not be m istaken exclusively for images. Images are at the heart of visuals but they are rarely present on their own. In this paper, t refers to multimodal representations (Duncum, 2010; Jewitt, 2008; Wyatt Smitth & Kimber, 2009). They can be found in confluence with other communicative modes such as sound, text and video
16 (Duncum, 2004) that are common in contemporary life Examples include interactive digital presentations, phone interfaces, and online videos. Each image, along with text, symbols and other meaning making modes, comprise unique visuals that dem and distinctive and diverse literacies that fluidly interact according to the visual modes employed. Seeing and understanding quick response (QR) codes, for example, necessitates knowledge of the purpose behind QR codes, which are two dimensional codes tha t can be read by supported mobile devices codes. Once the information is downloaded into a device, the user relies on other literacies to fully grasp and understand the c ont ent. These other literacies can include language, printed sign systems, mathematics, and other skills that have historically and contextually been considered necessary to become literate (Brandt, 2001; Knobel, 1999; New Lo ndon Group, 1996; Street, 1995) V isuals like QR codes thrive within 21st century life a digital age marked by technological advances and innovations that are constantly transforming and in flux (Albright & Walsh, 2003; Avgerinou, 2009; Callow, 2005; Noble, 2004). Part of this digi tal age includes a renewed emphasis on the acquisition of what have been dubbed solving, communication, and collaboration (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008 ; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). This emphasis comes with the caveat emerging technologies that emphasize an increasingly fast paced and connected world. Computers, for example, have been and are changing the way human beings
17 communicate, learn, work, and play ( Shaffer Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005), and how we think about literacy within a digital globally networked context (Elkins & Luke, 2000; Gee, 1991; Knobel 1999). At any time, we can access software that connects us synchronously (in real time) or asynchronously (the message is pending a response) with others across the globe via computer, cell phone, and other devices Computers are increasingly present i n classrooms and workplaces. Electronic games have n avigated beyond gaming platforms to mobile technologies Technologies continue to change our environments, cognitive development, and interactions (Albright & Walsh, 2003; Avgerinou, 2009; Callow, 2005; Wilson, 2003) and they have facilitated and transformed the proliferation of information and visuals (Avgerinou, 2001; Callow, 2005; Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Noble, 2004) via multi media texts W oven in to the fabric of these technological landscapes, visu als remain an important component of our relationships and interactions with people and the world (Avgerinou, 2009; Gaylean, 1983; Serafini, 2010; Sosa, 2009; Styles & Arzipe, 2001 ) P erhaps they are more important than before, since precursors of current technology such as television (Debes, 1969) and the home computer (Portewig, 2004) emphasized visuals To facilitate navigation within these heavily technological and visual contexts, a visual literacy is necessary (Sosa, 2009; Wilhelm, 2005) as another way of learning, thinking, and communicating in the 21st century. Achieving visual literacy involves a series of visual competencies integrated with other ways of meaning making which a person uses to think, learn, and communicate with others (Seels, 1994) and interpret visual information, actions, objects, and symbols
18 ( Braden & Hortin, 1982; Debes, 1969 media form, being able to judge the credibility and accuracy of the information used to persuade and convey emotion (Scheibe, 2004). Visual literacy is not limited to a set of competencies and sk ills, however. It is a social practice (Street, 2003) in which visuals are consumed, used, problematized, and otherwise transformed as people establish everyday meanings in specific cultural contexts (Gee, 2010; Street, 2003, 2005). Statement of the Proble m Image rich technology enhanced environments are unavoidably part of our their future for which they must be prepared. According to the National Council of Teachers of English ( NCTE ), 21st century readers and writers need to create critique, analyze, and evaluate multi media texts (2008). They are not simply consumers of media and information. M any learners invest much time engaging with visually rich environments both in the electronic and physical realms (Hinchman, Alverman, Boyd Brozo & Vacca, 2003; Jukes & Dosaj, 2006). They regularly watch and create movies and blogs, post on social network sites, create illustrations, music, and even c onstruct self made merchandise. While reading, writing, and math remain central literacy co ncerns, navigating the 2001, p.1) that embraces visuals, from which we can garner multiple understan dings.
19 Education stakeholders need to exploit the information and communication technologies In the conversation of visuals and their influence on learning within contemporary, d igitally connected environments, many scholars suggest the conscious integration of visuals in education to offer additional opportunities to facilitate learning (Avgerinou, 2001; Debes, 1969; Fleckenstei n, 2003; Fransecky & Debes, 1972 ; Grant, Hutchinson, Hornsby & Brooke, 2008; Portewig, 2004; Segovia Aguilar, 2010; Sosa, conflicting ide as and make connections with others in the world (Avgerinou, 2001; Considine, 1986; Debes, 1969; Pressley Pigott, & Bryant 1982; Segovia Aguilar, 2010; of the rhet orical situation of using visuals as well as how to communicate, think about, centric resources in the classroom are an important influence on literacy acquisition (Dyson, 1999; Johnson, 1990), not just in traditiona l learning settings, but within increasingly technology saturated visually rich environments. It is important to note that research in visual learning has illuminated the power of visuals to improve learning (Pressley, Pigott, & Bryant, 1982; Considine, 1 986; Segovia Aguilar, 2010), increase student attention (Considine, 1986; Gaylean, 1983; Zambo & Brozo, 2008), help them make sense of the world (Serafini, 2010), and reach acceptance of self and others (Gaylean, 1983). In addition, research in educational technology has explored if digital tools have made an impact in practices, objectives,
20 and learning (Beeland, 2002; McKendrick & Bowden, 1999; Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Messaris, 1994; Rakes, Rakes, & Smith, 1995 ; Yeh & Lohr, 2010), as well as the belief t hat technology enhances learning, productivity, and performance (Davies, 2011; Evans, 2005). However, there are several challenges to the integration of visual literacy in technology enhanced education. One challenge is that t here are different understand ings of what visuals are, how they may be used, and how they impact thinking, learning, and communicating This has fostered some confusion as to how they may be used in instructional settings. For example, because technology and visuals may inform part of many learners' daily lives, we may easily confuse and equate technological savvy and being submerged in image rich environments as evidence of mastery, where the understanding and applications of technology and visuals are assumed to have been internalize d. It is also plausible that this could lead to an understanding that visuals are easily comprehended, apprehended, technology is essentially a tool to continue traditional literacy w ork (Evans, 2005). In addition, research has been limited to a few studies dealing with limited graphical representations, where the focus was on particular types of graphics, such as maps (Coleman, 2010). Much focus has instead been given to the design o f visual materials for the classroom, where an understanding of visuals is assumed (Omar, 2000; Portewig, 2004). Because of these and other challenges, research on what is happening with visuals in the classrooms is lacking. There is a need to ascertain th e instructional strategies, methods, and resources currently used by teachers to integrate visuals in technology enhanced literacy instruction (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). Felten
21 (2008) stresses that the saturated presence of technology and visuals does not mean students or educators are automatically instilled with visual literacy skills, in the same way that eating a chocolate every day of the week does not teach a person how to make chocolates. It is important and pertinent, therefore use of visuals and their awareness of the rhetorical situation of using visuals for instruction visual literacy tenets, inform future literacy considerations and practices, raise new questions, and foster reflection of current practices. Purpose and Rationale The purpose of this study was to explore how fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as technology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teache r directed, technology enhanced literacy instruction. It was my intent to learn about practice and beliefs as well as the availability, use, and integration of technology tools and visual learning and literacy principles (Moore & Dwyer, 1994; Om ar, 2000). I believe that situating this study within a technology rich context helps capture the nature of changing and transforming 21st century classroom environments, highlights the increasing importance of visuals, and presents several implications fo r future research. This study takes place at a time when many people work within multiple heavily visual, hectic, accelerated, and connected technology enhanced environments. Many of saturated culture, [wh ere] we consume visual images, responding with our senses, emotionally, cognitively, all at once and 15). On any given day, a digitally connected person can write and answe r e mails with
2 2 attached images, send text messages with emoticons to express emotion, update a visual profile on a social network ing site, run a search for information and images, watch videos online, create a visual rsum, and more. In education, all st udent teachers are now immersed in education programs where technology integration is mandatory (Gronseth et al., 2010) and educational policies continue to make technology integration in K 12 classrooms a priority (Davies, 2011; Earle, 2002; Evans, 2005; Mims, Polly, Shepherd & Inan, 2006) This influences what is taught and the way it is presented (Leu & Kinzer, 2000). Indeed, many believe that it is critical that teachers integrate and use technology in the classroom (Gronseth et al., 2010; International Reading Association, 2009; International Society for Technology in Education, 2008; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). In addition, makes a unique demand on the liter 2005, p. 11). Several scholars have pointed out a multitude of literacies necessary to thrive in 21st century life that highlight the complexities of literac ies and how they are impacted by networked, globa lized, fluid, and transforming digital societies. These literacy. Of these mult iple literacies, several scholars have called attention specifically to visual literacy as an increasingly important literacy with in the continued development of technology (Avgerinou, 2009; Felten, 2008; New London Group, 1996; Sosa, 2009; & Stokes, 2002)
23 Over time, many types of technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers (including laptops), have progressively emphasized the use of images (Snyder, Jones, & Lo Bianco, 2005). Visuals are also increasingly present in learning and teaching re sources across a wide range of formats ( Portewig, 2004 Cook, & Butland, 2002; Yeh & Lohr, 2010). For example, picture books are frequent ly used in the elementary classroom; the Internet is often a source of information; electronic, image ri ch applications are reaching the hands of students; and more. In addition, visually rich technologies such as video games have been used to promote meaningful and naturally occurring learning and literacy within socially diverse environments ( Gee, 2003; Sh affer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005; Squire, 2006 ). An understanding of the visual representation of ideas in technology integration is just as important as using language, text, and other representations (McLoughlin & Krakowski, 2001), and several argue that it is critically important (Avgerinou, 2001; Felten, 2008; Portewig, 2004 ; Sosa, 2009; & Stokes, 2002). Experiences in digital environments emphasize networked relationships within social, cultural, and linguistically diverse environments (Lam, 2009) where visuals abound (Avgerinou, 2009; Callow, 2005; Duncum, 2010, Noble, 2004). It is necessary to learn what teachers are doing with visuals in technology enhanced environments, as ually saturated environments includes: Designing and developing appropriate learning experiences and assessments (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008; Mims, Polly, Shepherd & Inan, 2006). Consideration of how images and sound may amplif y text (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008).
24 Consideration of how tools can make artists and designers of students not traditionally considered talented in such areas (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008). Having k nowledge of how visua ls can influence student thinking, learning, and communicating (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). Facilitating visual literacy integration in contemporary K 12 education is important (Alvermann & Hagood, 2000; Callow, 2005; Kress, 2000) T herefore it is also impo rtant to explore how much of the visual literacy rhetoric is present in contemporary classroom instruction This can help illuminate existing, new, shifting, or changing considerations of the way visuals are perceived and used in 21st century environments. Guiding Questions How do fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as technology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teacher directed, technology enhanced, literacy instruction? 1. What are teachers doing with visuals and technology in the classroom? 2. What are teachers trying to accomplish when they use different strategies, methods, and/or resources ? Significance of the Study As technology continues to spread, so does the presence of visual elements in 01; Stokes, 2002). However, attempts to ascertain instructional strategies, methods, and resources used to integrate visuals in such technological environments have not been prevalent (Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Omar, 2000). Because facilitating visual liter acy in curricula is important (Alvermann & Hagood, technology enhanced curricula will be informative for stakeholders on three fronts.
25 First, a description of teachers the understanding of how teachers consciously perceive, use, and interact with visuals in education in confluence with technology. It is necessary to learn what teachers are doing with visuals in technol ogy enhanced environments, because they are expected to design learning experiences (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008; Mims, Polly, Shepherd & Inan, 2006), consider how images may amplify text (National Council of Teachers of English 2008), how students can become artists and designers (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008), and know how visuals can influence thinking, learning and communicating (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). Exploring various perspectives can serve to inform p ractices, raise questions, and foster reflection of current integration of visuals and technology. Second, knowledge of these perspectives cou ld enhance our understanding of minate what teachers are asking students to do and what counts as acceptable use of technology and visual representation. This can encourage comparisons of past and current practices in relation to what teachers are expected to know and do and what teacher s expect students to know and do Finally, this study may add to the understanding of how current integration of technology and visuals may affect future literacy considerations within a visually rich, digitally connected global network. Thus, inquiry on technology enhanced curricula may promote discussions related to the availability, use, and integration of technology and visual literacy principles, tools, resources, and practices, as well as encourage reflection of such pract ices.
26 Limitations The operational definition of visual literacy was adapted for the use of this definitions and understandings vary across disciplines (Avgerinou, 2010; Moriar ty, 1997). In addition, results cannot be generalized beyond the context of this particular research; it will be up to the reader to make connections to their own practice and experiences. For the particular context of this study, the collaborators involv ed had prior experience in technology integration in their classes due to a technology initiative in which they had participated. I have provided a rationale for the selection of a pool of collaborators from this initiative in chapter three. This was done to maintain data transparency and expose influences that may impact the results of this study. In terms of the potential impact of the study, in the short term it can inform conversations of visuals in literacy and help ascertain visual strategies, methods and resources teachers are using in literacy instruction. However, more research and conversations concerning enhance our understanding of what and how visuals are legitimized, especially within digital landscapes. Finally, my subjectivity also impacts the study, which is provided in detail in Chapter 3 Definition of Terms The following are terms and definitions used throughout this study, with the caveat that defi as well as better applies to these ideas, as they are free to be molded, weakened, strengthened, aggrandized,
27 limited changed, and transformed by the unique experiences that make up our lives inhabit Image Literacies refers specifically to the competencies only involving images such as photographs, illustrations, drawings, and other two dimensional representations of the world; what we generally refer to, simply, as pictures. Literacy Literacy is a social practice that focuses on how people establish meanings in allows us, then, to ask qu estions about literacy in terms of culture, context, and relations of power. Multiliteracies Multiliteracies comprises traditional skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening compounded with the fluid, shifting, dynamic, transforming, and culturall y and linguistically diverse connections between print, visual, audio, and multimodal texts (Duncum, 2004; Hagood, 2000). According to the New London Group (1996), a pedagogy of multiliteracies encompasses a multiplicity of representational modes broader t han language alone, which are dependent on culture and context. Technology savvy For the purpose of this study, technology savvy was defined as having experience, familiarity, and comfort with more than basic technology skills that may
28 include, but are not limited to having : (1) access to technologies; (2) flexibility to explore features and functions; (3) seeing technology modeled by others; (4) opportunities to design and implement technology rich lessons; and (5) personalized support throughout the learn ing and implementation process (Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006). Text I borrow from Fairclough (2003) to define text broadly. Text can include written and printed items such as lists and lottery tickets, web pages and videos, and transcripts of conver sations or radio programs. Texts can also include visuals and sound effects (Clarke, 2005; Gee, 2003; Rapley, 2009) and encompass other modes (Clarke, 2005) such as recorded video. There are possibly three analytically separable elements in the process of meaning making that include the production of text, the text itself, and the reception of text, but meanings are made through the interplay among them (Fairclough, 2003; Gee, 2010). Habits of thought, perception, and behavior, for example, are socially sh genres (Scollon & Scollon, 2001). Visual Culture A visual culture refers to cultural sites that involve imagery compounded with re driven by communication networks, saturate our cultural landscape, and impact our everyday Visuals rs to multimodal representations (Duncum, 2010; Jewitt, 2008; Wyatt Smitth & Kimber, 2009). Visuals are not limited to what can be
29 perceived with the eyes and can include other senses like sound and touch. For example, they can include two dimensional imag es such as photographs, three dimensional images such as statues, graphic representations of information such as Venn diagrams, sequential images such as videos, and others. Visual Literacy Visual literacy refers to a series of visual competencies integra ted with other ways of meaning making which a person uses to think, learn, and communicate with others (Seels, 1994), and interpret visual information, actions, objects, and symbols ( Braden & Hortin, 1982; Debes, 1969 media form, being able to judge the credibility and accuracy of the information used to persuade and convey emotion (Scheibe, 2004). Visual literacy is not limited to a set of competencies and skills, however. It is a social practice (Street, 2003) in which visuals are consumed, used, problematized, and otherwise transformed as peopl e establish everyday meanings in specific cultural contexts. For example, when looking at an advertisement, a visually literate person might ask: who created the advert? For what purpose was it created and in what context? What point of view is present? Wh at has been omitted or altered? What does the advert say about our history/society? Why were particular images chosen? (Bamford, 2003). Visual Literacy Practices Based on the definition for visual literacy, visual literacy practices include integrating vis
30 analyzing (Seels, 1994), and to provide opportunities in which students can learn to work freely with visuals to express themselves and communicate with others. Visual Thinking V isual thinking involves the organization of mental images in various compositions, shapes, lines, colors, and textures (Wileman, 1980). Visual Learning Visual learning includes learning from visuals and ongoing research concerning the design of visuals for instruction (Seels, 1994). Visual Communication Using visuals to disseminate information and communicate with others face to face or electronically/digitally. Organization of the Study This study is organized into five c hapters, a section for references, and appendices. The first chapter, which provides an introduction, description of the problem, purpose of the study and rationale, guiding question, limitations, and definition of terms is followed by Chapter 2, which features a review of the literature. It first provides a background on the trajectory of our conceptions of literacy and how the conversation has broadened to include multiple literacies. It then frames visual literacy within this history and education and presents connections between technol ogy and visual literacy practices in K 12 environments. Chapter 3 presents the research design and methodology of the study, including the theoretical framework, and a description of the methods of data collection and analysis. Chapter 4 presents the resu lts from the analysis, including discussion of the
31 findings. Finally, C hapter 5 presents the conclusions and implications for future research, followed by a list of references and appendices.
32 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction This section provides an overview of the research and theory informing this study. Exploring visual literacy practices as part of teacher pedagogy involves engaging with several focal points: conceptions of literacy, literacy models, the socio cultural perspective, mul tiple literacies, out of school learning, technology and 21st century life, technology and education, visual culture, visual literacy, visual literacy and education, enhanced curricula. Literacy T hen and Now The idea of literacy, or the process of employing processes and skills to say, do, and be, has been around ever since we have record or evidence of the beginnings of our conscious existence (Chauvin, 2003; Debes, 1974). For example, as many of us learned in school, the earliest caveman demonstrated a need for literacy learning to communicate; first through body language and then pictorials (Debes, 1974). As time passed and humanity proliferated around the world, human beings began to communicate via language. As different people from different backgrounds and languages met and connected to exchange ideas, as well as learn, trade, and progress, the idea of writing and literacy spread. This seed of knowledge acquisition, of curiosity and drive pla nted 1999). Thanks to this interaction, different people created their own scripts to communicate and literacy became conceptualized as the ability to read and write in s tandard forms (Brandt, 2001; Hagood, 2000; New London Group, 1996; Seels, 1994;
33 Street, 2005) in order to interact with others and gain social, cultural, and economic capital. This later included basic mathematics. For example, people might write letters t o win the affection of a loved one, read and write inventories to effectively manage a business, or calculate math when in the process of bartering for a better price on merchandise. Literacy as the acquisition of skills, processes, and understandings to g ain social goods became a necessity in our environment which to this day provides bridges to every facet of modern life, from communication to employment. Literacy, however, is not such a narrow and easily discernible concept. To say that it is simply a p rocess involving only one set of skills and understandings is to simplify and de emphasize its depth, scope, and impact in our learning, interacting, reacting, reflecting, and otherwise engaging with our creating and thinking about ourselves and the world. Literacy is slippery, as all of our labels are (Spivak, 1997) It is in a state of constant flux; its meanings, applications, and acquisition may be different for different people in different contexts. In a study of the impact of literacy across generat ions, Brandt (2001) looked for similarities in 80 interviews she conducted with a diverse group of Americans born between the late 1890s and the early 1980s and analyzed relationships to the social structures of their times and places, especially those in which literacy learning is circumstances, people would need to acquire a certain degree of literacy to prosper, but that varied greatly across and within generations. Even an eighth grade reading level, what would not suffice for a high school diploma for this generation, allowed older
34 generations to obtain gainful employment and even some d egree of recognition. Connections to literacy historically depended on religious ideals, productivity, and good citizenship (Brandt, 2001). What mattered to a generation born in a society catering to their lives in terms of productivity, for example, neede d and acquired specific literacy that was thought of and constructed differently for those born in a generation where people may have had good citizenship or religious ideals as their main goals. This has significant implications to how literacy is approac hed in schools and how it impacts policy. Considerations of literacy across generations can impact what educators teach, how they teach it, and what they believe about literacy. The following sections offer a brief look at the history of our conceptions of literacy to glean an understanding of the complexity of literacy, current conversations, and their impact in education. Historically, literacy has been generally conceptualized as both an autonomous model and an ideological literacy model (Hagood, 2000; K utz, 1997; New London Group, 1996; Street, 2003). The current move towards a transformation of educational practices and encouraging research and conversations of what literacy in the 21st century may mean for current and future literacy initiatives contin ues to be impacted by thinking about and problematizing these concepts. The Autonomous Model of Literacy monolingual, monocultural, and rule Group, 1996, p.61). The premise was that by immersing oneself in literacy study in reading and writing individually and independently a person could learn the same things as anyone else and in the same ways. For example, a person living in extreme pov erty was thought to have the same opportunities as another living under wealthier conditions
35 via the acquisition of literacy. Literacy itself would propel both persons forward to succeed in life by learning the same things in the same way. This narrow view of a model of literacy, in which literacy is thought to automatically impact social and cognitive practices (Street, 2003). This model romanticizes and idealizes the acqu isition of literacy as a cornerstone to life success without concern for social, economic, cultural, or personal circumstances (Hagood, 2000; Street, 2005). It emphasizes homogeneity, p. 417), such as notions of relations of power: who has it, what for, and who is allowed access to it. The autonomous notion of literacy has impacted the education system of the United States, where the assumption is that if any two stu dents can read the same article by applying fundamental and basic reading skills (Davenport & Jones, 2005) for example, they will both be successful at the same test environments and continuing conversations about literac y and literacy learning, the requirements of national standardized assessments remain the norm (Tan & Guo, 2010; Street, 2008). While literacy issues have been debated for many decades by the educational community (Davenport & Jones, 2005), contemporary na tional standards are fairly new. The impetus for regulating a national literacy education policy a rose over a quarter of a century ago (Bomer, 2006) propelled by politicians such as George W. Bush who touted new literacy policy reforms. Teachers in these times of literacy education policy debate became well Part of the new educational
36 discourse was to look at what was wrong in an effort to improve peda no child behind In an effort to address these issues, policy language encouraged education systems to turn to state test scores as effective ways to measure achievement and progress. This method to measure achievement and progress bec ame standard due to several influences including lack of information. According to Davenport and Jones (2005), before the age of internet and reliable databases, tests given to students in the United States may not have been kept for long periods of time. Lack of a history of test scores from influential education systems like California made long term comparisons difficult. As a result, cursory explorations of the limited data available pointed to a straightforward and fundamental phonics approach that see med to provide a more positive impact on literacy acquisition, as opposed to whole language or other approaches (Davenport & Jones, 2005). Literacy policies began emphasizing the issue of phonics and other fundamental ways to learn the science of reading, divorced from the cultural, gendered, material, and other condit ions of communities (Bomer, 2006 approach served to emphasize the autonomous model of literacy, in which teachers are ge of policy and teach to the test, leaving them poorly prepared to address the social, cultural, economic, and other conditions of their students (Camagian, 2011). Adults in schools have been pressed to ignore the unique interests and ways of learning of their students in favor of a view where students are
37 While no policy is without flaws, there have been debates about the pros and cons of a purely standardized approach to teaching. The autonomous mode l as an independent engagement with reading and writing has been challenged as Western imposition of literacy conceptions (Hagood, 2000; New London Group, 1996; Street, 1995; Street, 2005). Part of this conversation claims a lack of knowledge of the social contexts of students and can serve to alienate many from a rounded education (Camangian, 2011). Literacy requirements have shifted to include not only the process and basics of reading, but reading to learn within ( and depend e nt on ) varying contexts (Sch leicher, 2010). Not only that, but research suggests that such literacy as we may have coveted before is no longer sufficient (Knobel, 1999). The nature of literacy, of knowledge and expertise, continues to change rapidly ( Bomer, 2006 ; Elkins & Luke, 2000 ; Knobel, 1999), and is continuously impacted by social, cultural, economic, technological and other contextual elements. This has helped steer the conversation of literacy within the educational community towards other, broader venues; towards an ideologi cal model of literacy learning and an emphasis on the multiple literacies of Ideological Literacy and the Socio Cultural Paradigm In contemporary literacy conversations there has been a call to move away from autonomous notions of literacy as an independent cognitive endeavor (Bomer, 2006 ; Camangian, 2011; Hagood, 2000; Knobel, 1999; New London Group, 1996; Street, 1995; Street, 2005; Tan & Guo, 2010). The emphasis is now towards new understandings of literacies. Many literacy scholars conti nue to widen their focus to ; Street,
38 S addresses the perspective of an ideological literacy that focuses on how people use it to establish everyday meanings and learn in specific cultural contexts (Brandt, 2001; Hicks, 2002 ; Purcell Gates, 1995; Street, 2005). This includes the knowledge of t he impact of contemporary technology (Cooper, 2000), as well as the social, economic, and contextual complexities of literacy acquisition. This approach stems from socio cultural theory which moves away from a narrow, behaviorist lens, towards one that i cultural theory has its origins from the writings of Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist. Among his studies, Vygotsky explored how children learn and the tools they use to mediate their learning. It is from his academic and research endeavors that his theories were shaped on the premise of three aspects: concept development is fundamentally genetic, relies on social learning, and is mediated by tools and signs (Smagorins ky, 2007; Vygotsky, 1978). First, genetic development suggests that literacy is not an isolated event, as it draws from the development of the species, the development of the individual, and the influence of events (Vygotsky, 1978). The second aspect, soc ial learning, stems from interaction with other people, such as parents, friends, and teachers. For example, a child can learn of the existence of an apple if the people in the environment in which she lives eat apples and share them with her. Their actions influence her actions and decisions concerning the apple. It is through interaction that the child learns that an apple is something she can safely eat.
39 The third asp suggests that people learn and are transformed through action with tools or signs such as pencils, paper, computers, and language itself. Specific events and conditions of social interaction and develop ment encourage learners to organize their behavior by creating external stimuli to use as mnemonic devices (Vygotsky, 1978) as a means of interacting with the environment (both concrete and symbolic). For instance : the child has learned Instead of waiting around for an apple to come into view, the child remembers the coveted fruit and speaks to someone the word that represents the object, thus creating and using a sign that has the characteristic of reverse action. This means that the spoken word, (sign), does not directly influence or impact the used to interact with others for varied purposes. This idea of socially embedded, contextualized, and med iated practices emphasizes the complexity of literacy in our lives. While certain cognitive enterprises may seem as if they are carried out independently, such as reading and thinking about a book, it is through the interaction with others that we explore the depth of our own thoughts and apply previously learned skills, methods, and processes to interact, nature and a process by which children grow into the intellectual lif e of those around least twice -socially and internally (Genishi & Dyson, 2009).
40 Educati on begins and continues in the home within a social environment around the dinner table as everyone talks to try to make sense of the day (Bruner, 1996).Language is an important mediator necessary for learning (Bakhtin, 1986; Genishi & Dyson, 2009). Peo ple obtain their words and expressions from other speakers in different contexts and for different purposes. Once appropriated, they then use those words to apply to their own meaning making process. Learning, then, becomes more effective and more meaningf ul when done with others (Bakhtin, 1986; Collins, 2003). In the book, Reading lives: Working class children and literacy learning (2002), genres and hybrid theoretical discourses, Hicks articulates a theory of literacy learning focused on social relationships. She argues it is not sufficient to draw solely from scientific discourses, but that socially situated literacies luing are integral to what it means to know (p.2). Specifically, she gender and race. Hicks explores how literary form conveys imaginings, resistances, dependencies, lon gings, connection, transformation, productivity and limitation (2001). In order to reach and draw from caring, socially situated literacies, meaningful dialogues need to be encouraged, initiated, continued, and problematized among both educators and studen ts. A study by Purcell Gates (1995) extends this idea of dialogue and socially situated learning. Purcell
41 ba ckgrounds, institutionalized school systems keep power away from o thers (Brandt; 2002, Hicks, 2002; Purcell Gates, 1995). The deficit mindset can then take hold of the community and many learners are treated as non beings (Rogers, 2003; Purcell Gates; 1995 active participation of literacies that are relevant to their lives ( Brandt, 2001, Hicks, 2002; Purcell Gates, 2003; Rogers, 2003). A child who stands out by voicing her opi nions or interrupting to speak about their experiences as she might do at home, for example, might be construed as exhibiting learn. Perhaps the child is negotiating her understanding -but reactions around her may lead to a missed learning opportunity. The ideological -or situated (Kutz, 1997) -model of literacy addresses such opportunities. It takes the variability of context and space into consideration within contemporary, multifaceted environments (Street, not only cultural meanings but also the power dimension of reading and writing terms of culture, context, and relations of power. In the context of education, we can think about what it is that teachers and students think of as important and necessary literacy within their environments -not just in school settings -as well as what literacy is not privileged and why. This raises questio ns for any literacy program (Street, 2005), such as What are the perceived power relations between teachers and students? What resources are being used? What literacies are being included and excluded? What directions are stakeholders headed in by taking o n one literacy or another? How do stakeholders challenge traditional notions of literacy?
42 Brandt (2001) states that literacy acquisition is driven by motivation from (p. 69). Literacy is a slipper y notion and a difficult concept to define and understand (Collins, 2003) at any given time, because it is underpinned by ideologies from society and culture. It means different things to different people depending on the context in which they trade, acqui re, and exponential growth in technological innovation and global connections has helped expand already slippery conversations of literacy (New London Group, 1996). Multil iteracies and Out of School Learning Local diversity and valued literacies play important roles in literacy learning and negotiating (New London Group, 1996). According to Street (1995), it is within culturally and contextually relevant and the social and cultural conceptu alizations that give meaning to the uses of reading not just how or how well learners read, write, and calculate mathematics. The New London Group (1996) (NLG) has enhanced traditional and situated notions of literacy within our constantly changing environment with the term that can encourage agency for student learning (Cummi ng Potvin, 2007). The NLG consider the multitude of literacies learners can acquire a nd engage with in their
43 communities and on a larger, digitally connected scale. Lankshear and Knobel (2006) suggest an attempt to understand how old and new technologies, compounded with in and out of school literacies, are related and how they may impact practices. Multiliteracies comprise the traditional, the new, and the ongoing. They include skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening and t hey are compounded with the fluid, shifting, dynamic, transforming, and culturally and linguistically dive rse connections between print, visual, audio, and multimodal texts (Duncum, 2004; Hagood, 2000). A pedagogy of multiliteracies encompasses a multiplicity of representational modes broader than language alone, which are dependent on culture and context (Cop e & Kalantzis, 2000; New London Group, 1996). This means that, while learning how to read, write, and use language within school contexts (Kutz, 1997), many learners continue to be engaged with literacy practices outside of school (Genishi & Dyson, 2009) w ithin their local communities and within other culturally and linguistically diverse environments, in some cases made accessible by contemporary technology. Schools must make efforts to recognize and make a connection between home and school literacies f or all children (Genishi & Dyson, 2009; Hull & Schultz, 2001; Kinloch, 2009; Rogers, 2003). Integrating such diversity into the school curriculum will not only enrich it, but enable all children to be well versed in the language of power while simultaneous ly practicing and building on their home literacies. A pedagogy of multiliteracies serves to emphasize the increasing importance of learning about out of school literacy practices and how they can impact current pedagogy. Out of school experiences can prov ide insight and inform literacy scholarship and practice (Genishi &
44 Dyson, 2009; Kinloch, 2009), as they suggest learning potentials that may not be reflected in traditional school based assessments (Hull & Schultz, 2001; Street, 2005). In literacy resea rch there has been documentation and analysis of diverse activities that take place outside of school in such contexts, which may contrast with school performance (Collins, 2003; Hull & Schultz, 2001; Moje, 2000). Some scholars are concerned that there is a disconnect between the learning that takes place in educational settings and the learning that happens outside of school (Gee, 2006; Gerber, 2009; Hull & Schultz, 2001; Kukulska Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Street, 2005). The disconnect can include: difference s in teacher and student attitudes and beliefs of what a student is supposed to be (Collins, 2003), views of minorities and their literacy practices (Purcell materials (Wilhelm & Smith, 200 5; Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). For example, in her study, Collins (2003) tells the story of an African American fifth grader named Jay and his academic struggles. While in school, Jay is an energetic young man that was excluded from class participati on and often separated from his classmates due to a perception that he did not possess the necessary skills or abilities to succeed in a school environment. Outside of school, however, he demonstrated quick thinking, curiosity for learning, was self confid ent as a good learner, and engaged in varied literacy practices. The same enthusiasm he had in his everyday literacy practices was seen more as an act of rebellion in class; an inability to sit still and learn the way to what a student is supposed to be were vastly different from those of Jay, who considered himself a successful learner.
45 In Purcell minority family who are struggling with literacy in its most basic forms of reading and writing. Within the school system in which they participate they are an invisible minority Gates, 1995, p.17). Because of the urban m cultural and economic background, they were the subject of many jokes, surrounded by deficit ridden views where they are blamed for not caring about their education. However, members of the family worried about acquiring literacy. They engaged with literacy practices that were relevant to their lives, such as reading labels from food cans, and began to take steps towards literacy. Worthy, Moorman, and Turner (1999) conducted a reading preference survey of over 400 middle school children from diverse schools. The results included a list of over 20 choices. In terms of the accessibility of books, magazines, etc., students stated that they did not get the majority of their materials from school or the classroom. This stemmed, about materials also influenced their decisions to look elsewhere. Often teachers and librarians objected to the content and/or length. Reading materials that would be suitable fo r the diversity of preferences (and for low achievers) remained unavailable. The concept of multiliteracies and the possibilities presented by these studies suggest significant implications for literacy acquisition in schools. That is not to imply that the experiences and preferences students may have outside school are more important or should take precedence over what and how knowledge is taught. Instead we can aim to further problematize thinking of literacy and literacy learning, reflectively
46 address th e complexities and opportunities afforded by out of school experiences (Genishi & Dyson, 2009; Hull & Shultz, 2001; Kutz, 1997; Street, 2003), and explore potential relationships between the formal classroom and out of school informal learning (Hull & Shul tz, 2001). Multiliteracies and Technology Instances of literacy are fragmented within local communities and within the greater, global connections that require interacting across different cultures using various dialects and languages. Many learners active ly use, construct, reconstruct and negotiate multiple literacies within local cultures that are increasingly globally connected through 21st century technology. They currently engage with various modes of meaning making and representations that include pri nt, visuals, audio, and others (Hinchman, Alverman, Boyd, Brozo & Vacca, 2003; Jukes & Dosaj, 2006). This includes watching television, surfing the Internet, digitizing print materials, and interacting with the visual display in cell phones. People can now consume, create, and critique in a environments can lead to various opportunities su ch as engaging with meaningful literacy practices, learning through social interaction, learner self monitoring (Chandler Olcott & Mahar, 2003; Davidson, 2009) and cultural and linguistic literacy enrichment (Lam, 2009). In a study by Chandler Olcott and M ahar (2003), two middle school girls participated in online communities, where they shared th e products of their lessons and learned new skills. This included working with online mentors to design and create pages, conduct research of elements to incorpora te in the sites, joining an art
47 community, sharing and critiquing artwork, and others. Within complex online environments, both girls engaged in meaningful literacy practices that were both enriching and satisfying. They learned new things, managed and mon itored their learning, and interacted with mentors and peers they may otherwise not have had access to. learning in school, but as something that should be understood as blurred in its relationship to print two children as they used technology and print sources in collaboration with their family to search for information about reptiles. Davidson recorded the searc h process and the interactions of the 2 and 6 year old along with their parents, occasionally participating in the interaction. The children never made a distinction between what they did in school and what they were doing at home, but combined what they h ad learned in school with what mattered to them (Davidson, 2009). engaged in something that ma tters to them. The study examines the development of multiliteracies in a young adolescent girl through her use of instant messaging in the practices and instant mess aging (IM) exchanges, and conducted interviews. The adolescent kept in touch with friends and family she had left behind when her family immigrated to the United States. Through networked technologies such as IM she was al relations and linguistic resources that kept her
48 p. 391). The author argues that a multiliteracies perspective is needed to emphasize the need to broaden our understand ings of literacy compounded by socio cultural and linguistic diversity of increasingly technological and globalized societies. Learning to read, write, and calculate mathematics within a social and culturally diverse environment that is now globally connec ted and transformed by technology adds to the complexity and literacy needs of our students (Chandler Olcott & Mahar, 2003; Davidson, 2009; Genishi & Dyson, 2009; Hull & Shultz, 2001). It is no longer (International Society for Technology in Education, 2007; McLuhan, 1964) and our actions determine what counts as literacy (Kitson, Fletcher, & Kearny, 2007). This suggests that we are constantly moving from, to, and between the electronic/digital, social, and the somatic. L ived experiences within these environme nts become important in literacy considerations. This suggests a need for educators to broaden the kinds of texts they bring to the establish connections between school and ho me literacies (Banks, 1992; Hagood, 2000; Hull &Schultz, 2001), considering linguistic and cultural interconnections that are enmeshed in the multimodal realities of 21st century life (Duncum, 2004; Hagood, 2000).
49 Technology and 21st Century Life Adding to the complexity of changes in how we think about literacy is the impact of ever evolving digital technologies on out of school experiences. It is difficult to ignore how technology has brought about a revolution in the acquisition of literacies as raw mate rial to work, produce, and communicate with Kress (2007) compares it to the invention of the printing press that caused global change in the ways in which we read and write. Technology continues to change and literacy follows suit (National Council of Tea chers of English, 2008). While humankind has survived the millennia by employing and applying skills and competencies to acquire social, cultural, and economic goods, there has been renewed emphasis of the acquisition of previously taught and acquired skil ls in the context of a digital age our 21st century life. In order to succeed in 21st century life, it is anticipated that students will n eed more than basic content competency to acquire higher level content knowledge (National Council of Teachers of Eng lish, 2008; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). The skills that are emphasized are couched in, anchored to, and embedded within new and emerging technologies that highlight an increasingly fast paced and connected world. Many teachers, for example, require that 21st century stu dents use technology to demonstrate creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008; National Educational Technology Standards, 2007), as well as know how to ethically use and p resent information with technology (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008; National Educational Technology Standards, 2007; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). These competencies have
50 Many jobs now depend on the acquisition and mastery of 21st century skills. While we can only make educated guesses as to what students may need for the holistic, connected, and integrated nature of 21st century skills suggest the demand for such skills will only increase. In if a person is able to read, write, and calculate math, they might not understand how to work a computer, even though computers depend and work on pri nt information and mathematics. To fully navigate operating system, different software demands, formatting conventions, and the ability to recogniz e and interpret computer semi otics By the time they are ready to dive into the Internet, however, another set of processes and skills are needed. These can lead to social knowledge construction (Wehrli, 2009), as digital technologies favor networked relationships within social, cultu ral, and linguistically diverse environments (Lam, 2009). The mindset needed to engage the digital is different to approaching traditional pen and paper production ; it include s multiple literacies and need to be learned as well. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills), along with other organizations like the National Council of Teachers of English (National Council of Teachers of English) and the International Reading Association (International Reading Association) h ave emphasized the focus on necessary skills that are couched in contemporary technolo gy. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007) has organized these skills into a fra mework of four umbrella groups: Core subjects and 21 st century themes this group i ncludes the mastery of content area subjects like Science, Math, and English.
51 Learning and innovation skills this group includes application of skills like creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration Informa tion, media, and technology skills this addresses information, media, and information and communication (ICT) literacies Life and career skills -this includes areas like adaptability and flexibility (Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, 2007). This concep t of 21st century skills has emphasized the shift to an economy based on knowledge careers, which demands competency in new and expanding skills such as technology and information literacy and global networking (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). The International Reading Association (2009) encourages education stakeholders to exploit the information and communication technologies that are of Teachers of English (2008) suggests t hat 21st century learning may be different because of technological tools and elements. They provide various elements to consider, including: st ke artists, musicians, and designers of students from National Council of Teachers of English, 2008, p.3) Technology continues to change our social and semiotic landscape, impacting the way we communicate, work, play ( Shaffer Squire, Halverso n & Gee, 2005), and think about literacy within a digital globally networked context (Elkins & Luke, 2000; Gee, 1991; Knobel, 1999). Contemporary conversations concerning the emphasis of
52 21st century skills and technology in education have called for educ ators to take into account traditional literacy models and the different elements of 21st century student work (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008). Such ongoing conversations and increasing technological innovations and use have been influencin g what and how it is taught (Leu & Kinzer, 2000), including what educational programs are given emphasis and federal funding (Davies, 2011; Evans, 2005). Technology: Policy and Teacher Preparation Educational policies have recognized the impact of technolo making technology literacy an educational priority (Davies, 2011; Earle, 2002; Evans, 2005; Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006). Technology literacy can be defined as the skills (which may include traditional and 21st century skills ) information, doing so in the shortest time, using this information to identify and solve the Kinzer, 2000, p. 114). The popular belief is that tech nology enhances learning, productivity, and performance (Davies, 2011; Evans, 2005), which is believed to be linked to success on a global scale (Department of Education, 2010b; Evans, 2005; International Society for Technology in Education, 2007). This be initiative aims to impr ove student achievement in elementary and secondary grades through the use of technology. The goals include increasing technology literacy, integrating technology in teacher training and curriculum development, and implementing research based instructional methods (Department of Education, 2010a).
53 The National Education Technology Plan seeks to apply contemporary workplace and personal technologies to the education system to improve student learning, enhance effective practices, and use data based research for improvement (Department of Education, 2010b). There is ongoing debate, however, about if and how technology integration improves learning (Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006). Conversations among educators and researchers incl ude whether technology can really serve to enhance the curriculum (Wehrli, 2009; Brandt, 2001) or if its benefits outweigh concerns (Harris, 2005; Tobin, 2000). The debate continues in light of early and limited research on whether and how teachers integra ted technology to help students increase literacy (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). Federally funded projects like the Preparing 2006) and the efforts of researchers continue to ad d to the repertoire of integration of technologies to improve teaching and learning (Jonassen, Howland, Moore & Marra, 2003; Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Unfortunately, school experiences continue to grow ever distant from what many students currently experien ce in their ever yday lives (Brandt, 2001; Hull & Schultz, 2001 ). Formal literacy acquisition in schools has traditionally focused on thinking, logic, organization of information, analysis, and sequencing as purely verbal skills (Hagood, 2000; New London Gr oup, 1996; Street, 2005), despite the fact that we are visual being s before we are verbal beings (Chauvin, 2003; Debes, 1974). John Debes (1974) television and then subseq uently, apparently, reduced by inappropriate experiences in
54 teaching and learning that do not consider how literacy engagement and acquisition has ives -especially now that there is a heavier emphasis on technology and visual communication -where print literacy alone, while just as important as ever, may not be sufficient. Arguments in favor of technology integration include taking advantage of many (Avgerinou, 2009), and the idea that technology can be used to establish experiential, interactive, and authentic learning (Oblinger, 2003). However, simplistic metaphors concerning the educational m erit of technology abound and some educators cling to literacy notions that privilege verbal and print literacy (Callow, 2008; Debes, 1969). Lev Vygotsky (1978) explored and sought to clarify such simplistic metaphors used to explain the use of tools (suc h as technology) and their role in higher 54). As a result of his studies, Vygotsky found that the use of tools is external and must lead to changes in objects, while use of signs is internal and provides a way to master oneself. The link made unclear by fuzzy metaphors is that once we learn to master nature and oneself, by altering nature we (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 56). This process of int ernalization casts the illusion that the link between tool and sign in higher psychological functions disappears as the child grows older, by seemingly
55 perfecting and developing old methods of memorizing through sign usage. Vygotsky (1978) explains that th e process is best represented by a spiral, where we keep going back to the same point, but expanding and advancing to higher levels, so that it only seems as if we skipped old methods of memorizing and remembering through sign usage. What is at first learn ed and memorized then transitions, through activity, into higher order psychological processes, which makes new experiences available in which we can make connections, internalize and further expand our fields of perception. While further arguing the meri ts and limitations of technology integration are beyond the scope of this paper and addressed elsewhere, the impact of technology in education is undeniable. As research in educational technology continues to impact policy and funding (Davies, 2011; Evans, 2005; Kozma & Anderson, 2002), and explores how digital tools have made an impact in practices, objectives, and learning (Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Beeland, 2002; McKendrick & Bowden, 1999; Messaris, 1994; Rakes, Rakes, & Smith, 1995 ), teacher education pr ograms also continue to be impacted (Gronseth et al., 2010; Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006; Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Niess, Zee & Gillow Wiles, 2010). Technology integration initiatives have flourished in teacher preparation p rograms across the United States (Gronseth et al., 2010). All educators are now pressed to continuously learn new technologies, tools, skills and techniques as they quickly become obsolete and make way for new ones (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Within these ra pidly changing and shifting digital spheres, teachers are expected to use technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation
56 design and develop appropriate learning experiences and assessments model digital work and learning promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility engage in professional growth and leadership (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008) For current student teachers, policy language, current research, and teacher prepa ration programs increasingly emphasize the importance of technology in the curriculum, which has been inevitably tied to literacy teaching and learning (Bomer, 200 6 ; Camangian, 2011; Davenport & Jones, 2005; Gronseth et al., 2010). Part of the focus of the se programs includes technology skills such as knowing how to use software. Adherence to learning technology skills alone, however, proves inadequate for technology integration (Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006). Mims, Polly, Shepherd and Inan (2006) an alyzed thirty three Technology (PT3) projects and concluded that, in addition to basic technology skills, successful technology integration may include access to technologies flexibility to explore features and functio ns seeing technology modeled by others designing and implementing technology rich lessons obtaining personalized support throughout the learning and implementation process Technology use, application, and education do not depend solely on a set of isolated skills, but are embedded within, between, across, and around the social and the somatic. Technology integration does not happen at the level of each teacher, but socially, by seeing technology modeled by others, obtaining peer support (Mims, Polly,
57 Shephe rd, & Inan, 2006), and participating in local and global learning communities (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008). In the same way, part of with othe rs (International Society for Technology in Education, 2007) within diverse contexts. Despite educational technology research, conversations, innovations, policies, and inclusion in teacher preparation programs, there are many challenges when it comes to the realities of technology integration in schools. For example many teachers feel that they are insufficiently prepared to use technology in their classrooms and that even when they do include it, they do not believe it is well integrated (Cradler, Freem an, Cradler, & McNabb, 2002). In addition in the contemporary educational sphere, where peril of limiting literacy to a set of de 5, p. 2). For example, there have been tendencies to adopt the latest technology trends in order to align curriculum with the push to implement new technologies in schools (Buckingham, 2003). In some cases, technology is seen simply as a tool to acquire wo rd processing and ideologies within which they operate risks a simplification of literacy that an autonomous model posits. The emphasis on de contextualized skills de e mphasizes the holistic development of all abilities (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). It becomes necessary, then, to expand our fields of perception and consider current trends, social structures, and ideologies that could increase our understandings of literacy in a technology saturated globally networked life. Using technology is more
58 than the use of tools as a means to an end ; they are constitutive aspects of our social and cultural landscape (Evans, 2005). This research specifically focuses on one area for c onsideration: the impact in literacy education of an increasingly visual culture in light of technological innovations. Visual Culture We live in a highly visual culture in which advances in technology have greatly ent (Albright & Walsh, 2003; Avgerinou, 2009; Callow, 2005; Duncum, 2010, Noble, 2004; Wilson, 2003). Students now prefer obtaining information quickly (Albright & Walsh, 2003), processing images, sound and video, multitasking, seeking hyperlinked informat ion, and interacting with many They also prefer learning to be immediately relevant and useful (Jukes & Dosaj, 2006). Increased use of technology has emphasized the expectation of literacy learning where there is more ability to work freely with informati on and imagery (Avgerinou, 2001; Callow, 2005; Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Noble, 2004). A simple example is how it is now commonplace to expect students and teachers to incorporate technology into their presentations, such as electronic slides or other prese ntation software. D igital image capture is now part of a variety of mobile devices. A phone can be used to capture i mages which can then be uploaded, stored and shared in social netw orking spaces or turned into a digital scrapbook. Phones and other devic es can also include global positioning system software that includes visuals such as maps and icons. T ablet appl ications rely heavily on images to access content and programs. In addition, m any search engines now include images in the r esults list. Q uick r esponse (QR) codes are more prevalent in advertisement and allow people to download image rich information to a n equipped mobile device, which may include video cli ps and static
59 images These and many other image rich technologies continue to appear and th rive In education, educators are using online freeware to create, post and share image rich lessons S tudents can create interactive and multimodal presentations and interactive whiteboards are used to present and manipulate visuals and information S ome scholars are now publishing online and including images and video clips of their data; simulators are used to recreate real world situations; and much more. Millennial generation (Gee, 2003), are growing up in a much mor e visual world than previous generations because of television, computers and the internet (Sullivan, 2002). They are very comfortable with visual materials such as graphic novels (Schwarz, 2002), for example. One study of the reading preferences of forty nine who place emphasis and value on multimodal learning in light of literacy opportunities afforded by technolog y (Buckingham, 2003; Jewitt, 2008; Kress, 2000 ; Wyatt Smith & learning and cultural awareness within the context of a global society. Mirzoeff understood visually, just as the nineteenth century was classically represented in the ighlighted the importance of text, but also looks at This may include visuals such as graffiti (Moje, 2000) picture books, television, film (Callow, 2005), and the Internet (Callow, 2005; Lankshear, 199 7; Malloy & Gambrell, 2006). This is not to imply that
60 (Duncum, 2004, p. 252), as they may include other communicative modes such as sound and text. However, images do aff that is missing from text alone (Callow, 2005; Duncum, 2004; Fleckenstein, 2003; Mirzoeff, 1998 ). Duncum (2010) offers seven principles as a starting point to think about and examine various forms of imagery, w hich can be helpful in understanding the ideology, representation, seduction, gaze, intertextuality, and multimodality. es not only cultural meanings way, considerations of power are central to conversations of images (Duncum, 2010). Images are compounded with different cultural, political, social, and economic agendas construct us into a multitude of possible subject positi ons (Albright & Walsh, 2003). In terms of ideology, images are sites of ideological tensions and struggle, where certain discourses are privileged as others are put down (Callow, 2005; Duncum, 2010; Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996; Sturken & Cartwright, 2001). W e are surrounded with images that offer ideologies that speak to our assumptions and feelings, while reveal ing who we were, who we are, and who we want to be, even as other images reject them (Duncum, 2010). They are produced within contextually bound dyna mics of social agendas (Duncum, 2010; Sturken & Cartwright, 2001). They invite questions and answers of who has power good versus evil, and our place in the world.
61 Representation has to do with how ideologies are presented visually. Not only do images inv ite us to question what is there, but what is not there (Buckingham, 2003; Duncum, 2010). Which people, economic hierarchy, race, sex, and others are given emphasis? Representation emphasizes the importance of frames, body language, objects and other eleme nts that are used to create a visual (Duncum, 2010). By thinking of images in terms of representation we can problematize and invite deeper understandings of the relationship of power in social landscapes. Images also invite the viewer to an experience tha t is not immediately accessed through text: seduction. Images are seductive in that they appeal to our senses, appealing to our affective dimension even as we consider image composition and critique our understanding of them (Callow, 2005; Duncum, 2010). I mages can offer arguments on different views of the world and individual ideologies drawing a range of emotions from mild interest to visceral reactions to the grotesque (Duncum, 2010). Closely related to seduction is the gaze. The gaze refers to how we look at specific elements we could look for and our thoughts may center on the diffe rent elements employed for movie making at that time. Watching the latest action movie at the theater or in the comfort of our homes we employ a different gaze, focused on other elements and for different purposes that could include aesthetic pleasure. How people use gaze can produce silent discourses that can affect literacy (Jewitt, 2008). For example, we look differently depending upon our gender (Duncum, 2010). This could
62 affect how we think of education -who can acquire it, for what purposes, and in wh at ways. Images are also influenced by countless other cultural texts (Duncum, 2010; Wilson, 2003). Cultural sites such as the Internet emphasize the idea of intertextuality through hypertext (Duncum, 2010), where users are encouraged to explore and clic k to other places at any time. Wilson (2003) suggests that we pay attention to contemporary and problematize contemporary society, and they raise issues pertaining to our values associations to all kinds of text (Duncum, 2010). Finally, visuals are multimodal. A majority of visuals include sound, gestures, text, labels and others (Duncum, 2010; J ewitt, 2008; Wyatt Smith & Kimber, 2009). Each mode contributes a part of meaning (Jewitt, 2008), each anchoring such meaning in different ways (Duncum, 2010). Duncum (2010) provides an example of an image of children playing instruments, set to happy musi c. He then changed the music to something dark that was perceived as threatening. The meaning changed to the possibility of something bad about to happen to the children in the picture. Such anchoring within multimodal sites emphasizes the complexities of a visual culture mediated by technologies that facilitate and encourage the audience not just to consume visuals, but to manipulate and create them. The power of visuals has been part our literate history since the time of cavemen (Chauvin, 2003; Debes, 1 974). Our engagements with such visuals then and now contribute to our literate lives and hold possibilities and implications for the educational
63 landscape, especially in light of developed, developing, emerging, and future technologies. Visuals and Litera cy Acquisition: Then Over many years our species communicated through body language and cave nce of sequential and visual images used to communicate and/or produce aesthetic response exists throughout our history in examples such as in a P re C olumbian picture manuscript discovered around 1519; in Egyptian paintings; and in 18th century paintings ( McCloud, 1993). There is also evidence of multimodal texts that combined image and text, such as medieval illuminated manuscripts (Wyatt Smith & Kimber, 2009). In education, image literacies necessary to engage with such visuals have historically played in fluential roles (Wyatt Smith & Kimber, 2009). For a medieval child who was afforded the opportunity of education, for example, the world was like an illustrated book, full of signs and symbols that needed interpreting (Lehrer, 2009). When writing notes alo ng the margins of their texts, even the words medieval illuminators wrote would often take a shape, such as a cross (Lehrer, 2009), which serv ed as another layer of meaning. Image and word were the same; the image of a crucified Christ was a book itself, where the marks on the body were letters of instruction (Lehrer, 2009). In many cases, becoming socially successful, gaining economic security and moral improvement depended on successful understanding of the word and image (Lehrer, 2009). Somewhere along this history, however, the importance of integrating
64 visual representation to communicate, think, and learn seems to have lessened in comparison with textual learning. In the United States, specifically, formal literacy acquisition in schools has traditio nally focused essentially on reading, writing, and mathematics (Brandt, 2001; Debes, 1974; Hagood, 2000; New London Group, 1996; Seels, 1994; Street, 2005). Within these contexts, in the U.S. we have regarded thinking, logic, organization of information, analysis, and sequencing as purely verbal skills despite how we are visual beings before becoming verbal beings (Chauvin, 2003; Debes, 1974). Through -agents who set the terms for literacy schools -2001, p.171). Active participation with literacy sponsors increased literacy learning that Hicks, 2002 ; Purcell Gates, 1995; Rogers 2003). There has been a call to move beyond the limitations of this narrow view of literacy to some thing broader in order to recognize other factors that are impacting literacy acquisition, one of these being the increasing importance and impact of visuals in our various landscapes, including the digital (Albright & Walsh, 2003; Avgerinou, 2001; Callow, 2005; Fleckenstein, 2003; Kress, 2000 ; Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996; Mirzoeff 1998 ; New London Group, 1996; Schwarz, 2002; Sosa, 2009 ; Sturken & Cartwright, 2001; Wilhelm & Smith, 2005). Participants in a 21st century digital life are continually bombarded with visuals that they must negotiate, explore, reject, or
65 technology and are culturally, ideologically, and contextually bound (Duncum, 2004, 2010; Kress & van Leeuwen, 19 96; Mirzoeff 1998; Sturken and Cartwright, 2001). We need to carefully consider the contextually anchored literacy demands placed on our students when they participate with and in their technology enhanced communities. This includes careful reflection of how in and out of school interaction with visuals presents Forming part of a visual culture includes the processes of visual thinking, learning, and communication, which have be Visual Literacy: Now The next point in the trajectory of literacy acquisition emphasizes the idea of constant change (Brandt, 2001) afforded by technological advances (Adams & Hamm, 2001) that emphasize visuals. While several s cholars have pointed out a multitude of literacies necessary to thrive in 21st century life (Avgerinou, 2009; Gee, 2007; Kress, 2000 2007; New London Group, 1996), visual literacy has been identified as an essential literacy with the development of techno logy (Altisen, 2002; Avgerinou, 2001, Braden & Hortin, 1982; Chauvin, 2003; Debes, 1974; Mayall & Robinson, 2009; Moore & Dwyer, 1994; Sosa, 2009) that is essential for the creativity and problem solving (Seels, 1994) needed for 21st century life (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008; National Educational Technology Standards, 2007; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). Thanks to a period of technological firsts, such as the advent of television and the Internet, we are now in what Avg erinou or a bath of images.
66 As a concept, visual literacy was impacted by the growth of technological advances (Mayall & Robinson, 2009) of the 19 60s (Debes, 1974) and concerns over possible detrimental impact of such adv ances on children (Avgerinou, 2001), which developments having to do with visual literacy during this period of technological firsts. The International Visual Literacy Assoc iation was born, where people from diverse backgrounds gathered to discuss theories a nd applications of visuals (International Visual Literacy Association 2011). The University of Rochester established The Center for Visual Literacy (Pett, 1988). Another development was the creation of the newsletter Visuals are a Language, developed by John Debes and his associates at the Eastman Kodak company (Pett, 1988). attributed to John Debes. His definition of the term is one of the most quoted and used even today ( International Visual Literacy Association, 2011). Debes (1969 ) defined visual literacy as a group of vision competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same t ime having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development of these competencies is fundamental to normal human learning. When developed, they enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols, natural or man made, that he encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is able to communicate with others. Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks o f vi sual communication (p. 27). However, visual literacy finds its home in many disciplines, such as anthropology, social sciences, art, psychology, architecture and others. Because of this brew of rich and diverse viewpoints, though there have been advances in visual literacy concepts
67 from what was first proposed by Debes (1969) many scholars have focused on improving, transforming, and establishing the definition of visual literacy (Braden & Hortin, 1982; Brill, Kim, & Branch, 2007; Clark Baca, 1990; Kress 2007; Moore & Dwyer, 1994; Sucy, 1985). While there is still debate as to what consensus can be reached about the definition and competencies of visual literacy, there have been several scholars (Avgerinou, 200 1 ; Brill, Kim, & Branch, 2007; Clark Baca, 1 990; Messaris, 1994; Moriarty, 1997; Seels, 1994) who have worked towards establishing commonalities of visual literacy across the disciplines. Understandings of visual literacy, however, depend on the discipline and context. In light of ongoing contention as to the definition of visual literacy (Braden & Hortin, 1982; Kress, 2007; Sucy, 1985; Clark Baca, 1990; Brill, Kim, & Branch, 2007) due to its roots in so many areas, for the purposes of this research I adapted a definition from several scholars (Avger inou, 2007; Braden & Hortin, 1982; Debes, 1969; Seels, 1994; Sheibe, 2004). In this study, visual literacy refers to a series of visual competencies integrated with other ways of meaning making which a person uses to think, learn, communicate with others ( Seels, 1994), and interpret visual information, actions, objects, and symbols (Debes, 1969; Braden & Hortin, 1982). The viewer is being able to judge the credibility and appreciating the techniques used to persuade and convey emotion (Scheibe, 2004). Visual literacy is not limited to a set of compet encies and skills, however. It is a social practice (Street, 2003) in which visuals are consumed, used, problematized, and
68 otherwise transformed as people establish everyday meanings in specific cultural contexts. Visuals can include two dimensional images such as photographs, three dimensional images such as statues, graphic representations of information such as Venn diagrams, sequential images such as videos, and others. This definition is meant to help situate, describe, and shed light on understanding visual literacy for this paper (keeping in mind that definitions are slippery and fluid). Negotiating several understandings helped to develop a framework for this study explored later in this chapter. Visual Literacy and 21st Century Classrooms Schools h ave traditionally emphasized print and textual literacy (New London Group, 1996; Street, 2003). Many educators may still be fixated on traditional, text based ways of teaching the curriculum focusing on words and texts as ways to acquire knowledge, largely obviating multimodal texts, communication media (Albright & Walsh, as visuals (Moje, 2000), and the Internet (Lankshear, 1997; Mal lo y & Gambrell, 2006), despite the mu ltiplicity that now exists with 21st century technologies. To name a few, people now have access to mobile devices that rely on visual information for quick navigation of applications, web pages, and other programs A dvertisements are continually placed in high trafficked areas in different ways, such as scrolling or electronic billboards and encourage interaction and information exchange. Many students are engaged in practicing, fluidly navigating, and blurring the boundaries of school literacies and visual out of school literacies. They are constantly watching movies, advertisements and commercials, blogging, posting on social
69 networks sh aring, watching and creating videos, and much more. For yea rs, many scholars have recognized the power of visuals to improve learning ( Considine, 1986; Pressley Pigott, & Bryant 1982; Segovia Aguilar, 2010), increase student attention (Considine, 1986; Zambo & Brozo, 2008; Gaylean, 1983), make sense of the world (Serafini, 2010), and accept themselves and others (Gaylean, 1983). s to visual text by children ages 4 11. They found that engagement with the images in the book fostered employment of high level cognitive skills. They found links between seeing and thinking, especially in cases where the children did not have a developed vocabulary. Replacing verbal exchange and writing with drawings, the children demonstrated knowledge they were not y et able to articulate. In another study Hassett and Curwood (2009) reported on research that images) within the strict structure of a standardized educational system. The study was engagement with interactive and visual texts. They found that when a teacher provides open ended activities in response to these texts, reading becomes a socio cognitive process that involves the use of tools such as images as part of conceptual thinking. They suggest that students could acquire the necessary concepts to interpret and produce complex relationships between text, image, and design if their teachers operate d in a multiliteracies pedagogy. Teachers operating within a pedagogy of multiliteracies can guide and support students in navigating multimodal resources.
70 Students that engage in multimodal and socio cognitive spaces become critically oriented to constantly evolving text forms. 21), which exist within all cultures. They explain that ideologies are produced through and projected onto images. This suggests that social categories are not natural, but constructed, and can take visual form (Rose, 2001). Within curriculum development there is ongoing concern to help students understand and adequately represent the realities of the social condition (Gay, 2004). Incorporating the use of visuals in the classroom and fostering visual literacy could become a vehicle to study, represent, and tion, which is a prerequisite for learning (Zambo & Brozo, 2008). Teachers, Technology, and Visual Literacy Various scholars (Braden & Hortin, 1982; Mayall & Robinson, 2009, Moore & Dwyer, 1994) emphasize the need for the development, application, and asse ssment of visual literacy in K 12 curricula. Despite research that speaks to the benefits of visual literacy (Chandler Olcott & Mahar, 2003; Hasett & Curwood, 2009; Styles & Arzipe, 2001; Wilhelm & Smith, 2005), little progress has been made in classrooms in the U.S. to explicitly include visual literacy with traditional verbal and print based literacy -despite an apparent adoption of technology and media in the curriculum (Debes, 1974; Sosa, 2009). y the major contemporary means of cultural expression and communication: to become an active
71 Becoming an active participant within networked, image rich environments, however, can be a very difficult task for many educators who have had an education very different environment from school. The current educational push for standardized assessments may also be influential. There seems to be a stark contrast and ongoing struggle between current, standardized curricula that remains the norm ( Street, 2008; Tan & Guo, 2010;) and the call for programs such as technology integration. On the on e hand, educators may find themselves teaching to the test, while on the other they may dedicate, to a lesser extent, time to integrating technology, which touts learning through collaboration and includes the design of visual materials (Mims, Polly, Sheph erd & Inan, 2006). A curriculum that includes instructional strategies, methods, and resources to integrate technology, visual literacy tools and techniques implies teachers should have, at minimum : knowledge of technology literacy standards (Internation al Society for Technology in Education, 2008; Mayall & Robinson, 2009). k nowledge of design (Mims, Polly, Shepherd & Inan, 2006) and visual literacy standards (in places where there are no such standards, or they are integrated with other standards, then t hey should have knowledge of how visuals can influence student thinking, learning, and communicating) (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). p rofessional development opportunities to engage with technology and visual literacy tools (International Society for Technolog y in Education, 2008; National Council of Teachers of English, 2008; National Educational Technology Standards, 2007). Unfortunately, in many cases, some or all of these are missing. Mayall and Robinson (2009) surveyed teachers in Illinois regarding visual literacy resources and tools. The results indicate that while over 80% of teachers were aware of technology
72 standards, fewer than 40% were aware of standards related to visual literacy. Despite having the technology and the knowledge to use them, teachers aware of the visual literacy standards stated they felt they did not have the time or the resources to incorporate them. In addition, even though teachers were willing to actively integrate technology, visual literacy was not perceived as an important par t of technology integration, even though there is information that supports and encourages such a connection (Altisen, 2002; Avgerinou, 2009; Chauvin, 2003; Sosa, 2009). In many cases visual literacy continues to be an important, but missing piece, in most technology integration courses (Avgerinou, 2009; Sosa, 2009). Part of the unease and hesitance to delve into visual literacy practices in technology enhanced curriculum lies in teacher concern about first gaining competence and feeling comfortable with te chnology use and integration (Cradler, Freeman, Cradler & McNabb, 2002). While a growing number of educators are interested in integrating technology in the curriculum, surveys show that they feel they need more opportunities to engage with technology (Cra dler, Freeman, Cradler & McNabb, 2002). According to information from twenty six studies, surveys, and reports conducted in 2002 by the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) related to professional development in educational technol ogy : only 20% of teachers consider themselves well prepared to use technology in their classes. technology continues to be included in classrooms as an education resource. at least 84% of teachers believe technology improves the quality of education but tw o thirds of them do not believe it is well integrated (Cradler, Freeman, Cradler & McNabb, 2002)
73 It is pertinent, therefore, to explore how teachers who consciously use visuals and are experienced with technology enhanced curriculum use these visuals in th eir pedagogy. Does increasing technology integration in the curriculum point to an increasing, albeit possibly intuitive, rise in the importance and various uses of visuals in promote reflection of visual literacy integration, and provide examples of instructional strategies, methods, and resources used to integrate visual literacy tools and techniques. Visual Literacy: Putting the Concept to Work A better understanding of what visual literacy can look like is necessary to explore how visual literacy is connected to education within situated contexts. It becomes necessary to operationalize this definition to put it to work within the particular resea (2007) work on operationalizing visual literacy. Seels (1994) describe d visual literacy in terms of visual thinking, learning, and communicating, where visual thinking includes v isualization, metaphorical thoughts, and right brain/left brain mental modes. visual learning includes design, research, and reading. visual communicating includes aesthetics such as art and other media. Adding to this idea, this study draws from Avgerino (Avgerinou, 2003, p.36). These abilities include: K NOWLEDGE OF V ISUAL V OCABULARY K no wledge of the basic components of visual language ( e.g. point, line, shape, form, space, texture, light, color, motion).
74 K NOWLEDGE OF V ISUAL C ONVENTIONS K nowledge of visual signs and symbols, and their socially agreed meanings (w ithin the western culture). V ISUAL T HINKING The ability to turn information of all types into pictures, graphics, or forms that help communicate the information. V ISUALIZATION T he process by which a visual image is formed. (V ERBO )V ISUAL R EASONING Coher ent and logical thinking that is carried out primarily by means of images. C RITICAL V IEWING Applying critical thinking skills to visuals. V ISUAL D ISCRIMINATION The ability to perceive differences between two or more visual stimuli. V ISUAL R ECONSTRUCTION The ability to reconstruct a partially occluded visual message in its original form. (S ENSITIVITY TO ) V ISUAL A SSOCIATION The ability to link visual images that display a unifying theme. Also: (S ENSITIVITY TO ) V ERBO V ISUAL A SSOCIATION The ability to link verbal messages and their visual representations (and vice versa) to enhance meaning. R ECONSTRUCTING M EANING The ability to visualize and verbally (or visually) reconstruct the meaning of a visual message solely on the evidence of given information which is incomplete. C ONSTRUCTING M EANING The ability to construct meaning for a given visual message on the evidence of any given visual (and perhaps verbal) information. As no learning happens independently, even when it goes on in our minds (Bruner, 1996), cultural theory in which people learn through a social process. Visual literacy as visual thinking, learning, and communicating suggests a constant process of external (social) and internal (in the head) n egotiation (Genishi & Dyson, 2009). Visuals can mediate our learning, are socially embedded, and include principles such as power, ideology, representation, seduction, gaze, intertextuality, and multimodality (Duncum, 2010). They are complex sites of liter acy learning compounded with ongoing technological innovation.
75 Using these ideas to put the concept of visual literacy to work, I created a working model of socio cultural visual literacy to draw from to approach this research ( Figure 2 1). For example, a lesson that incorporates visual literacy practices can encourage collaboration (socio cultural practice), describe the basic components of a visual (visual learning), and include other modes such as audio. One possible example is a lesson where learners ha ve to create a story using a program that helps the user create comic strips. Learners can come together to discuss character and setting designs, particular conventions such as sweat drops to indicate character discomfort, and elements of plot, and other considerations. In addition, learners can include sound effects, music, or other audio to enhance the story. Once the product is finished they could share their work, and explain how their choices impacted the story. As a concept, visual literacy includes the juxtaposition of visuals, audio, and other modes of communicating, learning, and thinking that are culturally situated (Avgerinou, 2003, 2007; Seels, 1994). Summary This chapter explored literacy from a historical perspective and emphasized the connect ions between literacy, technology, and visual literacy in terms of the social and the somatic. As a result, it should be apparent that defining or pinning down any of these concepts is not an easy or exact task. The rich background from a diversity of pers pectives accommodates many possibilities from which this study draws. The combination of ideas to create a working model for this research makes it possible to think about the visuals teachers use within a technology enhanced curriculum. It allows me to as k questions about what visuals are privileged and why, how they are used, and to what purpose.
76 Figure 2 1 Model of sociocultural visual literacy. [ Adapted from Seel s B 199 4. Visual Literacy: The definition problem. (Page 105, F igure 1 ). In Moore and Dwyer (Eds.), Visual literacy: A spectrum of visual learning (97 112) Educational Technology Publications, NJ .] [Adapted from Avgerinou, MD 2007. Towards a visual literacy index (Page 31 ). Journal of Visual Literacy, 27 (1), 29 46 .]
77 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction As mentioned previously, technology integration in education programs (Gronseth et al., 2010) and K 12 classrooms is an educational priority (Davies, 2011; Earle, 2002; Evans, 2005; Mims, Polly, Shep herd & Inan, 2006). Part of engaging with technology includes being immersed in visuals that abound in contemporary environments which requires visual literacy skills. It is important to recognize that visuals present integral and powerful ways to improve learning and make connection s with ourselves and the world (Considine, 1986; Gaylean, 1983; Pressley, Pigott, & Bryant, 1982; Segovia Aguilar, 2010; Serafini, 2010). However, visual literacy is often a missing component when learning about, engaging with, and using technologies in and for education -student teachers are taught little, if any of its methods, strategies, and principles (Avgerinou, 2009; Sosa, 2009). M uch focus in the research has been given to the design of vis ual materials for the classroo m because i t has been assumed that teachers and students have an inherent understanding of visuals for teaching and learning (Omar, 2000; Portewig, 2004). Focusing only on the design of visuals for instruction ignores the question of how teachers are ma kin g design choices and why. Thus w e might inadvertently ignore the influence and impact of visuals on both teaching and learning in classrooms There are many questions that can be explored. For example, what are teachers doing with visuals and technology? W hat are they trying to accomplish? How are they trying to accomplish it? What strategies are they using ? How do teachers talk about and
78 understand the use of visuals in technology enhanced education? What assumptions are teachers making about the use of vi suals and technology in the classroom ? This study addresses an area of interest shared by stakeholders who explore connections between technology integration and literacy learning ( Bomer, 2006 ; Camangian, 2011; Davenport & Jones, 2005; Gronseth et al., 2 010). One of the instructional strategies, methods, and resources currently used to integrate visuals in technology enhanced instruction have not been prevalent (May all & Robinson, 2009). With current technology educational initiatives influencing what and how it is taught (Leu & Kinzer, 2000), it is necessary to learn what teachers are doing with visuals in technology enhanced environments, as they are expected to de sign learning experiences (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008; Mims, Polly, Shepherd & Inan, 2006), consider how images may amplify text (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008), how students can become artists and designers (Na tional Council of Teachers of English, 2008), and know how visuals can influence thinking, learning and communicating (Mayall & Robinson, 2009). The central guiding question for this study was: How do fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as t echnology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teacher directed technology enhanced, literacy instruction? To help direct and guide my thinking, I asked two additional questions: What are teachers doing with visuals and technology in the c lassroom? What are teachers trying to accomplish when they use different strategies, methods, and/or resources?
79 I believe that situating this study within a technology rich context helps capture the nature of changing and transforming 21st century classro om environments, highlights the increasing importance of visuals, and presents several implications for future research. Knowing what happens with visuals in technology enhanced classrooms can help inform current and future visual literacy research, educat ional policies, and begin to inform questions about the implicit and/or explicit nature of visual literacy pedagogy currently extant in education. This chapter provides the methodology and methods used to complete this study. It includes the research appro ach, subjectivity statement, and the research design, which provides information concerning collaborators, building rapport, context, data collection, data analysis, limitations, trustworthiness, and validity Research Approach To direct their research met hodologies, qualitative researchers think about what counts as knowledge and where it can be found. They ask w hat it mean s to know and how we can glean knowledge (Creswell & Miller, 1997) Knowledge creation and acquisition, along with human interaction, a re increasingly diverse and dynamic, currently situated not just in physical social contexts, but within globally connected virtual/digital spaces. For example, at any given time a person in the United States might log on to the Internet from their persona someone in Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and other places using available networking software. This may happen synchronously (in real time), or asynchronously (where the message is waiting for recipie nts to log on). A part of w hat each individual brings to the conversation includes what they know, their social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and complexities of their situated
80 lives. Part of the complexities of human experiences involves being a ware of self and the context in which one lives and works (Andrews, 2009). This means that, for qualitative researcher s, knowledge is seen as something that takes place within the individual (Hatch, 2002). Individual backgrounds and experiences impact, af fect, and add to understandings and the analysis of research. This study is informed by a constructivist paradigm that approaches literacy as a socio cultural practice, where all learning take s place within a social context (Brandt, 2001; Hicks, 2002 ; Pur cell Gates, 1995; Street, 2005). Constructivism was used in this study to help the researcher examine, interpret, and understand teachers uses and beliefs of the impact of visuals in literacy instruction within technology enhanced curriculum. This meant t hat it was important and relevant to gather contextually situated conduct interviews to investigate and understand their realities. The ontological nature of constr uctivism asserts that a single reality does not knowledge construction happen? Within a constructivist perspective all of us construct, question, inquire, affirm, take a stance, identify and transform our understandings of our 2006). Meaning making experience. Knowledge is not and does not need to (Crotty, 1998; Glasersfeld, 1989)
81 In constructivism, mean ings are con ceptual structures born through engaging with the world (Crotty, 1998; Glasersfeld, 1989). Humans are predisposed to a social nature in which they develop, learn, and grow through interactions with others that can (Bruner, 1996; Vygotsky, 1978). Within this context, knowledge is created by individuals, as they are meaning making vehicles. Knowledge can be mediated by several factors including culture, context, social interaction, and language (Bakhtin, 1986; Johnson 1990 ; Street, 2003). Applying constructivism to this research (and in education research in general) has certain implications that influence this study (adapted from Glasersfeld, 1989): and emphasizing a repet series of facts, but making connections to, between, and among facts skills, methods, and the multiplicity in our lives. Training is limited to regurgitating facts a nd repeating behaviors without that emphasis on connection and understanding. world. There is a realization that language is not used to transfer knowledge, but it can be used making. A teacher can encourage, for example, synthesis; making connections among data and reaching conclusions. In this research, these implications also apply to visuals. Visuals are believed to be used to generate understanding, emphasize how people make sense of their always constructed, and visualization is an accomplishment involving perspective and directional gaze,
82 experiential reality (G lasersfeld, 1989). Knowledge, truth, and reality are constructed by the researcher and the collaborators of this study. In addition, constructivism influenced several key aspects of the research design and methodological decision making of this study. Firs t, were the most important, which meant that I needed to maintain a constant focus on their perspectives to illuminate their truths. A s the researcher, I was a meaning making vehicle (Glasersfeld, 19 89) I synthesize d analyze d, mad e connections, discuss ed and reach ed conclusions which were influenced, mediated, and enriched by my background, interactive experiences with the collaborators of the study, and the situated context of the research. Keeping in mind that, with in a cons tructivist paradigm there is the a role in knowledge interpretation and creation, I needed to design the study in a way that provided diverse and rich visuals in a technology enhanced environment. Second, knowledge is fluid, living, shifting, and constantly taking shape and transforming within the complexities of the context in which it takes place and is created (Hatch, 200 2). This means that I needed opportunities to experience the collaborators enhanced classrooms would help me explore and navigate several knowledge mediators including context, s ocial interaction, and language. Finally, knowledge is something that takes place within the individual (Hatch, 2002). Simply exploring the context where visuals are used would not provide me with sufficiently rich data to answer the research questions. I needed to think about what
83 data collection methods would foster opportunities to examine how the teachers in this study individually expressed and gave shape to their realities. This would also allow me s and experience s with visuals and technology. Subjectivity Statement Qualitative researchers do not assume an objective stance, as they are encouraged to apply their own subjectivities and understandings of experiential reality/ies to make sense of the data (Glasersfeld chimera: a mythological creature that never existed, save in the imaginations of those 208). It is important, then, for researchers to state their subjectivity so that readers can form their own understandings of how this can impact every aspect of the study. The researcher, after all, is a key factor in any qualitative study (Creswell, 2009). Therefore, in the next paragraphs I provi de clarification regarding my subjectivity as it relates to this study of the use of visuals by teachers in technology enhanced classrooms. During my more than ten 12 and various other educational settings in th e United States and Puerto Rico, I consistently integrated visuals in my pedagogy. My interest in the use of visuals in education has its roots in my own childhood. As a child, my mother encouraged me to draw and make my own representations of school conte nt and then I discovered graphic novels. My notebooks suddenly filled with graphs and stick figures working their way through complex science formulas and battling math monsters. As graphic novels began to permeate my already rich reading life, I expanded my reading to other subjects and became more interested in learning about other cultures. Visuals helped broaden my thinking.
84 From then on, visuals influenced every aspect of my life and I would integrate them in classes I taught. I was happy when, in one of my first professional development courses, images and visuals were touted as an effective way to facilitate and differentiate instruction for English language learners. However, I integrated visuals in all of the subjects I taught, which included Langua ge Arts, ESOL, Spanish, French, Mathematics, Young Adult Literature, and others. More and more, technology became a conduit to facilitate this integration. However, it was not until later in my teaching career that I began reading about visual literacy and its complexities within an increasingly digital context. I am now an avid reader of visual literacy literature; of its complexities and possibilities within 21st century life. My engagement with visuals is not limited to using tools to create and teach with visuals, but they immerse imbibe my life holistically in terms of thinking, learning, and communicating. I draw diagrams and create other visual representations to help me think through problems I create websites and videos both to teach and learn a nd I reach out to others interested in visual literacy using technology such as online social networks. Since making the decision to pursue a doctorate, I have also had the opportuni ty to conduct research that has fostered additional considerations of visu als and have led me to become an advocate of visual literacy integration in schools. This is not to suggest that visuals will preclude traditional ways of teaching, but add to and enhance them. This study is heavily influenced by my experiences, beliefs, m otivations, appreciation, and engagement in visual literacy in education. I believe all students would benefit from educators who are not only aware of the visuals with which students
85 are constantly bombarded and interact with, but who apply visual literac y strategies, techniques, and tools within the curriculum. The Research Context At the beginning of the 2010 Fall semester, I had the opportunity to join a research team at the University of Florida involved in a year long technology integration initiativ e within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classrooms. participate. A range of all grade levels and subject s such as Reading and Language Arts were inc 2011 Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) funding that was part of a larger effort known as the Florida Digital Educators (FDE). The initiative was funded with Title II D funds and the projects sele cted from over twenty districts involved over 1,000 teachers and directly reached more than 70,000 students. Funded districts represented a range of diversity, with a mix of urban and rural districts and varying economic conditions. The initiative focused proficiency. My experience as a member of this team became important for my research. I wanted to find teachers who not only reported having experience s integrating technology in the class room, but who had experience s that moved beyond basic technology skills, which I found through the EETT initiative (the rationale for selecting teachers who participated in the EETT initiative is explained in depth in the next sections). In deciding which district to approach for this study, I first identified several school districts in which teachers had actively participated during the technology
86 initiative grant period (i.e., districts with high percentage of teacher participation in the online submiss ion of materials). I then narrowed the list to those districts that were more easily accessible. I needed to take into consideration travel time and costs. I then improve student achievement, and/or access to innovative technology could potentially increase my chances of obtaining collaborators who had gained experience with integrating both technology and visuals in their classes. For example, a goal where teachers would participate in designing digital and age appropriate learning experiences could point to the use of visuals. This led me to a rural district located in the southeastern United States ( Table s 3 1 and 3 2). The projects of this particular district hav e set out to transform the learning environment and culture of the schools so students can compete in a global, digital economy ( Table 3 1 ). While there were other participating districts that also implemented similar projects in schools, the district cho sen for this project included one of the highest numbers of teacher participation, ( forty one out of ninety two teachers), increasing the chances of finding tech savvy collaborators for this study. Recruiting Collaborators To recruit collaborators for this mail, respectively. Ongoing communications included confirming my identification, presenting a copy of IRB documents, requesting clearance d ocumentation, and establishing first contact with teachers who had participated in the technology initiative. It was decided that first contact with teachers would happen through an e mail created by me and sent
87 Table 3 1 District summary of participants and projects overview Number of schools Number of students Number of teachers Target grades Projects overview/goals Elementary 3 650 32 K 5 Prepare leaders to reform instruction aligned with NGSSS Empower teachers with skills to integrate technology to improve student engagement and achievement Expand access to innovative digital technologies Design and develop di gital age learning experiences Secondary 1 MS 1 HS 1,592 60 6 12 Note MS = middle school; HS = high school Table 3 2 Diversity within the district Rural (R) or Urban (U) County Po pulation Student Pop Teac her Po p. Schools FCAT Grade % Free Lunch % Living Below Poverty % Unemployment % Diversity Funding 2006 2007 2007 2008 2008 2009 2009 2010 R 29,235 3,275 242 H2 M1 E5 C2 C C 61.59 19.3 9.5 WNH 70.47 BNH 23.24 H 2.63 API 0.76 AI/AN 0.12 M 2.78 ELL 0.3 $9,761.16 $8,078.77 $8,250.80 $8,027.77 Note. H = high schools; M = middle schools; E = elementary schools; C = combination schools; WNH = white, non Hispanic; BNH = Black, non Hispanic; H = Hispanic; API = Asian/Pacifi c Islander; AI/AN = Am. Indian/Alaskan native; M = multiracial; ELL = English language learners
88 out by the technology liaison with an introduction. I was given permission to communicate with teachers who responded to the e mail. A total of eight teachers from one elementary school responded to the email. This included five fifth grade teach ers and three fourth grade teachers. While the minimum number of collaborators was met, no teacher from the secondary level expressed interest in participating, which fu rther limits this study. However, the eight collaborators from the school represented rich and diverse teaching experiences (described in a future section of this chapter) and used both technology and visuals on a weekly (if not daily) basis, which was imp ortant for this study. After the first contact via e mail, two phone call conversations took place to set up an informal meeting to discuss aspects of the study, which lasted half an hour. Over a six week period, I met with collaborators a minimum of once a week (data collection details are explained in the following sections). As all teachers who responded were from the same school, I first met them in small group settings at their school. They were asked if they use visuals and technology at least once a week for instruction. All teachers met these criteria and agreed to participate in the study. Selecting Collaborators persons involved, including myself as researcher, are consi Understandings, clarity, and new lines of inquiry were reached by exploring the knowledge and truths constructed by the collaborators, who have unique backgrounds and experiences that have helped shape their realities. Borrowing from Smago rinsky et rhizome in which authority is shared, multiple perspectives are included, each perspective is reterritorialized, and greater
89 experiences affect and ad d to our understandings and the analysis of this research. In terms of data, printed t ext and dialogue are part of what we construct in order absolute, for it is in the interactions between them -their ideologies, backgrounds, cultures, subjectivities, and experiences -that we can begin to glean meaningful knowledge. While most qualitative studies do not fit neatly into any model (Hatch, 2002), many facilitate in dept h focus on small samples (Patton, 2002). To explore various perspectives, I decided to select a minimum of six collaborators from the different school levels. For example, a minimum of six collaborator s could include two teachers from elementary, two from middle school, and two from high school. However, due to the lack of participation interest at the secondary level, I selected eight collaborator s from the elementary level. Three were fourth grade teachers and five were fifth grade teachers. Taking into c onsideration the research question and technology considerations, purposive, criterion driven sampling (Patton, 2002) was used when selecting collaborators. In other words the selected teachers reflected predetermined criterion characteristics (see the ne xt section for a detailed explanation) Sampling Criteria I wanted to find teachers who self identified as technology savvy. This meant I needed to find teachers that had experiences that moved beyond the use of basic technology skills. The reason for this is that w hile policy language and current teacher preparation programs have emphasized the connection between technology and
90 literacy teaching and learning (Bomer, 2006; Camangian, 2011; Davenport & Jones, 2005; Gronseth et al., 2010), adherence to basic technology skills alone may be inadequate for technology integration (Bauer & Kenton, 2005; Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006). For example, if a computer is used solely for word processing, the connection between technology, visuals, and literacy teachi ng and learning might be disregarded. and the skills each entails: F AMILIARIZATION : In this phase teachers are familiar with the technology, may have had professional developmen t and learned to navigate various technologies, but the experience ends at the workshop level. U TILIZATION : In this phase, teachers try out the technology in the classroom, but might be satisfied with its limited use. There would be little to no impact on teaching if there was a malfunction or if the teacher decided to stop using it. I NTEGRATION phase. At this stage, teachers consciously design their instruction to include technology in such a wa y that the lesson could not proceed as planned if the technology were to fail. For example, a lesson focusing in online research of serpent species could not continue if there w as an interruption in Internet access. It would be much like missing a book or a chalkboard. R EORIENTATION where the roles of student and teacher are fluid and exchanged; where the teachers do n ot feel the need to be the experts of the technology used. Students are encouraged to appropriate the technology in innovative and creative ways. E VOLUTION : In this last phase, the focus is on evolution and adaptability. This means the classroom is open to constant change to meet contemporary demands, challenges, and potentials provided by new technology and understandings of how people learn. It is rare to find a classroom where a teacher has moved beyond the utilization stage (Bauer & Kenton, 2005; Hoope r & Rieber, 1995 ). According to Cradler, Freeman, Cradler and McNabb (2002), hesitance to delve into visual literacy practices in
91 technology enhanced curriculum lies in teacher concern about gaining competence and feeling comfortable with technology use an d integration. As this research focused on the use of visuals for literacy instruction within technology enhanced classrooms, I neede d to find collaborators that reported experience familiarity, and comfort with more than basic technology skills within t he utilization stage that may include, but is not limited to : access to technologies flexibility to explore features and functions seeing technology modeled by others designing and implementing technology rich lessons obtaining personalized support through out the learning and implementation process (Mims, Polly, Shepherd, & Inan, 2006) Therefore, those who self identified as technology savvy meant they reported having the means, motivation, and experience using technology in the classroom to enhance teachin g on a daily or near daily basis. I needed to find teachers that depended on technology to deliver part of their instruction and who reported having had experiences that included using visuals for instruction. To increase my chances of finding teachers tha t met th ese criteria, I looked for those teachers who had experiences through the EETT initiative, which is explained in the next section. EETT Workshop The Enhancing Education Through Technology ( EETT ) initiative I was involved in focused on goals that i ncluded improving technology integration, increasing access to technological tools, and strengthening teacher and administrator information and communications technology (ICT) skills through a professional development program
92 known as the Florida Digital E ducator (FDE)Teaching and Learning Institutes ( Table 3 3 for FDE goals). Teachers from the funded projects came together for four days in a workshop environment where they learned, shared ideas, explored engaging teaching practices, and created projects us ing digital tools ( Table 3 4 for institute goals). Table 3 3 FDE goals Florida Digital Educator Goals Seamlessly integrate technology in the curriculum Facilitate systemic change to transform the learning environment Advocate through effective communica tion Share best practices Create and sustain collaborative communities Promote authentic, student centered learning Improve student achievement Create, promote, and expand access to digital content Conduct program evaluation and research activities Note: http://etc.usf.edu/fde Table 3 4 and knowledge to a ccess manage integrate evaluate construct communicate Use tool based software presentation word processing spreadsheets video editing graphics digital audio Use hardware computer mobile devices interactive whiteboards Note: A dapted from http://etc.usf.edu/fde In the district selected for this research, out of ninety two teachers in the schools participating in the EETT initiative, a total of forty one teachers fro m the five schools actively participated ( Table 3 5). While participation in the institute was limited to four
93 days of workshops, teachers were presented with opportunities to learn new things and discuss technology integration within a social context wher e they could move beyond basic technology skills. Topics covered include internet searching, safety and copyright, word processing, digital audio, electives, and an action plan for the classroom. It also included the use of visuals such as presentations, c harts and graphing, spreadsheets, digital images, video, and graphics. I felt that this movement from basic to more authentic and diverse technology integration opportunities improved my chances of finding collaborators who self identified as actively usin g technology and visuals in literacy instruction. Table 3 5 EETT active participants Projects Participating teachers Elementary 21 Secondary 20 The Collaborators and Their Classrooms A total of eight teachers from one elementary school participate d in this study. This included five fifth grade teachers and three fourth grade teachers. Due to the parameters of confidentiality for this study and to maintain anonymity, I will refer to the collaborators using pseudonyms and assigning their classroom a nu mber (Table 3 6 ) I will first briefly provide general information about teachers and their classrooms as a group and then provide a more detailed breakdown of information of each collaborator. T eaching experiences ranged from one year to over twenty five years. While some of the teachers had not taught outside of e lementary, there were teachers with experience teaching at secondary level. Their professional trajectories included a variety of grades and subjects taught. In terms of technology, all teachers stated they had used at least a computer throughout their tea ching career. Only one of the teachers
94 admitted to using very little technology at the beginning of her career, as computers started coming into schools around her fourth year of teaching. However, all teachers reported they had been using technology for i nstruction at least on a weekly basis for some years, though to varying degrees of comfort. Teachers who were at the beginning of their career expressed most discomfort but a willingness to continue learning about and implementing technology. All teachers admitted to using visuals in their instruction at least once a week, with and without technology. Table 3 6 Collaborators Teacher pseudonym Classroom number Grade taught Ms. Maria 1 5 Ms. Ladasha 2 4 Ms. Penelope 3 5 Ms. Poppy 4 4 Mr. Jesse 5 4 Mr. George 6 5 Mr. Rudy 7 5 Ms. Lana 8 5 All classrooms were equipped with document r eaders, microphones, projectors, and computers (Table 3 7 ). Some technology w as unique to a particular teacher due to budget and time constraints, such as the use of iPa ds in one of the science classrooms and the use of iPod s in one of the fourth grade classrooms Classroom environments were similar in that posters and visual materials, including student work, covered the walls. All classrooms followed an inclusion mode l. One of the classrooms was unique in that it was an advanced class. Students stayed i n the classroom with the same teacher all day long instead of moving to other classrooms for math and science that included classes like music and art.
95 Table 3 7 Technology available to collaborators Teachers Subjects taught by teachers Electronic technology available Software and technology used by one teacher 5 th grade group (5 teachers) all subjects (2 ), gifted (1), Science (1), and Math (1) Document reader; projector, microphone, computer, digital cameras iPads (Science) 4 th grade group (3 teachers) All subjects Document reader, projector, computer, iPod Ms. Maria, class 1 Ms. Maria was a fif th grade teacher with thirteen years of experience in the classroom. Most of her professional career was spent in advanced elementary classes, t eaching s cience and all sub jects to students in elementary She also taught s cience at the middle school level for close to three years of her career. When identifying as a technology savvy teacher, she expressed high interest, motivation, and use of technology. She has had h er students submit articles online, participate in a digital showcase, and use computers, video cameras, and laptops for their projects. Ms. Maria stated her class would feel different if she did not use technology at least once in the lesson. She mentione d using an overhead projector, a computer, Internet sources, videos, and presentation software as just some of what she liked to use for her lessons. As for visuals, she stated she enjoyed showing and discussing videos, as well as charts and graphs and any Ms. Ladasha class 2 Ms. Ladasha had close to twenty years of teaching experience at the elementary level. In her career she had mostly taught s cience and h istory, but in most recent years
96 she taught all subjects in the fourth grade When identifying as a technology savvy teacher, she expressed a high appreciation for the computer and document reader, which she professed she used on a daily basis. Ms. Ladasha also stated she liked trying new technology and found it helped her more effectively connect with the students, as technology is something that motivated them. In terms of visuals, she stated she liked to use charts and graphs, videos, pictures, guided notes, and Internet sources. Ms. Penelope class 3 Ms. Penelope w as a first year teacher who taught reading language arts and social studies in the fifth grade When identifying as a technology savvy teacher, she mentioned she liked to use a lot of technology for teaching. Such technology includes a computer, a docume nt camera, projector screens, iPads and presentation software like Prezi She enjoy ed using technology, especially for research projects, because their excitement and en thusiasm for learning. As for the use of visuals she stated she likes to use a lot of images for vocabulary teaching, as well as manipulatives such as PlayDoh so students can touch and feel concepts in addition to seeing them. For example, when teaching submarine and have students create a submarine and other words with that prefix using PlayDoh Ms. Poppy class 4 Ms. Poppy had been a fourth grade teacher for around ten years. During the first eigh t years of her career, she taught writing, language arts, and social studies. During her most recent years, she taught all subjects for an advance d class and a mainstream class. When self identifying as a technology savvy teacher, she mentioned she liked t o
97 use a document camera, projector and her laptop. This technology allowed her to face her students, limiting the amount of time she would have to turn her back towards them. Ms. Poppy also stated that the document camera facilitated showing her students j ust about anything she wanted, while her laptop and projector combination allowed her to create and use content based games for each lesson. As for the use of visuals, she stated that in addition to the visual aids she place d under the document camera, she like d to use visual writing aids and models including Venn diagrams, T charts, and sequencing charts. Mr. Jesse class 5 Mr. Jesse had been a teacher for nine years. During the first two year s of his career, he taught all subjects in ESE inclusion class rooms. The rest of his time had been spent teaching science and math to fourth grade students. When self identifying as a technology savvy educator, he mentioned he had been using technology since the first day of his teaching career. He stated his preferr ed technolog ies for the classroom were the overhead projector and document camera, because they facilitate student access to information. In terms of visuals, he felt they were critical to instruction and he emphasized that, while a lot of things can be vi suals, they have to relate to the content being taught for them to be useful. Mr. George class 6 Mr. George was a fifth grade mathematics teacher with almost ten years of experience During th ese ten years he was primarily a mathematics teacher, but he d id When identifying as a technology savvy teacher, he was the least enthusiastic of the group. However, he mentioned a reliance on the computer and document reader to provide easier access to materials. In
98 terms of visuals, he preferred to project information using the document reader and to decorate the classroom with helpful images, charts, and graphs. Mr. Rudy class 7 Mr. Rudy was the only teacher of the group who had interrupted his teaching career. H is career began twenty years ago at an elementary school where he used the lab for creative writing and problem solving. Following that experience there was a twelve year gap where he was a summer camp director. He t hen returned to teachin g second and fourth grade and then language arts for five years. His most recent experience includes teaching science t o fifth graders. When self identifying as a technology savvy teacher, he mentioned his high comfort level when using technology for instr uction, and he claimed to use it every day. Mr. Rudy stated that he enjoyed using PowerPoint and encouraged students to write on computers for about fifteen minutes daily, depending on the availability of computers. In terms of visuals, Mr. Rudy menti oned using text, images, videos, and other visuals easily found online, and he also emphasized the importance of self created visuals for instruction. Ms. Lana, class 8 Ms. Lana began her teaching career twenty eight years ago. For nineteen of those years she taught all subjects in third grade She then decided to make the move to fifth grade reading, language arts, and social studies. When self identifying as a technology savvy teacher, she admitted to using very little at the beginning of her career. Comput ers were not in the classrooms yet and as a college student she was learning how to run a film projector and work an overhead projector using transparent paper. It was not until around the fourth and fifth year of teaching that computers first started to s how up in the classrooms, where she had her first experience with Apple
99 hardware. In recent years, she stated an inclination for software that allows students to create content, such as iMovie GarageBand PowerPoint and Keynote With her students, s he has created commercials and mini movie trailers. In her teaching, she used a document camera and computer to complete exercises, watch videos, and listen to music. In terms of visuals use d in her classroom, she self identified as a visual learner. Ms. L ana stated that she likes to teach the way she learns best. She decorated her cla ssroom with anch or charts and other visual aids. Data Collection In constructivism, meanings are conceptual structures that are born through our interactions with the world ( Crotty, 1998; Glasersfeld, 1989). Any truth is subjective, an approximation, where meaning is mediated by several factors including context and language (Bakhtin, 1986; Johnson, Sullivan, & Williams, 2009 ; Street, 2003). I needed to find data sources that looked at several perspectives and ways of communicating to glean and understand the realities constructed by the collaborators of the study. These included videotaped observations of teacher directed literacy instruction, field notes, and video taped, sem i structured individual interviews. There were two main reasons why I chose these data forms: the need for teachers to maintain a regular class routine and the need to explore the multiplicity of data. I would spend some time building rapport with each tea cher so that they felt comfortable with my presence -I did not want the classroom procedures and dynamics to change because of it. Data collection methods needed to be powerful enough to answer the research question while remaining unobtrusive. In addition these methods needed to provide various opportunities to explore the context, use of visuals language,
100 actions, and behaviors of collaborators. Observations, field notes, and interviews facilitate d these processes. In the next sections I outline the dat a collection processes and methods chosen and a rationale for each one, focusing on the two phases of data collection that occurred. Then, I discuss how data were analyzed and interpreted. Data was collected during the Fall 2011, Spring 2012, and Summer 20 12 semesters ( Table 3 8 ). Table 3 8 Data collection Data sources Quantity Duration (per teacher) Totals Observations (video) (secondary) Minimum once a week 10 60 minutes per visit; 180 minutes total 1440 minutes Semi structured interviews (primary ) 1 per teacher 60 minutes 480 minutes Field notes (secondary) Ongoing N/A N/A The f irst phase included collecting data from classroom observations. The collection was driven by the guiding questions and following questions at each stage of the research V ideotaped observations of teacher directed literacy instruction counted as secondary data gathered during the first phase of the study Data analysis emerged in response to the collected data. The second phase of collection consisted of semi structured interviews drawing from the analysis of the observations. Analysis gathered from secondary data served to inform the collection process of the primary sources of data. The p rimary source of data for the second phase included a one hour, individual, semi s tructured interview to discuss what was gleaned from the observations when it comes to using visuals and technology for instruction.
101 Building Rapport I remember ed what it was like to teach a class and suddenly have someo ne walk in invited or uninvited. They would o bserve, jot down notes, and try to be an There was constant nervousness and hyperawareness of everything happening in the classroom. Afterwards, questions circle d in my head and I wondered what the feedback would be, if any. I t is no easy task to allow a stranger to share your classroom for an extended period of time without knowing who they are what they want to accomplish, or if they care about your work. I kne w that building rapport needed to be an integral part of the design for this research. I began to build rapport by meeting informally with the teachers and sharing personal stories of my experiences in K 12 education and as a Ph D candidate. I also made c onnections with teachers individually by asking for their personal stories. For example, I lea rned that one of the teachers was highly invested in working with the school community outside of the classroom and was always signing up for activities, includin g fund raisers, and encouraging students and their parents to attend. When discussing the schedule for data collection, the collaborators had full control over when I would walk into the classroom. Before and after data collection, I made myself available to all collaborators for informal chats. Once they felt more comfortable with me, they asked questions about the data collection (e.g., they wanted personal stories, or engag ed in other informal conversations. Observations of Classroom Literacy Instruction noting and recording of events, behaviors, and artifacts (objects) in the social setting
102 chosen rang es from passive to active levels of participation (Spradley, 1980). Participant methods (Hatch, 2002). The distinction between participant observation as a study a nd for this research parallels participant observation in that it has a narrower focus than full ethnography (Hatch, 2002). The goal for observation in this study wa s to construct an understanding of the use of visuals in technology enhanced classrooms from the perspectives of the participants. In other words, it was an attempt to see through the eyes of the teachers. My role leaned heavily on the passive/non particip ant side of the continuum. My major contributions to the observations took place in the analysis, which include my previous experience in visually rich instructional settings. For example, I am well versed with the creation of visually rich electronic mate rials for presentation of content. This knowledge was beneficial when asking questions and follow reasons and reasoning behind using and favoring resources. For the analysis I also drew from that knowledge to explore Conducting observations of teachers was helpful in this research because they facilita ted the illumination of teacher s language use, behaviors, and practice with visuals in their pedagogy. I was able to see what visuals they were using and how they were using these visuals. It also led me to formulate other questions that helped answer
103 the research question in a more informed way. For example, what visuals were valued in teacher led literacy instruction? Was there a prefe rence of one type of visual? What was the purpose of these visuals? instructional periods. Most teachers adopted an open door policy for me. I was invited to come in at any time of the day on days they informed me they would dedicate a significant amount of class time to direct instruction. This allowed me to observe them at different times during those weeks, where they taught different subjects and classes with different classroom dynamic s. While field notes have been traditionally used to record observations (Hatch, 2002; Marshall & Rossman, 2006), two observational records -videotaped observations a nd field notes -were integrated in this study in an attempt to capture the complexity of data, and continuously question the data to reach deeper understanding Had I relied solely on written observations, I may have missed many nuances in the data I mana ged to glean from the videotaped observations. With both records I could compare my notes with what I saw in the video s add details, and question my initial observations and interpretations. Gathering this type of data also helped me formulate highly cont extualized interview questions in the second phase of the study. Video Recordings of Classroom Observations An assumption in this study is that knowledge is constructed by collaborators and the researcher, therefore multiple data sources, such as video, ca n serve as an avenue into the experiences, beliefs, and motivation of the teachers. Experiences inside an active classroom are complex, as there are many elements at play that are fast moving.
104 At any given time, students are interacting and responding to s ituations provided by the teacher while maintaining the pace and momentum. The class may quickly switch from lecture to inquiry to activity to wait time to discussion and to any number of activities. In such a fast paced, living, dynamic, and fluid atmosp here, videotaping can be used to write detailed transcripts and pick up subtle details, as well as be replayed to ensure accuracy In addition, it can be used to document the context visible through the lens, allowing it to be analyzed in ways not possible with field notes alone (Hatch, 2002). In addition, videotaping as a form of data collection is valuable for discovery and validation, as it documents behavior such as facial expressions, emotions, and gestures (Hatch, 2002; Marshall & Rossman, 2006). Vide os provided a source of data that was used for multiple reasons: Using digital video to collect the data helped convey a strong sense o f direct experience with what was studied Digital video presented a sense of permanence as a record Video could be taped, copied, and edited in real time Videos allow ed for inclusion of other voices that would otherwise not be heard Using videos gave me the ability to create a more direct connection to the audience. Videos were easily accessible for others to check, questio n, and reinterpret findings. They afford ed the ability to edit and annotate clips to highlight information Videos potentially increase d the quality of the study (Hatch, 2002; Johnson, Sullivan, & Williams, 2009; Shuck & Kearny, 2006) I used programmed sam
105 framework, the collaborat ors were videotaped during teacher directed literacy instruction. For the purposes of videotaping, literacy instruction here is defined in simplistic terms as instruction in reading, writing, and/or mathematics. In cases where I was only able to observe c ontent area instruction such as s ocial s tudies or s cience, (due to time restrictions or teacher availability), I focused on instruction of content specific vocabulary, reading, and writing. A minimum of one observation a week took place on different days i n which the teachers reported they were including visuals in their instruction. I created a log of the videotaping to en sure I was obtaining rich data for literacy instruction. The information on Table 3 9 represents the number of times I observed a parti cular subject being taught. It does not reflect the number of videos, as on more than one occasion teachers switched from one subject to the next during one observation. The majority (54 /72 ) of observations occurred during literacy instruction (reading, ma th, English, and writing). Table 3 9 Video log by subject taught Subject Number of times observed Reading 25 Math 16 Science 11 Language Arts/English 8 Social Studies 7 Writing 5 Videotaping the observations facilitated many processes and help ed me create a more direct connection with the data. However, as Plowman (1999) pointed out, video does not capture unobservable processes such as thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and perceptions. Video tapes are sources of data and not data themselves, as d ata is purposefully constru cted by the researcher (Johnson Sullivan, & Williams,
106 2009).Therefore, it became necessary to use other data to triangulate, such as field notes and interviews. Field notes Field notes present secondary s observation (Hatch, 2002; Marshall & Rossman, 2006). They were used to complement the videos, as they can include impressions, wonderings, interpretations, and other information that help provide descriptions of the events in the videos and interviews. U sually, raw field notes describe the research context, conversations, and actions of participants (Hatch, 2002). In this study field notes are primary data which, in tandem with videotaping, allowed me to focus on preliminary interpretations. Taking these notes encouraged me to produce further questions, reflect on observations, and explore other contextual details that might be blurred through traditional field notes protocols. In traditional field note protocols, a lot of attention needs to be paid to des cribing the context being observed (Hatch, 2002). By using video to capture part of the context through the lens, I was freed to focus on other aspects of the context that might not otherwise have been visible Videotaping also helped me avoid tallying and trying to standardize the observations, thus striking a balance between reportable data and my interpretations of observations. To help fully answer the research question, it was important to document several ology in the classroom. This included what actions and/or behaviors as they used visuals and/or technology for instruction. For example, a teacher may temporarily stop in struction to state something such as
107 picture will help it stick in your head Events like these encouraged me to think about I maintained a structured record of field notes during videotaped classroom observation and throughout the study that included my first impressions, feelings, thoughts, rea ctions, observations of teacher s actions, description of events, and interactions. First, I took note of the day and time in which the observation took place, the teacher, grade level, subject taught, and the number of the observation. For Then the process of note taking was divided in three stages. I began the process with raw field notes, which included key words and phrases that would help jog my memory later and complement what was videotaped (Hatch, 2002). Anecdotal notes and contextual information were also documented (Emerson, Fretz & Shaw, 19 95) in the first stage. These helped me remember specific moments, words, actions, or ideas that related to the research question. After leaving the classroom I revisited and expanded (Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995) these notes and added any further impress ions or ideas, including details of the context and instruction. In this stage I also generated more questions concerning what I had observed. For example, I noted one of the teachers mention ed that a picture would help the This led me to questions I could later ask, such as: do you think all pictures have the potential to help info ? In what way/s does a picture help ? Finally, I focused on reflections and my interpretations about the events observe d as they related to the research question (Emerson, Fretz, & Shaw, 1995).
108 Semi Structured Interviews In qualitative research, formal interviews are designed to delve into the understandings of the informant and allow the interviewer to follow leads whil e guiding the interview (Hatch, 2002; Marshall & Rossman, 2006). Through such interviews, both researcher and collaborators have the opportunity to generate data that includes detail, vividness, nuance, and richness (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Interviews are co mmonly used in qualitative research because they can illuminate motivations, beliefs, feelings, and worries of particular events or experiences (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). They can help the (Hatch, 2002, p. 91). For the second phase of this study, I conducted semi structured interviews. process, not to force a particular order or structure to the event. As is chara cteristic of qualitative research, questions were open ended, which fostered opportunities for collaborators to explain and expand on their experiences and unique perspectives. I asked questions such as : what are your favorite visuals to use for instructio n and why? How important do you believe visuals to be within a technology enhanced curriculum? What kinds of skills do you believe students need to effectively engage in a technology enhanced curriculum? As the researcher, this allowed me to generate and a sk new or additional questions in response to collaborator comments within the context of the discussion (Hatch, 2002). The collaborators of this study each participated in a one hour, computer mediated, video recorded, semi structured interview (the next section offers a rationale on the use of computer mediated interviews). The questions I asked were highly
109 contextualized for each collaborator, as they were informed by the first phase of the d ata collection and analysis ( Appendix : Interview Guide Sample ). The text from the interviews that was analyzed consisted of typed transcripts of the conversations that took place. Computer mediated interviews After the first phase of data collection, circumstances led me to move to another state. This meant that I had to choose among the options available to me to determine how I would collect the second phase of the data once the analysis of the first data set was completed. Traveling ba ck and forth presented financial difficulti es Another option was to conduct computer mediated interviews. Computer mediated communications (CMC) can include chat rooms, forums, instant messaging, and e mails (Kozinets, 2010). This idea presented several possibilities, as well as challenges. I wan ted to gain the data in a way that would still allow for rich interviewing (Hatch, 2002; Marshall & Rossman, 2006) and offer opportunities that include d detail, vividness, nuance, and richness (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). I also wanted to use something that allo wed me to observe non verbal cues, such as facial expressions, emotions, and gestures. This meant I needed to find a medium that allowed me to retain aspects of face to face communication, such as the ability to maintain increased synchronicity, as opposed to e mail communications, for example, which increase response latencies. I prevalent years ago when referring to more limited technology (Kalman & Rafaeli, 2007). Accord ing to Kalman and Rafaeli (2007), synchronicity is a property of conversation, not necessarily of the medium being used. When people communicate,
110 (p.5). Current technologies have made modulating synchronicity easier For example, one can choose to immediately respond to a text message or save it for later, thus decreasing synchronicity Humans prefer high synchronicity, perhaps because we are incli ned to face to face interactions (Kalman & Rafaeli, 2007). According to Salmons (2010), there are four types of synchronous communication for online interviewing: text based, multichannel meeting, immersive 3 D environment, and video call. Text based inter viewing such as chatting would allow for high synchronicity, but I would not be able to glean non verbal cues, as well as any uncomfortable silences that may occur. A multichannel and 3 D environment meeting would similarly limit the interviews. A video ca ll proved to be the most faithful to a face to face interview, so I decided to use V o ice chat to communicate with the collaborators for the second phase of this study. oice chat are free online software that allow peo ple to communicate via video call. This medium allows for highly synchronous interaction conducted in a way that closely resembles the natural turn taking, face to face communication, which includes verbal and non verbal cues. They are also a medium that t he collaborators of this study were familiar with and could easily access. Data Analysis Processes The ultimate goal for analysis was to investigate how fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as technology savvy educators describe their use of v isuals during teacher directed, technology enhanced, literacy instruction. Data analysis was ongoing and recursive as framed by the research questions and the goals for the different data collection phases. In the first phase, the goal was to collect secon dary
111 data through observations and field notes. In the second phase, the goal was to gather primary data to expand on and explain the observations from the first phase. For both phases, a type of inductive analysis (domain analysis) was used to analyze the data This type of analysis focuses on the descriptions of situations and the patterns within them and is specifically looking for semantic relationships (i.e. x is a type of y or x is a way to do y, etc.) Domain analysis was useful because it helped me think first about particular parts of the data and combine them into a meaningful whole. In other words, I was able to look for patterns across the observations and semi structured interviews to reach encompassing, explanatory statements (Potter, 1996). (2002) outline of inductive analysis, (19 80 is adaptable and provides more flexibility th an others (Hatch, 2002) The step s in inductive analysis involve systematically search ing for patterns inside particular pieces of evidence to come up with categories establish domains -which are symbolic categories containing other categories (Spradley, 19 80 ) -and look for themes across domains Spra dley (19 80 ) asc ertains that domains can be represented by identifying two types of terms: included ter ms (these are given categories) and cover term s (they encompass a set of categories linked by a semantic relationship) According to Spradley (19 80 ), ther e are nine semantic relationships researchers need to consider when conducting domain analysis including strict inclusion (X is a kind of Y), spatial (X is a place of Y), caus e effect (X is a result of Y), rationale (X is a reason for doing Y), location fo r action (X is a place for doing Y), function (X is used
112 for Y), means end (X is a way to do Y), se quence (X is a step in Y), and attribution (X is a characteristic of Y). Hatch (2002) states that not all of these relationships will be salient to the resea rch. Indeed, a researcher may need to drop some of the relationships found because they may not be relevant or pertain to the research question. However, it is necessary to perform comprehensive analysis of potential relationships, as this can provide insi ght and illuminate other relationships. In addition, in order to move beyond the surface of the data to reach a dee per understanding, analysis, complexity, and richness, the researcher looks to interpret the findings from domain analysis. This means search ing across domains for themes in the form of new links, relationships, or domains (Hatch, 2002). to inductive analysis includ ing: Read ing the data and identify ing frames of a nalysis Creat ing domains based on semantic relationships discovered within frames of analysis Identify ing salient domains, assign ing them a code, and put ting others aside Reread ing data, refining salien t domains and keeping a record of where relationshi ps are found in the data Decid ing which of your domains are supported by the data and then search ing data for examples that do not fit with or run counter to the relationships in your domains Complet ing an analysis within domains Search ing for themes ac ross domains (followed by a master outline of relationships among domains, including support data)
113 In the following sections, these steps are elaborated and explained within the context of this study. Read ing the data and i dentify ing frames of analysis I n both phases of data collection, once data were collected and transcribed I completed a thorough reading of transcripts, watched the videos, and continued to take notes in the field notes record. This helped me make further connections with the data and allowed me to begin reflecting on how the contributors used materials, language, and actions when incorporating visuals into the lesson. I also considered other elements such as gestures, actions, pauses, events, environment, and reactions. A s Hatch (2002) recommends, I asked what my initial frames of analysis would be. In other words, I needed to decide how to break the data into parts I could analyze. These analyzable parts can focus on small units, such as words or short expressions, or sweep more broadl y to include blocking complete interchanges (Hatch, 2002). In this study, the analyzable parts included words, phrases and sentences that conveyed a complete idea. I decided to begin arranging my analysis around parts that had qualities of visual litera c y tenets and technology use This proved to be helpful because it provided some guidance for beginning the examination of data and remained flexible enough for potential reframing or refocusing of the analysis later on. For the first phase of the study, t he original frames of analysis and other contextual cues, such as expressions, mannerisms, and use of materials. I used word processing software to facilitate cutting and pasting of data to new documents. I identified the analyzable parts in the data and pasted them on new pages in a new
114 electronic document. I thought ab out ways to summarize the data by thinking of possible included terms to name specific elements found. This helped me organize the data in three ways : t he first document contained the analyzable parts the second document contained the meaningful units org anized by the included terms and the last document featured only the included terms that were identified from the data. The initial analysis of the data from the second phase of the study was carried out in a similar fashion, but was informed by the anal ysis of the first data set For the second data set I decided to first approach the information with broad frames of analysis to avoid limiting or reducing the data too soon. Creat ing domains based on semantic relationships discovered within frames of analysis Hatch (2002) describes this step as a process to develop categories of meaning that are linked by particular relationships that are present in the data. For something to be considered a category, it needed to have specific elements that could be related to other categories semantically. Establishing domains helped me reach an understanding of how the collaborators in this study organized their understandings of visuals and technology in education, as well as how collaborators operate in their world. I began representing domains by going through the a nalyzable parts of the data and identifying included terms. I also looked for similarities among the included terms, which allowed me to group them to facilitate the identification of semantic relationships that would help generate cover terms. I went thro ugh the sets of included terms, 80 ) list of possible
115 semantic relationships. I scoured the data, looking for these relationships. Following re examples of strict inclusion in the data? What is an example of X being a kind or type of visual (or technology) in this comment? Once completed, t his was followed by creating cover terms that combined several of the categories into sets. The content an d meaning in the included terms were explored carefully before deciding on the cover terms that best summarized the essence of the analyzable parts of the data. I will illustrate this process by drawing from the first example of the three I have included b elow from my data I saw that teachers used several visual cues, such as color and shapes as part of their in struction. I identified the cues used in all classes When asking myself about examples of strict inclusion, I asked myself what the teachers were attempting to do when they used these cues. I identified them as being kinds mnemonic devices, meant to encourage students to more meaningfully engage with content (further discussion on this is in the next chapter) A domain includes three parts: include d terms, the semantic relationship, and the cover term (Hatch, 2002) Therefore, a plausible domain for this example c ould be: colors, circling information highlighting (included terms) are types of (semantic relationship) mnemonic devices (cover term) (T able 3. 10 ). I prepared electronic domain analysis worksheets like the one shown in Table 3.9 and labeled them according to the study phase. Domains from phase 1 of the data collection were initially labeled D1 through D9 to facilitate the identification of the domain being searched before they were consolidated into a master document. I included O to indicate if the data came from the observations, or I to indicate if the data
116 came from the interviews. A thorough domain analysis was particularly helpful for later stages of the analysis in order to reach depth and complexity. Table 3 10 Domain example from domain analysis worksheet Included terms Semantic Relationship Cover Term Colors Circling information Highlighting Wrapping information in different fi gures Body as a visual Underlining information are types/kinds of mnemonic devices Organizing information Identifying information Copying information Repeating information are used to facilitate internalization of visual information Relational/personal To a text To the world are types of connections emphasized when using visuals Identify ing salient domains, assign ing them a code, and put ting others aside Hatch (2002) reco mmends exploring all semantic relationships to avoid early data reduction. Once the domains have been established, the next step is to reduce the data to points that are salient to the study. After I explored all semantic relationships in the data and iden tifying domains, I reanalyzed them I began by looking at do mains with few included terms. Hatch (2002) cautions not to eliminate domains based on the number of included terms, as they could hold powerful or insightful data, but this provided a starting po int that allowed me to think of the relevance of the information. I asked myself if the domains were pertinent or important to understand the observations answering th e research question and if there were other terms I may have missed o r would see later in the data.
117 After ident ifying and selecting the coding the salient domains. I assigned a R oman numeral to the different domain s and a capital letter to each included term. To draw from the previous example, the domain of mnemonic devices colors, circling information, and highlighting information were assigned A,B,C, respectively (e.g. IA, IB, IC) These cod es were marked directly on the electronic work sheets (Table 3.1 1 ) Table 3 1 1 Assigning codes to salient dom ains Included terms Semantic Relationship Cover Term A Colors B Circling information C Highlighting D Wrapping information in different figures E Body as a visual F Underlining information are types/kinds of I mnemonic devices Reread ing data, refining salient domains and keeping a record of where relationships are found in the data In this step, a researcher goes over the data again to make sur e that there is data to support the existing domains. I went over the data again, read through the salient domains, and explored the relationships extant among categories. Hatch (2002) explains that, while most relationships will have already been discover ed, there is a chance other included terms will be discovered and added to the salient domains. In terms of record keeping, as I read through the data, I identified where the examples were located on both the data document and the domains document. To do this, I used the codes I previously assigned to the domains (e.g. II C), bracketed the examples and then cut and pasted parts of each example to a new document in a table next to their respective domains Table 3.1 2 shows an example for some of the include d terms On the domain document, I then typed the page numbers where the complete
118 examples could be found (Hatch, 2002). This process encouraged me to look more closely at the data to garner a better idea of the importance and richness in the domains (Hatc h, 2002). Table 3 12 Exploring data and domains Data units Included terms Semantic Relationship Cover Term The different sections and explanations are separated by color. She uses red and then blue then green. She has taken a highlighter and is high lighting parts of the passage. This shows up for everybody to see on the overhead. she pinches her nose with her left hand, raises her right and waves as she crouches A Colors B Circling information C Highlighting D Wrapping information in different figures E Body as a visual F Underlining information are types/kinds of I mnemonic devices Check ing that domains are supported by the data and search ing data for examples that do not fi t with or run counter to the relationships in the domains This part of the process meant I needed to take a step back from the data, look at the big picture, and check to see if there was enough data to support the domains. In
119 addition, I needed to determi ne if the data were robust enough to include the domains identified. Finally, I needed to find data th at ran counter to, or did not fit, the relationships found in the data (Hatch, 2002). Hatch (2002) emphasizes that asking these questions and, in particul ar, searching for counterevidence, is important, as this will help the researcher think deeply about the validity of the evidence. In other words, the fin dings need to be viable in how they fit with the data. Glas er and Strauss (1967) encourage reaching wh where the researcher cannot find new or additional data from which to glean categories. Hatch (2002) cautions that saturation is something that can rarely be achieved, but a good indicator that findings are viable is that element s of the domain continue to repeat themselves For this step, I revisited the domains I considered important to my research question. I then looked at the data again and asked what was going on with the data that potentially did not fit with what I inclu d ed in the domains This was important, as it allowed me to confront the data for any contradictions, which helped me make further decisions as to the viability of findings. Complet ing domain analysis There are descriptive qualitative studies that stop at the previous step at the point of data saturation ( Gla ser & Strauss, 1967; Hatch, 2002) To move the analysis to deep er, richer levels, I needed to shift my focus on the raw data and to the included terms and the domains themselves 2) steps, I grouped the domains and searched for new ideas and new links that might lead to the discovery of themes that gathered qualities that ran across domains. I revisited all of the included terms, the semantic relationships, and the cover terms. Lo oking at the included terms has the possibility of revealing connections among
120 included terms within domains, which could mean grouping several included terms under another domain to identify new relationships. In other words, I considered the question: do any of the included terms have a commonality that links them (Hatch, 2002) ? To complete this process, I asked myself if I could group included terms differently, thus creating a new domain. This paved the way for the final layer of analysis where I was a ble to determine the themes emergent from the data. Search ing for themes across domains (followed by a master outline of relationships among domains, including support data) This requires another step back to look at the domains. There is a focus on the b ig question: w hat does it all mean (Hatch, 2002)? It requires another reading of the data, this time considering how all of the pieces relate to the data set. Spradley (19 80 ) recommends going back to look for semantic relationships -this time among the dom ains. According to Hatch (2002) the first step is to look for commonalities among the domains and determine what is similar about them Next, he recommends looking for what is different among the domains. Again, this helps the researcher engage the data an d pushes the analysis to glean overarching themes (Hatch, 2002). Finally, he recommends constructing a meaningful whole to represent the data analysis. I followed these steps carefully, making sure to read through the data while exploring similarities and differences in the domains. For the last step, I created what Miles and Huberman (1994) call data displays which means representing data in some sort of visual format. This proved to be a very useful tool for me. I created a map of both my observations (T able 3.1 3 ) and interviews analysis (Table 3.1 4 ) which graphically represented the relationships across the dif ferent elements of the research This helped
121 me reach a better understanding of the relationship between the parts and the whole. They then serve d as master outline s from which to write findings (Hatch, 2002). Table 3 13 Analysis of observations Themes Assertions Domains 1 Information capture The ways teachers first introduced and interacted with technology and visuals helped determine thei r perceived importance and purpose. 1.1 Ways to access information (technology and visuals) 1.2 Visuals are important 1.3 Visuals have to be read 2 Visual contextualization Teachers purposefully used visuals for various purposes that helped enhance and enrich the l essons. 2.1 Ways to activate and enrich background knowledge 2.2 Ways to enhance comprehension 2.3 Ways to connect with the content 3 Internalizing information Teachers emphasized meaningful engagement wit h content to increase the probability of deep understanding. They encouraged students to use and engage with visuals in various ways to aid this process. 3.1 Visuals as mnemonic devices 3.2 Asking questions to analyze visuals 4 Externalizin g information Teachers encouraged multimodal construction and reconstruction of content taught through visuals. 4.1 Summarizing content 4.2 Teaching others Attrition As data analysis for the first phase neared its end, I began contacting collaborat ors to set up times in which we could meet virtually and conduct the interviews for the last phase of the study. Communication was, for the most part, conducted via e s,
122 only two provided me with their telephone number, which I used on one occasion to establish communication for the second phase of data collection. Table 3 1 4 Analytical insights from the interviews Themes Assertions Domains 1 Navigating technolo gy may mean different things in different contexts. Asking teachers what this meant for them allowed me to think more carefully about their perceived teaching context. 1.1 Technology used for teaching 1.2 Ways to engage with technology 1.3 What to look for when choosing technology for instruction 1.4 Reasons for using technology 2 Visual literacy definitions visual literacy, I realized how they perceive their relationship to visuals, as we ll as their beliefs of visuals as easier tools for learning. Teachers reflected on their own practices and how visuals promote visual thinking, learning, and communicating. 2.1 Characteristics of a visually literate teacher 2.2 Visuals are concret e and 2.3 Text as a visual 2.4 What to look for when choosing visuals for instruction 3 Visuals as powerful and necessary ways to learn I noticed teachers contextualized the use of visuals as critical to teaching and lea rning literacy. 3.1 Visuals are critical to learning 3.2 Students as visual learners 3.3 Teachers as visual learners 3.4 Ways visuals facilitate internalization and externalization processes Of the original eight collaborators, only six responded and participated in the video interview. One of the fifth grade teachers had left to teach in another county and became unreachable. One of the fourth grade teachers never replied, despite repeated attempts via e mail. I carefully considered how this attrition could impact this study and
123 if I needed to recruit new collaborators. After much deliberation, I decided to move forward with the second phase of the data with six collaborator s. This decision was based on three reasons. First, per comp leted IRB, the minimum number of collaborator s that would allow me to move forward with this study included six teachers. This meant that I could effectively answer my research question and sub questions despite attrition. However, I needed to be mindful o f how my analysis was impacted by my missing collaborator s, as some patterns that may have emerged from the data could impact my ability to ask questions based on specific incidents in specific classrooms. Second, I found most of the patterns gleaned from the data sets were common throughout as opposed to being found within isolated or a couple of classrooms which pointed to robustness. Finally, the parameters of the study were sufficiently flexible that if the data collected in the second phase proved to o thin, I could extend and revise the IRB to either search for additional collaborators or conduct further interviews with the six that remained. Limitations No method is without limitations. Analysis work is never truly complete and there In the case of this study there are several limitations. First, r esults cannot be generalized beyond the context of this particular research The study design potentially influenced the collaborators in th is study to reflect on their definitions and use of technology and visuals before the research took place. For instance, they knew the study required teachers who self guided their plans for teaching. In terms of context, the geographical location in which the study took place presents elements ( e.g. PD experiences, resources available, willingness to use technology and visuals) which
124 may or may not be present in other locations. I t will be up to the reader and ot her researchers to make connections to their own practice and experiences and to apply the ideas in this study t o related data. Second there is the limitation of the methods themselves. While the methods presented here proved sufficient to answer the que stions for this study, other methods may enrich, challenge, question, and/or affirm the results. It will be up to future research to use other methods to explore the use of visuals and technology in classrooms. Finally, my background in visual literacy an d technology, as well as my relationship with the EETT research team at the University of Florida also impacted this research. T eachers may have been initially influenced by monetary incentives given to them by the EETT initiative. Perhaps their interest in and use of technology stemmed from the incentive and experiences provided by the state wide initiative. F uture research will help illuminate how teachers with and without PD related technology integration use and describe their use of visuals for litera cy instruction. Despite limitations, there a re various ways in which I account ed for the trustworthiness and validity of this study which are explained in the next section. Trustworthiness and Validity Within the limits of our experiences, analysis, meth ods, framework, design, and other limitations, a study should provide a certain degree of validity. That is to say, that the findings are sound and justifiable by evidence (Schwandt, 1997). In qualitative studies, validity is seen as a strength that is use d to determine the accuracy of findings from the viewpoint of the researcher, participant, or readers (Creswell, 2009). Mishler (1990) asserts that validation is a process of evaluating the trustworthiness of interpretations and observations. However, the re are different ways to conceptualize
125 and there are many who hold different ideas of what postmodernists, there is no such thing as validity s ince there is no such thing as an absolute truth, but only linguistically mediated social constructions (Schwandt, 1997). My definition of validity includes fallibilistic validity, where a researcher can check for plausibility of the findings within the co ntext and constraints of the research frame (Schwandt, 1997) as possible to their situated, cons tructed realities. As this is a study that employed domain analysis, in order to increase the credibility and validity of the findings, enough information had to be gathered to reach a certain degree of saturation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Social worlds are not monolithic and can produce multiple and conflicting meanings (Clarke, 2005; Fairclough, 2003), so the more the elements in the domains that repeat themselves, the more trustworthy and convincing the analysis ( Hatch, 2002 ). To account for the trustw orthiness of the research, several strategies were used, including s tating researcher subjectivity (in the subjectivity section) using peer reviewers triangulating data sources, peer debriefing, member checking, and maintaining an audit trail. Peer revie wers To reach agreement, dissertation committee members served as auditors. This was done as a way to obtain other observations, challenges, and interpretations of the information. Auditors provided assessment and ongoing support throughout the research p rocess.
126 Triangulation The design of this study was created to facilitate reaching saturation of the data. To accomplish this several sources of data were collected to help inform an answer to the research question. These include video taped observations, interviews, and field notes. Gathering different sources of data -data triangulation -can aid in contextualizing, verifying, extending, and clarifying information gleaned from different sources ( Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Mason, 2002). Peer debriefer A peer de briefer is a person who reads, reviews, questions, and provides feedb ack on the study (Schwandt, 1997 ). I recruited the aid of a fellow Ph D student specializing in education. The topic of this research was new to her, which ensured a fresh perspective. I shared the study with her at different intervals, including after the first and second phase s of data collection and analysis. We communicated and collaborated via social media and computer mediated voice and video communication. Her feedback and questio ns served to improve the robustness of the writing, the depth of data analysis, and encouraged my taking different paths in how I navigated and thought about the data. Member checking i nterpretations (Creswell, 2009 ). As data were gathered, they were transcribed and offered to establishing credibility" (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Collaborators can help clarify, ex pand, or problematize the data, which could result in more in depth information.
127 Audit trail I also maintained an audit trail meaning I documented all aspects of the research project to establish furt her trustworthiness (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This may pr ovide other researchers the opportunity to explore the data, provide other viewpoints, and replicate the study. Summary The purpose of this study was to investigate how fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identified as technology savvy educators desc ribe d their use of visuals during teacher directed, technology enhanced, literacy instruction To help direct and guide my thinking, I asked two additional questi ons: w hat were teachers doing with visuals and techn ology in the classroom? What were teachers trying to accomplish when they use d different strategies, methods, and/or resources? In this chapter I have described the research design and process associated with t his study. This chapter situated this study within a constructivist perspective, using d omain analysis t o analyze the data. Included in this chapter w as my subjectivity, research context, sampling procedures and considerations, as well as my data analysis methods. Finally, I discussed issues of limitations, trustworthiness and validity. Cha pter 4 provides the findings for the study. It describes the technology teachers used for direct instruction. It explores the connection between technology and visuals, describes what visuals teachers used for literacy instruction, and how they used these visuals. It also describes how visuals were described by teachers in this study. Finally, Chapter 5 presents the conclusion of this study.
128 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Overview The purpose of this study was to examine how fourth and fifth grade teachers who self id entify as technology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teacher directed, technology enhanced literacy instruction To better understand responses, I also examined w hat teachers are doing with visuals and technology in the class room In addition, w hat are teachers trying to accomplish when they use different strategies, methods, and/or resources? Chapter 3 described the analyses performed on the dataset s in order to address the purpose of this study. This chapter provides the fi ndings from the domain analysis in relation to the research questions. The themes gleaned from the analysis provided the structure for this chapter (Table 4.1 and 4.2) To present the findings, I first share and explain the insights gained from the context within which the observations took place. Then I share and explain the analytical insights from the interviews. Summary of findings: The Visual Spiral Framework Looking at the use of both technology and visuals helped provide a sense of the context with in which observations took place, as well as an understanding of what teachers perceived as a technology enhanced classroom. The most prominent finding was that teachers used four processes when including visuals in their instruction. These processes were not linear, but cyclical in nature, akin to a spiral where previous processes are tapped to further expand learning. Teachers constantly came back to one or the other (or more) of the processes as they guided students through a lesson. In addition, these p rocesses -while technology enhanced in this study -are not dependent
129 on technology, but are certainly facilitated by technology. I have assigned a particular order to the processes, drawn from the themes gleaned from the data, which I refer to as the Visua l Spiral Framework (VSF), to facilitate explanation and discussion. It is not intended that this order be construed as a hierarchy or that each process happens independently from the others. In the following paragraphs I discuss the connections between the themes and this framework. Table 4 1 Analysis of observations Themes Assertions Domains 1 Information capture The ways teachers first introduced and interacted with technology and visuals helped determine their perceived importance and purpose. 1.1 Ways to access information (technology and visuals) 1.2 Visuals are important 1.3 Visuals have to be read 2 Visual contextualization Teachers purposefully used visuals for various purposes that helped enhance and enrich the lessons. 2.1 Ways to activate and enr ich background knowledge 2.2 Ways to enhance comprehension 2.3 Ways to connect with the content 3 Internalizing information Teachers emphasized meaningful engagement with content to increase the probability of dee p understanding. They encouraged students to use and engage with visuals in various ways to aid this process. 3.1 Visuals as mnemonic devices 3.2 Asking questions to analyze visuals 4 Externalizing information Teachers encouraged multimodal c onstruction and reconstruction of content taught through visuals. 4.1 Summarizing content 4.2 Teaching others
130 Tabl e 4 2 Analytical insights from the interviews Themes Assertions Domains 1 Navigating technology may me an different things in different contexts. Asking teachers what this meant for them allowed me to think more carefully about their perceived teaching context. 1.1 Technology used for teaching 1.2 Ways to engage with technology 1.3 What to look for when choosing technology for instruction 1.4 R easons for using technology 2 Visual literacy definitions visual literacy, I realized how they perceive their relationship to visuals, as well as their beliefs of visuals as easier tools for learning. Teachers reflected on their own practices and how visuals promote visual thinking, learning, and communicating. 2.1 Characteristics of a visually literate teacher 2.2 Visuals are concrete and 2.3 Text as a visual 2.4 What to look for when choosing visuals for instruction 3 Visuals as powerful and necessary ways to learn I noticed teachers contextualized the use of visuals as critical to teaching and learning literacy. 3.1 Visuals are cr itical to learning 3.2 Students as visual learners 3.3 Teachers as visual learners 3.4 Ways visuals facilitate internalization and externalization processes First, teachers encouraged quick information capture, where they had the material available in different modes for students to see and engage with (s uch as pictures or manipulatives) and reflect on During the introduction of these materials they Second, teachers provided students with visual contextualization, where they include d a series of visual cues and verbal explanation of the visual inviting students to make several kinds of connections to the information presented. In some cases, the cue itself demanded
131 connections with culturally specific meanings ( e.g. how the picture of a white dress may be associated with marriage in some cultures, but not in others). Visuals were used as comprehension, and as a way to connect with the content. Third, tea chers encouraged the internalizing of information, which demanded closer engagement with the content, where they asked students to identify, copy, analyze, or repeat different aspects of information within the visuals employed. Finally, teachers encouraged the externalization of the information presented. Students were expected to use the information gleaned from the visuals to construct and reconstruct knowledge, create new material, and/or present material learned by using visuals and other modes (Figure 4. 3 ). Students, for example, were encouraged to summarize content or practice what they learned by teaching peers. Each process is further explained in the next sections. Teachers used visuals as a tool, an important mediator in the process of guiding stud making. Visuals were used to help mark learning beginnings, to encourage students to think consciously about concepts, and to concretize abstract information. Visuals were used as an activating and sticking mechanism that created bridges to u nderstanding and fostered internalization of information. In addition, findings suggest that: technology was primarily used by teachers as a teaching strategy to facilitate teachers prominently relied on self created visuals an d basic visual elements to help students make connections with content. students were encouraged to be receptors of visual information and to reconstruct visuals discussed in class. In the next sections, I map out the context of this study by discussing t he themes
132 Figure 4 3 The Visual Spiral Framework
13 3 gleaned from the analysis, thus sharing the processes teachers used to provide students with the opp ortunity to engage with technology and visuals as part of their learning. I then share the analytical insights from the interview s which helped further explore, question, and challenge the analysis gleaned from the observation data. Theme 1: Information c apture Simply put, information capture is seeing a visual that is being presented. might be made (i.e., I see a picture of a bride and groom and they look happy), compr ehension or a deeper understanding is not fully expected (i.e., W ho are the two in the picture? Why is this picture important? What can we learn from this image? How is this relevant to the lesson?). In this part of their instruction, teachers included dif ferent ways to help students access visual information, assigned importance to visuals, and emphasized ways visuals can be read. 1.1 Ways to access information Teachers in this study had access to various technology (Table 4. 3 ) and other multimodal resour ces (Table 4. 4 ). This included projectors and document cameras to show presentations via PowerPoint, web pages, worksheets, newspapers, books, and others. There were also iPads, iPods and Promethean boards (SMART B oards ). However, some of these were rarely used, possibly because some of them, such as the iPads were shared among teachers. The iPads were used by only one teacher in the time I conducted the observations. Employing technology in the classroom helped enhance the lessons in several ways It helped for students to engage content, increased the synchronicity between teachers and
134 students, and facilitated making connections among self, text, visuals, and content In the follo wing paragraphs I discuss in detail the technology that was used, including how their use helped enrich the lesson in the ways mentioned above. Table 4 3 Technology used by teachers Hardware Teachers using the hardware by class Software/ other Teachers using the software by class Multimodal elements present Computers Overhead projector Document reader iPad iPod Microphone SMART Board Cell phone Classes 1 8 Classes 1 8 Classes 1 8 Class 7 Class 2 Classes 1 and 2 Class 1 Class 2 PowerPoint Edline.n et Wikipedia Google Search Video Classes 1, 3, 7, and 8 Class 1 Classes 1, 2, and 7 Classes 1, 2 and 7 Classes 1 and 7 Images Text Interactive elements Special effects Video Audio Table 4 4 Visuals and other resources used for literacy instru ction Print resources Worksheets Book Manipulatives Fake money 3 D model Tiara Reindeer antlers Computer cable Planet cards Classroom door World globe Crayons Marker Plastic pan and soil Graduated cylinder Sculpting putty Life forms Baby rat snake 2 D representations Map of the world Posters Newspapers (including shoppers) Graphic novel Picture books
135 Despite the different technology available teachers most often used a combination of computer, document reader, and overhead projector to facilitate access to information. They show ed documents, websites, videos, reading material For example, Ms. Poppy, class 4, used the combination of computer and projector to project standardized test li ke short narratives with multiple choice questions. These short texts usually included no more than two text related illustrations. Mr. Rudy, class 7, used the same technology on many occasions for various purposes Daily, he would begin by projecting the followed by slides of content with one to several images on each slide George, class 6, used the projector to share and work through standardized math test problems. The worksheets included number calculation probl ems and word problems. On occasion, one or two of the word problems included diagrams, illustrations, charts, or graphs. The other teachers used the technology to provide access to information in similar ways. For example, Ms. Maria, class 1, showed slide s with regional maps and tables of information to discuss changes in the weather by region. Ms. Ladasha, class 2 projected newspaper ads to guide students in an exploration of advertising strategies, as well as figure out real world mathematics problems wh en purchasing goods. Mr. Jesse, class 5 used the document camera to show how to solve mathematics problems. Fina lly, Ms. Lana, class 8 created exercises and games using the document camera, where students could come up to the board to complete tasks by fi lling in the blank, for example.
136 While teachers many times used technology to facilitate access to print centric resources, they also took the opportunity to integrate multimodal resources to address I noted the presence of multimodal elements during instruction, including images, interactive elements, objects, special effects, video, and audio. Teachers also used other multimodal resources, such as manipulatives and graphic novels, sometimes on their own and som etimes in tandem with technology. Modes that were m ost frequently used included a combination of images and text that were directly related with the content presented. Ms. Penelope, for instance, used PowerPoint slides for her vocabulary lesson s Each sl ide included one image (clipart, or an image taken from an Internet search) that was relevant to or provided clues as to the meaning of the vocabulary word that was typed next to the image. The definition of each word was also included in the slide. On o ne occasion, she presented the word Mr. Jesse also had students engage with images from a textbook and created his own visuals. Another mode commonly employed included manipulatives. Ms. Maria combine d manipulatives and images in some of her lessons. In one lesson she showed students a two dimensional image of the globe, followed by showing and spinning a globe of the world, encouraging student comparison. In addition, she showed tables which containe d organized information of what the students would be learning about different aspects of the world. W ith a computer, document reader, projector, multimodal resources, image centric resources, and manipulatives, access to content was facilitated in ways n ot possible with a black or white board. For example, a child who has lost their place in the
137 reading can simply look up to a projected image of a document and continue to follow wall or screen also caters to those students who may need to shift their focus. They have the opportunity to look at their paper and switch from that view to looking up at the screen or wall, which allows them to remain connected to the content. Including images and other modes during instruction potentially increases diverse opportunities in which a learner approaches a subject. In addition, this use of technology possibly helps increase the synchronicity between teacher and students. In other words, a te acher could fill in a blank or underline information for emphasis while still facing the students, thus maintaining the connection established by direct interaction with the class. Any conversation or discussion taking place would not be interrupted by the teacher pausing, turning her back to write, and then trying to re engage students with the information. In this way, the placing information for everyone to see and m aintaining open lines of communication. Finally, this technology facilitated the understanding of the process of modeling tracking the reading and making connections with the images and content When Ms. Poppy tracked her reading with a pencil and underli ned or circled, for example, students were able to clearly see and mimic the process. An illustration became a very i mportant aspect of the text, as the teacher modeled how to glean information from the image. Th is kind of practice could help students lear n to identify and discriminate important chunks of information that might be needed in the future. In short, the processes of simultaneously tracking the reading, maintaining increased synchronicity, highlighting
138 important information, visually checking fo r understanding, and directing attention were For the most part, teachers were the sole users of this technology. Few of them (M s Ladasha and Ms. Lana) used the technology in ways that diverg arise from several possibilities, including experience (or inexperience) with technology, technology preference, preferred teaching method, and preferr ed strategies used to achieve objectives. First, the technology initiative in which these teachers participated may have influenced the type of technology they integrated in the classroom. Perhaps their training favored the use of document readers, project ors, and computers. Second, customary use of print for instruction easily transfers to the use of the computer, projector, and document reader to facilitate access to the information. For example, traditionally teachers have had to write on the board and have students take notes, photocopy information, or rely on verbal dissemination. Similarly, a document camera can be used for project writing which may provide a safe and comforting way for teachers to experiment with and integrate technology In additi on, the observations that took place represent just part of the school year, which may not accurately reflect the spectrum of technology that may have been used throughout the year. 1.2 Visuals are important When teachers included visuals in their lesson, they emphasized their importance. Visuals helped provide an entry into a lesson (or section of a lesson) and ways: providing time for quick reflection, directly calling a ttention to visuals, and asking questions about the visuals.
139 E ach time teachers showed a visual, they allowed time for the students to see the image or images shown. Ms. Penelope for example, had a silent wait, watch, and continue approach. M ost of the time, Ms. Penelope would step up next to the projected visual, look at the students with slightly raised eyebrows, and wait for a few moments. Ms. Maria, Ms. Poppy, and Mr. George, like Ms. Penelope, would similarly allow a few seconds of silence and refle ction when a new visual was introduced before verbally directing attention to it. Mr. Rudy, Ms. Lana, Mr. Jesse, and Ms. Ladasha would ask a question ( e.g. W the visual in question bef ore waiting quietly a for few moments as the students examined the visual. During one lesson, s quick first look could emphasize the positive nature of the word genial, as it points to people being friendly. In addition, quickly reading the provided definition could help students to reach a general understanding of the word, which was an objective of the day. A fter the initial pause to look at the image, teachers encouraged a more focused exploration and reflection of the visuals presented. For example, during one of the science lessons, Mr. Rudy brought in a snake he caught in his backyard. He told the students the y would try to figure out what kind of snake it was. With the snake in hand, he walked around the classroom. When students asked what kind of snake it was, he repeated that they needed to look carefully at the live snake, as it would be their job to do an Internet image search to find out. By doing this, he emphasized the importance of obtaining quick first impressions of the snake,
140 which in turn would help students conduct a more precise search. In addition, he eir own learning. The snake served as an important visual, an to further explore what they were seeing. Calling attention to visuals and providing a few moments for students to see the m helped indicate and emphasize their importance to the lesson. By doing this, teachers invited student driven exploration of the visuals, allowing them to begin to make assumptions as to the information about to be explored and its relevance to the lesson Visuals provided an additional entry point to the lesson, calling for students to delve into their background knowledge the further teachers encouraged that initial image capture that would eventually lead to a deeper exploration of content and context. 1.3 Visuals have to be read Through inquiry, teachers encouraged their students to look at a visual as a whole and to isolate different elements to glean more meaning. Much like what readers do, they asked their students to chunk bits of information to bet ter understand the Their emphasis on the process suggested that visuals are not so simple that a cursory glance will do. Instead, teachers encouraged students to read visuals by helping them isolate content and directing stude This suggests that visuals have in a sense, elements of text that need to be read, such as structure, subject, and plot, which students can use to extract meaning, infer, and draw conclusions The teachers explored the subject of the visuals, t he meaning beyond a simple first glance, and especially the connections to the content or text of the lesson. For
141 example, Ms. Maria used a two dimensional map charting weather patterns that was color coded depending on the climate of each area. Ms. Maria : So when you look at these temperatures during the same time She runs her finger along the coast of California -of the year look at the temperatures here -she points -on the coast. Look at the temperatures inside the valley she slides her fingers along t he valley temperatures on the illustration on the right Field notes: When the teacher slides her finger over the information, she stops to look at the class, eyebrows slightly raised. She points and pauses, waiting expectantly. After giving students a few moments to look at the information, she isolated parts Ms. Maria encouraged students to think about the visual representation of temperatures in the valley and the numbers p rovided in the table. She emphasized the importance of all of the elements in the table, including color, from which to gain information. By doing this, she encouraged students to think of visual elements as text features (i.e., visuals can be read) In ad dition, s as well as pointing, as an orienting strategy, ascribing importance to particular parts of the data. She ask ed students to think about the content, the context, and what they already know in order to read into the visu al. Similarly, Ms. Penelope used language to isolate information in a visual. Ms. Penelope: What does this guy look like in this picture? She keeps a finger pointed on the image of the man on the right. Now what does his face she slides her hand over the say? She emphasized that the image is trying to say something to the viewer. She suggests that images are structured intentionally (there is a message in the cartoon visual grammar to engage with when looking at images (the face is arranged in such a way as to communicate information), and that the visual text
142 might be similar look s like, implying this is something the students have seen or ex perienced before.) By doing this, she asks students to carefully engage with visuals and look beyo nd a simple first glance This suggests that visuals are one way to glean information. S he wants them to form relational connections by looking beyond the sim ple first glance. It may encourage reflection questions such as: have I seen this before? Have I looked like that or felt like that before? Have I seen anyone look and feel that way and why? Ms. Maria, Ms. Penelope, and the other teachers helped structure the process of reading visuals, emphasized the skills needed to read different types of visual s, and emphasized that taking time to read visuals is a necessary aspect of better understanding them. Theme 2: Visual contextualization Where information captur e meant seeing a visual, visual contextualization might be thought of as looking, where more meaning and deeper connections are established with what is seen. Specifically, I use the term visual contextualization to refer to the use of multimodal strategie knowledge, enhancing comprehension, and encouraging different ways to connect with the content. To do this, teachers used visual, verbal, and non verbal cues to model ways to discriminate key inform ation from the visuals they employed. For example, they used basic visual elements such as lines and color to isolate information, used particular vocabulary to direct attention, and used their bodies to provide other visual cues, such as placing hands to their temple to indicate a headache. 2.1 lesson, teachers asked three kinds of questions: questions about the content ( W ha t
143 information is here?) inference questions ( W hat do you think will happen?) and reflection questions ( I s this what I expected? How does this relate to my experiences?). Through inquiry, students were tasked with investigating the visuals they were shown and then sharing their findings with words. Simply put they began to construct meaning from the visuals as they answered questions that guided them along several thinking paths. By encouraging the externalization of understandings of th e visuals presented, teachers could make adjustments to, or ask, new questions, or help line of inquiry of visuals presented the potential for higher level questioning including the definition underneath the word T o the right of the text was an image of a blond woman dressed in red clothes standing behind a table with presents in several stages of gift wrapping who seems to be rushing Ms. Penelope: What is this cartoon that looks like Ms. Penelope? What is she doing? Raise your hand. Students respond and then Ms. Penelope points to the next student and listens to the response. What day do you think this is? She places her hand over the center of the image and listens to the Christmas Eve. Ok Once she allowed a few moments for the students to look at the image and make initial connections, Ms. Penelope began her line of invited students to verbalize what they saw, encouraging them to voice their observations and initial assumptions. What are they seeing? What is happening in the picture? In the process of activating prior knowledge, she also aided students in creating meaning from the image by asking them to find commonalities between the image and their teacher. The woman in the picture looks like Ms. Penelope. What is Ms.
144 Penelope doing? By making the image more relevant, she is perhap s fostering more relational connections. For example, instead of wondering what that woman is doing, students could begin to wonder why Ms. Penelope relates herself with the woman in the picture. What is it that these women have in common? Through inquiry, students are encouraged to think of what Ms. Penelope is doing wrapping presents in the image and why she is rushing. Initial, factual lines of inquiry help establish connections to the visual, while visual cues, such as the teacher running her hand over working hands are located, also push the students to reach for answers from their own the informatio n they gleaned to figure out something that is not explicitly stated in the slide: With this question, students are tasked with gathering all of the information they gleaned from the visual to make an educated guess based on what they know (background knowledge), what they know about Ms. Penelope and the information she has given (relational), and what is present in the visual itself (content). Once that initial line of inquiry was exhausted, Ms. Penelope provided an explanati on of the vocabulary word and moved on to asking questions that encouraged students to reflect on the knowledge they acquired by using it to think about themselves. Ms. Penelope: I am quickly doing it because Christmas is in just a few hours and I am excit edly doing it because I love Christmas and I love to give gifts to you do feverishly? Raise your hand and tell me. Ms. Penelope a sked students to consolidate and apply what they discussed and begin internalizing that
145 information by creating new connections to the content. Visuals in this part of the process of visual contextualization served as an activating mechanism and entry poi nt into the concept being taught in order to enhance comprehension. In similar ways, all teachers followed this line of inquiry that lead to using different strategies to enhance comprehension beyond the initial activation o f background knowledge (Table 4. 5 ). Table 4 5 Content questions Inference questions Reflection questions Ms. Maria: Are we seeing some extremes in the temperatures? Why is there such a big difference? Is that righ t? Mr. Rudy: What does the large intestine do? What do you think is different? Do we agree with that? Ms. Ladasha: How many pages shorter is this book? How would I find that out? Ms. Lana: What is a level? If this is level what will my pen do? Okay is it level? How do you know? 2.2 Ways to enhance comprehension To enhance comprehension of content, teachers used basic visual components ( e.g. (by demanding thei r attention) and encourage a deeper exploration of the ideas behind the visuals used. By first isolating content, teachers suggest that using basic visual components to identify key information is one way to facilitate learning. In addition, in directing gaze to parts of the information, teachers foster deductive reasoning, which in this case involves gleaning a general idea of the visual before exploring its parts. Such exploration can lead to deeper analysis of visual data than with simple info rmation capture.
146 For example teachers used colors to emphasize particular pieces of information. During a math class, Mr. George kept switching between green and black when working out the problems. In addition, he was explicit when using the colors and he made sure that stude nts noticed a color difference Mr. George: So I'm going to work backwards with these words. I have all the factors. Now I want the common factors F ield notes : He points to the words on the board. The problems are in green and his process is in black. I t is i nteresting to note that while Mr. George wrote the problem in green and the process in black, he did not explain why this was important to consider. During the interview with Mr. George, when asked about his use of color, his e xpectation of the students was to have them differentiate ideas and chunk the information using color. Mr. George: I think I was changing colors to differentiate ideas L ike I was talking about chunking before or maybe different ideas are different steps to how to solve a math problem -that's probably why I do it While the expectation here is for students to discriminate both pieces of information, students have not previously been explicitly taught how to use color for their learning. Mr. George, then, is using color to implicitly encourage students to separate these ideas in their minds (internally), by associating problems with the color green and the process with black. I t is an invitation to construct meaning using color and his explanation. Ms. Pen elope used color in a similar way when teaching her studen ts about prefixes. During one class, she identified prefixes by separating them from the base word and assigning the prefix a color (orange). She then wrote down the meaning of the prefix in another color (pink). When asked about her reasons for using color in her
147 Ms. Penelope: I try to get them the funniest or the most entertaining picture -a colorful picture. I did not w ant to stick with the black and white. I always look for the cutest or the coolest looking s omething that was appealing to their eyes that they wanted to look at did not mind looking at. Ms. Poppy also emphasize d the use of colors to isolate and/or highl ight specific information. In this case, Ms. Poppy was teaching a lesson on how to write an expository essay. She placed two cardboard signs with information on how to write an expository essay on the whiteboard. The process had been sectioned off by the c olors red, blue, and green, respectively Ms. Poppy also included explanations on how students could present their ideas by using dialogue and similes. These were color coded in purple and orange, implying they are also of importance, but not necessarily p rimary importance. When asked about why she uses color for teaching writing, like the others, she emphasized difference. She mentions that by using various colors, students will implicitly be focused on the difference between different aspects of writing, such as a main idea vs. details. Ms. Poppy: They don't have much writing background and to help them to distinguish, like, if I wrote an introduction in green and then I went to the main idea paragraph in purple, it helps them understand that these are tw o different paragraphs. The introduction has its own purpose and then the main idea has its own purpose. Then the rest of the paragraph in black and then I underline the details that support the main idea and it just helps them distinguish and understand that those paragraphs are different. They all were related but they had different purposes. 2.3 Ways to connect with the content In another aspect of providing visual contextualization, teachers constantly encouraged students to connect with the visuals an d content they provided in different ways. They fostered three kinds of connections: text to self text to others and text to text (including visuals). Drawing from a previous example, Ms. Penelope used language
148 to make connections of her own to a visual she presented during a vocabulary lesson Ms. Penelope: I am quickly doing it because Christmas is in just a few hours and I am excitedly doing it because I love Christmas and I love to give gifts to people, ok? Use that word fev erishly in a sentence for me. What would you do feverishly? Raise your hand and tell me. Ms. Penelope used language to provide a possible interpretation as to why the woman in the picture feverishly ( i.e., quickly and excitedly) wraps presents. She made a connection to the image, stating that she look ed like the blond woman in the picture. She completely assume d the role and use d the word and its definition in her explanation. She use d language to reconstruct the meaning of the visual, thus inviting stude nts to do the same. She invite d them to establish a personal connection to the concepts discussed and provide alternate interpretations of the image, as well as take ownership of the word and use it in various contexts. Some teachers directly asked their s tudents to make these kinds of connections and explained how doing so can be useful. For example, Ms. Lana talked about symbols that can help remind us of people: Ms. Lana: Do we have other symbols to remind us of people? Do we use other symbols to remind us of people? Maybe pictures can help remind us of people. Ms. Lana emphasized how pictures and symbols can help trigger internal responses and internalization of information. She encouraged students to make a personal connection, and to perhaps think of p ictures they have in their homes and how that helps them remember people or experiences. By relating in this way to the visuals presented, students are impressed with the importance of tapping into their background knowledge combined with the visuals they may have available. Relational connections with visuals are made important and are one way to explore content.
149 and to think about those experiences vicariously. For example, during a disc ussion of suffixes, Ms. Lana asked students to recall a previous lesson and a news article relating to one of the words they had discussed. Ms. Lana: Some of you laughed when we came up with that word a couple of days ago and I was thinking about it. Did you -did any of you all see on the news where a woman ha d been attacked by a chimpanzee? He literally had surgeons had rebuilt -she spread her hands in front of her face, putting on a pai ned look -put a partial face back on her but she was actually faceless for a while. What is it, student? Student response. Yes it was horrible. But yes some of you all were like, I've never heard of faceless -she matches her expression and voice, mimicking how the students had reacted -and I said but what if they had? And I was thinking about that story. Ms. Lana tasked students with several actions. First, she asked them to recall a tualized the word in a scenario some of them had recently seen on the news, thus attaching a different set of thoughts and emotions behind the word. Ms. Lana then put on an at tack, emphasizing the severity of the word. The students were encouraged to imagine st faceless. Finally, teachers asked students to make connections to various texts. In the following example, Ms. Ladasha was in the middle of a science lesson where the s tudents were reading about and discussing rocks. After they looked at, read, and
150 talked about the properties of a rock, she asked about their importance. Her question was met with silence, interrupted by the occasional whisper and turning of pages in a tex tbook. She tried again: Ms. Ladasha: She puts on a confused facial expression and a finger against her temple As she talks she shakes her head as if she has forgotten something important Why are rocks important ? W hy do we care about rocks? The teacher is asking students to synthesize and make connections between the question and the information they have just finished discussing from the text. The expression could encourage students to draw from the text, the class discussion, and their opinions in orde details that can be found in a book; it asks for students to provide a rationale for their W information. Theme 3 : Internalizing information Internalization of information is an intricate process that is not separate from any process in teaching and learning. By internalization, I am referring to a construction of meaning that occurs in the mind of an individual via an organization of information that can encourage understanding. As This is not something that can be seen, but it is something that is encouraged through extern al processes to aid meaningful engagement with content which increases the probability of deep understanding. Encouraging internalization can happen at any and every point in the teaching and learning process I have separated the concept here to emphasiz encouraging this process through the use of visuals. In multiple attempts to encourage
151 internal reconstruction of external processes, teachers asked students to copy, identify, analyze, or repeat the information from the visuals pre sented. 3.1 Visuals as mnemonic devices Teachers used a lot of visuals they created themselves, us ing components such as lines, color, and shape all of which are basic elements of visual learning. They used these visuals as mnemonic devices. A mnemonic d evice serves as a memory aide. For person remember a name ( e.g. Sad Brad). Likewise, teachers used many visuals to encourage students to remember concepts. Th e most freque nt visuals included colors, lines, and circles wrapped concepts in animal and other figures and the use of bodies to create mnemonic devices. For example, in one of her l anguage a rts classes, Ms. Penelope encouraged her students to create mnem onic devices for new vocabulary using body movements. For encouraged students to come up with their own movements, but would supply them if needed and she would encourage them to cop y the movements. When some of the emphasized the importance of the movements to help trigger recall by opening her arms wide : Ms. Penelope: I need to see everybody doing th is to help you remember she models opening her arms again Visuals, then, help learners internalize information by helping to scaffold processes through visual stimulus and recall. Other mnemonic devices were created using basic visual elements (e.g., line and color). In math class, for example, Mr. Jesse
152 encouraged students to copy his strategy of wrap ping concepts in animal and other figures the most prominent being a turtle head. He used different color markers, such as red and green, to draw an outline of a turtle around numbers in a numerical equation to help students complete the multiplication process with two numbers. The turtle head served to help students recall the order of the process needed in order to effectively solve the equation. In anothe r math class, Mr. George used a rainbow to aid students in organizing numbers to factor. The rainbow blocked in the numbers students were working with, limiting the range of numbers they used to solve the factoring problem. The basic shapes used by these t eachers provided structure and repetition, which served as 3.2 Asking questions to analyze visuals In previous sections I have emphasized how t eachers asked different kinds of questions throug hout their lessons. I emphasize inquiry within the internalization process to highlight how teachers encouraged students to ask questions that fostered analysis of visuals and the content. Analysis aids in the internalization process, as it represents an e xternal operation that draws on the knowledge and sheds some light on the thinking of the learner. Teachers used inquiry to continuously draw out more information from the students. In a science lesson, Mr. Rudy provided students with planet cards. Each co ntained a picture of a planet and text. Through inquiry, Mr. Rudy asked the s tudents to identify what they saw on their cards and began a brief analysis to help them determine how they would group the cards together. He limited the possible ways students c ould group the cards, encouraging thinking beyond basic information (such as
153 grouping them by size alone) Once students had completed their groupings, he then again tasked students with analyzing their groupings. Mr. Rudy: This is the correct order -he gl ides his hand along the line of planets -laid out by distance from the sun. The distances are not real accurate but the order is correct. He pauses to correct behavior B ased on your groupings, do you notice anything in particular about the planets? What d id you notice student? Student response. What did you notice? Did you see any comparisons that related to each other? Student response. For example, how many of you looked at the number of moons and the distance? Did the number of moons have anything to d o with the distance? Student response. Well look at this. H e points to parts of the image H ow many moons does Mercury have? Student response. None. How about Venus? Student response. Earth? Student response. Mr. Rudy: So -H e glides his hand along the plan ets in these first four planets the farther away they get they get more moons right? Did you notice anything from Jupiter to Neptune? How many moons does Jupiter have? Student response. F ield notes : He continues to point to each planet as students respo nd Mr. Rudy: So -H e points to a section of the image from here to here they get bigger. From here to here they get smaller. That is a pattern isn't it? Student response. Did you know that our solar system has what is called an inner set of planets and a n outer set of planets? Based on the moons, could you decide which are the inner and which are the outer? Through several interactions with the visuals, the students were asked to use the cards to construct meaning based on their previous discussions of th e material and what they knew of the planets. T hey were asked to identify different components, question their groupings and to look closely at details in each card, emphasizing the
154 information to be gathered from a closer inspection. For instance, Mr. Ru dy asked them what they noticed about the planets a s they were grouping their cards. Had they noticed thinking processes and helped Mr. Rudy determine how to structure t he questioning from there, to fill in any information the students may have missed. The teacher was constantly going back and forth with the information, each time helping students uncover more information from an analysis of the visuals. After asking wha thinking which involved the identification of information and repeated analysis : Mr. Rudy: Did you see any comparisons that related to each other? For example, how many of you looked at the number of moons and the distance? Did the number of moons have anything to do with the distance? How many moons does Mercury have? Through this inquiry, Mr. Rudy tasked students with several challenges. First, to access what they know about making comparisons. Second, to think about how making comparisons can help them make inferences and reach conclusions using the data they have. Third, they needed to look at their groupings again and make comparisons to satisfy the earlier question W the material students had already engaged with, the teacher guided students to process the information several times in order to pick up on details and nuances that are usually grasped after rep eated interaction with the visuals. Theme 4: Externalizing information Like internalization, externalizing information can be encouraged at any and every point in the teaching process. Externalization in this context refers to using information gleaned fr om visuals in a social setting to construct or reconstruct
155 knowledge using learned / internalized information by creating new material and present ing the material learned by using visuals and other modes. In other words, it is showing external applications o f internal processes. Visual learning and communicating suggests a constant process of external (social) and internal (in the head) negotiation (Genishi & Dyson, 2009). While these processes of internalization and externalization may happen constantly and simultaneously, I have separated them to facilitate discussion of the findings. In multiple attempts to encourage students to demonstrate their grasp of concepts taught through visuals, teachers asked students to explain, create visuals, and present inform ation using multiple modes. 4.1 Summarizing content Teachers constantly encouraged a construction and reconstruction of content. In some cases, teachers asked students to summarize their learning using manipulatives, text, and/or images. By having students summarize what they know, teachers were able to tell if students could discriminate key ideas as opposed to focusing overmuch on details. In other words, teachers asked students to use various visuals to help them glean student understanding by observing external applications of expected internal processes. Nearing the end of a unit, for example, Mr. Rudy asked students to summarize their learning of how solar systems form through text and pictures. Mr. Rudy: Y our assignment today is to draw a series of p ictures showing how solar systems form. I want to see in your labels the words supernova nebula planetesimals star and planet. I want to see those words okay. Write a description of what's happening in your picture. It doesn't have to be a long descri ption -just a few words. The teacher is reinforcing the concept of only highlighting key information. In this case, the visuals will help highlight the written information and provide a few more
156 important details that are helpful when synthesizing and summ arizing information. In another example, Ms. Penelope asked students to demonstrate their knowledge of prefixes using PlayDoh . Ms. P enelope: W e are putting PlayDoh on your napkin okay. Now if you can, show me a sub word. You can explain it to me and jus tify your answer with your sculpture -she holds up the tub of dough in her hands that's fine. I am going to check your sculpture and you are going to have to explain it to me. Just be real brief T ell me what it means and how it deals with sub -she point s to the word on the board meaning below or under. Similar to what Mr. Rudy asked her students to do, Ms. Penelope asked students to apply their learned knowledge by creating a visual and then explaining the visual they created. However, t hey were not only tasked with demonstrating learned knowledge, but also had to provide explanation and justification. Th is serve d to deepen the were internalizing the content. 4.2 Teaching others Teachers also asked students to prese nt their information to others in a way that would reinforce the content they learned in class. Students were tasked with re teaching the content to their peers. In doing so, teachers were asking students to determine the most important aspects of the cont ent and figure out how best to present it to their peers. These presentations happened informally and at times were impromptu through out the lessons. S tudents usually presented small parts of the lesson at a time. During a mathematics lesson, for example, Ms. Ladasha reviewed ways to multiply two digit numbers. The class was using small dry erase boards to work through the problems. One student wanted to share what he remembered from the previous lesson, which Ms. Ladasha encouraged.
157 Ms. Ladasha: Student i s showing us what we learned yesterday. I love it. Student, can you remind us -can I show everybody? Student is reminding us what we learned yesterday. We learned a lot about zeroes didn't we? Let's look at : 90x20, prove it. She's holdi ng up a white board showing the problem 90x20. Students talk. Prove it. Prove it to me. You can't tell that he's got a comma. She points to the whiteboard That is actually a comma. She hands back the whiteboard. Prove it. Student said you're suppose d to multiply it. Hold on, hold it up as yelling out. We are not yelling out. A student asks a question 90x20 Students hold the whiteboard to show their answers Okay here we g o, going to prove it. Ms. Ladasha grabs the whiteboard and says She called on a student and said it please? Ms. Ladasha stresse d the importance of not just showing processes, but explaining and helping others walk through them. She modeled these processes. First she reinforced ed the student to take another s tep in the process, where he ha d to prove what he did is correct. This emphasize d the idea that being able to complete a process is not sufficient S tudents were asked to reflect on the processes and encouraged to self monitor and self correct. B y using th e white board to create their own visuals to explain the process, Ms. Ladasha and the other teachers encouraged the students to access their understandings and organize them in a way that others might use to comprehend the material. Analytical insight s fro m interviews Insights from the observations helped me understand t he thoughts driving the processes teachers followed when using visuals in a technology enhanced
158 environment. These processes, which I have called the Visual Spiral Framework (VSF), include h ow teachers invited students to engage with visuals, while they the teachers -provided contextualization for those visuals, facilitated internalization of content, and encouraged externalization of the material learned. In the next sections, I provide the analytical insights gained from the interviews with the teachers. The interviews helped me explore the reasoning and purpose behind these processes, as well as the beliefs that drove teachers to use visuals and technology for instruction. Findings are orga nized by themes from the analysis of the data. Findings from the interviews perception of visuals and reasons for using visuals and technology in their te a ching. O ne reason teachers used technology for example, was to facilitate stude nt access to visuals. The use of visuals was driven by a belief that visuals facilitate initial learning processes, engage students, foster connections to information, facilitate recall, increase confidence, and facilitate a spiral of learning that potenti ally leads to an increase in critical thinking. Finally, connections to content. The next sections provide further detail and insight into the findings. Theme 1: Navi gating technology Throughout the processes observed in the classrooms, teachers used technology in several ways for instruction to facilitate access to visuals and increase student engagement For instance, when teachers encouraged quick information captur e, most of the time they used the computer, document camera, and projector to show students different resources. I thought about the guiding questions for this study, which ask what teachers are doing with technology and what they are trying to
159 accomplish when using it It was important to learn preferences and reasons behind the use of technology in the classroom in order to answer these questions. Looking more closely at what they used and why I was able to determine several things. First, the mentioned the technology they used in the classroom, how many years they had been using technolo gy, and their willingness to try new technology. Further exploration of their thoughts on what it means to be technology savvy revealed preferences and other practices they considered important. I found that teachers emphasized show and tell technologies a nd encouraged students independent exploration of technology as part of reaching mastery. Second th e use of hardware mostly depended on their profe ssional development experiences as well as past experiences Third when choosing technology for instruction teachers considered the format and content of the resources to determine their usefulness for instruction e.g. increasing motivation to engage with the content F i nally they cited several reasons behind their use of technology, in cluding ease of access and increased synchronicity. The next sections further discuss these findings and provide examples 1.1 Technology used for teaching Despite the availability of different kinds of technology at their school, teachers in this study pu rported a preference for show and tell types of technology This is consistent with what I observed in the classrooms. I asked teachers what was t he type of technology they liked to use in the classroom and f or the most part, teachers used a combination o f computer/laptop, overhead projector, and document camera.
160 Mr. Jesse: Definitely the overhead projector and the document camera Mr. Rudy: I am constantly using PowerPoint and things like that and I would have something up on the screen so there' s usua lly something every day f r om me for the kids depending on the availability of the computer s. Ms. Penelope: I like to use a lot of technology primarily during teaching time: my computer, the document camera, projector screens. After you left me, we actually did research projects and Prezi presentations on iPads Ms. Maria: Now that I have my document reader and they can see it and everybody can see it at one time -where 13 years ago or 18 years ago all I had was a n overhead projector unless the paper wa s see through there was nothing to see. Ms. Poppy: I use the document camera the projector and my laptop. Ms. Lana: I use my document camera all the time along with my computer. I will, like, create sentences on the computer in Word and then use the docu ment camera with the projector to put it up there. That's how we do a lot of our grammar skills responses were mostly limited to technology they were currently using, with the rare mention of other or similar technology they had used in the pas t or expected to use in the future such as iPads Possibly, teachers may have been influenced by the technology that was touted during their professional development experiences or, perhaps, they readily took up only technology that was in school. Howeve r, the use of this technology also suggests that traditional teaching mores might also have influenced their technology preferences and uses. For example, w hen teachers spoke about technology that facilitates show and tell strategies ( e.g. the document ca mera), t hey purported their ease of use and of the possibility for increasing (I further explore their reasons for using technology in the next sections ) Technology, then, presents another way to facilit where a lecture is accompanied by a visual. As teachers explained or lectured, the technology
161 away from the teacher and to the visual. Us ing technology that allows for show and tell strategi es potentially facilitates the same processes we have known to be part of traditional classrooms However, because the visual becomes a focal point (instead of just the teacher), students are given the opportunity to engage in other cognitive processes to help them tackle the content by multitasking (Hicks, 2011) 1 .2 Ways to engage with technology Teachers encouraged the use of show and tell technologies and shared the ways in which they e ngage with technology to become technology savvy or technology experts. In order to become technology savvy, they played around with technology, attempted to master one delivery system at a time, and model ed technology for other teachers. They emphasized t eachers seeing themselves as learners and pacing themselves before using any technology in the classroom. Importance was given to teachers feeling comfortable enough with using the resources in the classroom and accepting that, at times, students would be the experts instead of the teachers. Mr. Jesse: I think just start slow pick one way you want to use technology to help your instruction and try it and get really good at that before you try something different I think you do not get overwhelmed that w ay I think that from a management standpoint if you are trying to take on too much and you don't know what you are doing you will probably lose the class and therefore you will lose any benefit that you would have had by using it Part of becoming comfort able with technology included playing with it. Teachers encouraged ignoring any set of instructions a computer, for example, may bring and to instead leap into the technology. Mr. Rudy explained his choice to obviate instructions: Mr. Rudy: I can't thin k of any other way of saying it than that if you are not playing with it with the technology you're not ever going to learn I f you sit down and you are thinking that you have to write down all of the steps and then you expect your kids to sit down and w rite step one to step three that's just not
162 going to work T hat's just not the way that computers are built today Y ou know I don't think I've open ed the manual for a computer in 20 years I don't read I do not get out a book and read about how to do it I think about what I need to do and I go searching for the menu to help me do that and I just try stuff and play with it What Mr. Rudy said speaks to the changes in our lives as technology has grown ever present While there are different kinds of new el ectronics and technology devices springing up on an almost weekly basis, certain aspects of technology are wel l ingrained in the minds of those who have experie nced it for years. The expectation is that the technology itself will help the user learn, at mi nimum, the basics of its function and operation. This renders outside explanations ( i.e. an instruction manual) superfluous. The assumption is that the children also know this and that their motivation and engagement with technology is dependent on their a bility to play around with it as soon as they are presented with it. In addition to playing around with technology, teachers highlighted their preference to see technology being modeled by other teachers. They showed an interest in knowing what others are doing in the classrooms with technology and how they are doing it so they could then use it in their own classrooms. Ms. Maria expressed her frustration at having to participate in professional development where the presenter would only talk to them about the technology they could use in the classroom. Ms. Maria: I can think of twenty things th at I'd much rather be doing than listening to someone talk to me. I would much rather go in and watch somebody. How are they doing it? And then I want to go back and try it. Seeing and m odel ing the use of technology was highly important for all teachers. For some of them, modeling has become a way they both learn about technology and teach others. It is a cycle of shared learning among peers. Much like the intuitive, hands on, playing with technology processes Mr. Rudy and others held in such high
163 regard teachers preferred to learn how to integrate technology in the classroom in much the same way. Ms. Poppy shared one experience where she modelled for a new peer. Ms. Poppy : W e have a new teacher on board with us right now and she's hesitant I modeled how to use it The students were sitting in front of the computer facing me and my back was to the board and I could see every kid I could see if they were getting it or not getting it S he liked it and she wanted to set up her classroom just like mine so that she could do it I told her, w ell you can also do the clickers where you have everything set up in the morning T he kids can come in and put their answers just for review I would tell her she could take the kids anywhere without leaving the room by using technology like that with a document camera and projector it's so convenient There is student engagement that's the key and they love technology Y ou can use i t to reinforce things that you've already taught Y ou can use it to teach new skills Y ou can use it to give them homework assignments : go home watch this video T omorrow come in and we will do hands on and we will learn 1 .3 What to look for when choosi ng technology for instruction When asked how they chose technology for instruction, teachers did not explicitly speak of hardware or software Instead, they prioritized the presentation of the content. This suggests that technology, which was present and u sed on an almost daily basis in all of the classrooms of this study, was not assigned as much importance as the format and structure of the information presented. In other words, teachers looked for sufficient coverage and relevance to the material in the lesson, not for what they could do with the technology or how they could creatively use it to enhance the lesson For example, teachers emphasized the need for certain features that they i ncorporated in their processes during instruction. This includes re sources where the information is chunked (which was very present during internalization processes) and ensuring an immediate, obvious, and explicit connection between the resource and the content being taught. For instance Mr. Jesse looked for resources m ade available
164 through technology where content was parsed into age appropriate, manageable pieces of information Mr. Jesse : I want to make sure that well first of all that the content is covered well Th is is covered well and that it's broken up into little -I guess chunks -where you are learning one part at a time. And they are learning a specific -I mean I want to make sure that at the very end of it they are learning only one thing and so yes I want to m Mr. Rudy added the need for resources to be connected to the teaching standards all teachers must adhere to. For him that served as a starting point that steer ed him towards technology resources that were relevant and provide d suffi cient coverage of the material to be taught. Both he and Ms. Lana specifically touted the usefulness of short videos to help meet the standards and provide something that is relevant to the material. Mr. Rudy: I search for what we are doing it is skill bas ed or standards based Y es that's the way we are teaching right now so that's when I am starting a lesson based on a particular standard S o that's where I start to use anything from D iscovery Ed videos to YouTube videos to S chooltube to anywher e I can find it -as long a s it's a video that is appropriate and I try to avoid longer videos unless I'm going to be absent I f I am teaching the class I want one or two short videos. Ms. Lana : I use my document camera all the time along with my computer I will like create sentences on the computer in W ord and then use the document camera with the projector to put it up there T hat's how we do a lot of our grammar skill s you show like little short YouTube I t's amazing the YouTube I have found that ha ve thirty seconds or less and they are so powerful to show the kids 1.4 Reasons for using technology been influenced by their participation in technology initiatives the availabi lity of technology in their schools and the ways technology may perpetuate traditional teaching mores Thinking about those influences I asked teachers to share their
165 reasons for using technology in the classroom. I found that teachers assign importance to how technology resources through vicarious experiences help increase synchronicity between teachers and students and help increase motivation to engage with the content. In the following example, Ms Lana emphasized the importance of providing students with vicarious experiences and gave examples of how technology helped facilitate including such experiences in her lesson By providing these experiences through technology, she was able to fill in any and enhance lessons. Technology resources represented one way to explore the world without leaving the classroom. Ms. Lana: I have found so many things I can show a thirty second clip and it does exactly what I want like for example we did a big story on sea creatures of the shor e up in Maine and it talked about all these creatures in the story and my kids had no concept of what it was that we were talking about even though there was a picture in the book they were like what is that? And I'm like how many of you have ever been to the beach ? I had several kids that had never even been to a beach before so this is extremely foreign to them S o I went home and I found thirty second clips of all of these different sea creatures that have been filmed in like aquariums in the seashore and I showed it to the kids and you should've hear d all of the ooohs and ahhs, this is so cool A nd you know it just gave them a little bit more of a frame of reference because you know t hey were totally lost For this teacher, seeing is one way for students to have a meaningful experience from which they can draw from. Other potential benefits of using technology include increased synchronicity and flexibility that technology such as the projector an d document reader afforded. Teachers expressed being able to constantly face their students allowed them to address concerns immediately, as it encouraged them to reflect more closely on what was happening in the classroom at any given moment. Ms. Poppy: I like to use my document camera because I can face my students and they are looking at the board and I am writing instead of turning my back
166 towards them. They can see what I am writing and it is projected to the screen behind me. Also, magazi -right there under the document camera. I can just put it under there and I can view whatever I am using. W e can read along together with the laptop. I can plug my document camera into my laptop and play Jeop ardy style games that I have created or we can do different types of games. To this teacher, facing her students during class time was important. Her negative or ineffective res ults. The technology allo wed her to continuously check for understanding and maintain the momentum of the lesson. In addition, t echnology facilitate d group learning experiences when reading together or playing educational games. Orienting student attention during every teachable moment is important and technology serv es as a conduit that provides ease of access and flexibility. Finally, increasing student mot ivation was important for the teachers in this study. They agreed that technology presents one way t o potentially increase student engagement with content. Mr. Rudy, for example, highlighted how students felt included and thus more motivated when he used the document reader and projector to share text with his students. Mr. Rudy: They just get a better g rasp of it I mean even when I was doing reading one of the things that I started doing was buying e books and projecting them. O r we would read a class book instead of me just sitting in front of the class reading from a book I started projecting the b ook on the projector and what I noticed was a lot more en gagement from the students than when I was reading the text and they can read along with me if I only have one copy of the book. I noticed a lot more engagement in the text rather than them just sitt ing at their desks because when they are just sitting in their desks and listening to me read S ometimes the kids get off track and draw pictures or they are otherwise engaged and not listening to the story. They were more engaged when they were looking at the screen with me
167 Theme 2: Visual literacy definitions Knowing how teachers construe visuals and visual literacy was relevant to answering what teachers are trying to accomplish when using visuals in the classroom. In other words, I wanted to learn the ways teachers understood visuals can aid in thinking, learning, a nd communicating. I found that teachers had a challenging time defining visual literacy, maintaining their focus instead on visuals as resources. Teachers agreed visuals are obvious, concrete and easily done, but slippery -that they facilitate internalization and externalization processes. 2 .1 Characteristics of a visually literate teacher Visual literacy here was explored only as it related to the teachers. Teachers reflected on their own pra ctices and how visuals promote visual thinking, learning, and communicating. They mentioned different ways to use visuals and, similar to their preference when learning technology, to communicate with other teachers to learn new ways to integrate visuals i nto their teaching. When describing a visually literate teacher, t eachers said they should know what students are doing with visuals in their daily lives and they should be fearless in their use of visuals and focus on connections between the visuals and the content, as well as focus on engage students in the lesson. They emphasized the use of visuals without hesitation and the need for teachers to integrate different kinds of visuals in their instruction. Mr. Rudy: T here is no hesitation for me to pop up images on a projector or to search on the computer to look for interesting visuals to use in the classroom Y ou know there are some people and some teachers that just put something that's animated that has nothing t o do with the content I avoid that stuff like the plague and I don't really animate my power points to make things l ook flashy or fun Occasionally it's more productive because I want this or that to show better. Teachers need to keep up with that W e don 't have to play video games all day long like the kids but we ought to be familiar with what they are doing and that's one of the ways that they learn
168 Mr. Rudy highlighte d the importance of visual communication. He provided an example of an ineffective co mmunication when the focus is more on aesthetics and gimmicks than on the content of the visual itself. Visual communication should include a visual with a clear connection to the content, limited, planned, and purposeful animations, and knowledge of the d ifferent ways students learn. In addition to using visuals that have a direct connection with the content being taught, teachers also stated that educators need to have a balance between images and text to increase student thinking and investment in the le sson. Ms. Penelope emphasized visuals as one Ms. Penelope: V isuals should not be used just as visuals -they need to be used alongside with text or the concept that you r e teaching in order for at least t o jumps tart their thinking on a concept some sort of visual hook even if it's just the hook that you use that's visual I t's going to make them connect with it maybe personally on a personal level which is going to make them interested and engaged once you get t hem hooked interested and engaged personally connecting the likelihood of them buying into what I t's going to be way more than if you just said okay now learn about this [ and ] lecture on it all day The idea here is that when visuals ar e paired with text and the content being taught, the visual serves as a hook that fosters higher cognitive processes that lead to visualization and possible internalization of information. Teachers should know how to create that balance to foster initial t hinking processes that may lead to higher order cognitive processes. Student investment in the lesson is important for visual thinking and learning to take place. A visual hook is one way to foster those processes. Once students are invested and have begun the thinking process, then deeper meaning can take place. In order for deeper meaning ( i.e. visual learning) to take place, teachers should be able to glean meaning from visuals. They should be able to show their
169 students that meaning can be extracted fro m multiple sources, including image centric resources. As Ms. Poppy stated: Ms. Poppy: A teacher should be able to take the meaning of an image and interpret it and make meaning out of it T hat's what she's going to try to do for her students whether in m ath science reading or whatever the subject area I think it's very important for a teacher to be able to do that 2 2 All teachers agreed that using visuals for instruction present critical and powerful ways of te aching and learning. However, they also stated that visuals are easy. They are easily seen: when they are first captured by our senses, they immediately impart information without necessarily always having to transform symbols into meaning, as we do when w Ms. Poppy: Something the kids can view and they can see. Ms. Penelope: Something concrete that can be seen -obviously, it's a visual. Mr. Jesse: Anything that the student can s ee. Not always touch, but at least always be able to see that relates to whatever the content is or whatever the focus is for the day. Ms. Lana: It's there and I can look at it and go back to it refer to it. Ms. Maria: Pictures, videos, examples that I pro vide for them on the whiteboard. Mr. Rudy: Anything that has a picture, anything the kids look at. When asked to define visuals, a ll teachers included in their definitions the need -ana mentions, there is visual stimulation. Mr. Jesse expanded on this idea explaining that, lacking physical interaction, the visual needs to be something that relate s to class content,
170 be seen the further teachers tried to explain the concept, t he more they seemed to struggle with their explication. One teacher, for example, commented on both the explicit and implicit nature of visuals: but something concrete that can be seen --that helps a student connect the concept with the real world application part so that they can, you know, make it applicable and real in their life. lippery nature of visuals as a concept. At effective way to define visu als is to leave it in general terms ( i.e. vague terms). It is a definition that we seem to grasp even as it slips away. When thinking about visuals as a noun provides too blurry a direction, the definition turns towards possibilities achievable with visual s in the classroom ( i.e. visuals as verbs). In the previous example, the themselves, the content, and the real world. Visuals become not just a tool, but a conduit to self empow erment and meaningful participation in the world. They have the potential to be a slippery yet powerful ally in literacy learning. 2 3 Text as a visual During the teaching processes in the classrooms, teachers used many print centric resources. However, th ey made little distinction between these resources and the visuals they used for instruction. The boundaries between text and visuals were The idea of text as an image or a visual permeated the discourse of all of the teachers.
171 Ms. Penelope: They also take notes too, so that's part of their visual, you know, seeing it. I know I do a lot of anchor charts so that they, you know, see it written as far as, like, when they'r e taking notes. Mr. Rudy: In some contexts, text is a visual -text based. Ms. Lana: I thought of my visual writing aids that we have : the models, the writing models, Venn diagrams, our T charts that we use, sequencing charts -different aids like that. The assumption among teachers is that text is not always a visual, but can become one or be part of a visual. Some students were encouraged to add their own notes as part of a visual. Others were given visual writing aids, such as a T chart, where text is arranged visually. Teachers made a clear distinction when referring to texts as visuals and when they were not. illustration and the wr itten language will be just the text, so two different -a visual. I think the illustration would be mo re the visual to relate it to the reading context. The teacher emphasized a difference between the use of text for writing and for teaching writing and the use of text for reading. For writing, she sees text as a visual guide and a way to structure content towards the purpose of communication. The focus seems to be on paragraphs and writing models as particular forms that shape content delivery, thus transforming them into visuals. Tex t t hen, is perceived as a visual when the purpose of the text is communic ation and where there is focus on form (i.e., learning supporting details). To further explore this idea and determine its feasibility and robustness, I turned xplanations of their use of text as visuals. Some of the examples teachers
172 provided for text based resources they considered to be visuals included anchor charts, writing models, word walls, note taking, pocket charts, and sticky notes One teacher comment ed on her use of anchor charts: Ms. Penelope: Anchor charts --they also This examp this case, written information is shaped to help students visualize the content. The text s with e purpose of the writing here was to communicate content t o the students. It is important to note, however, that the students were helping to create the writing visuals themselves. The focus was on the form (notes) to help students recollect and make connections to content. The process was not passive and recepti ve, as it could be if they were readin g information from a book; instead it was active and creative. was construed as a visual, matching the notion of an active, creative process that involves both teacher and students creating and interacting with the text. Students were encouraged to make connections with the text as a visual, thus fostering increased comprehension of the material. Ms. Lana: My writing frames, my models -I like t o use those because it helps students visualize the introduction of an expository essay where the main idea is and why they have to give support for that main idea. I also like to use
173 scie nce or social studies like the timeline with their science projects -we use those [because] it just helps organize their thoughts better. This is another example that alludes to text as a visual to help students (in this case, an expository essay). The assumption here is that students follow the same steps or structure in order to communicate ideas in an expository form. For the sequencing maps, the text can be encased in squares or circles -something that separat es or chunks the information -to highlight the form and structure of the writing. Again, the idea of creation closely ties to the notion of text as a visual. Following these examples and analysis, it seems that for a text to be considered a visual, the foc us of text as a visual is on its form and structure in order to effectively create a completed, written piece. 2.4 What to look for when choosing visuals for instruction It was important to learn how teachers designed or chose visuals for instruction. I wa nted to know if they had a particular preference and if they felt visuals had to be designed in a particular way. I found that aesthetic is a very important consideration of the visuals used in the classroom, emphasizing the need for increased student moti vation and engagement in the lesson. In addition, when teachers looked for visually rich, technology enhanced resources to use in the classroom, visuals needed to be developmentally appropriate and interesting to the intended audience. One teacher stated t hat visuals should be : Ms. Penelope: S focus. We got to make it to where they understand where they are and funnies t or the most entertaining picture or colorful picture. I do not want to stick with the black and white. Always look for the cutest or coolest looking for the biggest and baddest. Something that was appealing to their eyes that they wanted to look at and did not mind looking at.
174 attention. Possibly, motivating students this way encourages them to pay attention and become invested in the lesson. Visuals can be funny, entertaining, colorful, cute, and bold in order to attract their audience. Teachers also assigned importance and relevance to visuals that helped provide in depth access to cont ent and that could help differentiate instruction. For example: level in that I know that the kids will enjoy watching it and keep their interest in and maybe explains it differently or explai ns it better than me. In teaching reading, a common recommendation to motivate struggling readers is to obtain texts of low readability and high interest. Similarly, this teacher recommends w er -in this case, videos -to maintai n high interest in the subject and to motivate students to make connections. It does not mean that visuals should not be challenging, but to provide another avenue for student comprehension. Theme 3 : Visuals as powerful and necessary ways to learn What are teachers doing with visuals in the classroom and what are they trying to accomplish? I found there was a striking contrast between what teachers thought of technology an d what they t hought of visuals for education While technology was deemed important and perceived as helpful when facilitating access, motivating students, increasing synchronicity during a lesson, and increasing backgro und knowledge, t eachers contextualiz ed the use of visuals as critical to teaching and learning literacy. I found that teachers saw visuals as powerful ways to facilitate content comprehension, help students establish several connections to the material, analyze
175 and review information, and de monstrate understanding The use of visuals for teaching and learning seemed to be so embedded in their psyche that it was hard for teachers to fathom any lesson without using some sort of visual. 3 .1 Visuals are critical to learning I found that all teach ers assigned importance to visuals for instruction. It was not For example: Mr. Jesse : I think [visuals] are critical. I think without the visual you're getting way les s learning than you probably could or should. assigned visuals significant power in the classroom. Visuals here could be construed as an invaluable aid : a bridge to literacy learning that is immediate and relevant Teachers mentioned that visuals afford a way use of visuals to help students internalize processes and understand concepts. Mr. Rudy: O ne my favorite thing s to do is have every kid be on the computer and let them do research and produce some kind of product. When they create something like PowerPoint and they have to present the information -like we did a project on the planet Jupiter earlier this year T hey had to d o research on the planet they had to find images for the end of the presentation -you know I think it was just five or six lines and we just spent a couple of days on it but they created the visuals to go along with the text so they understood a whole lot better what they were doing. You know when they get to choose which visuals they are going to use to go along with what they are presenting to me that's more powerful learning. Part of the processes observed in the classrooms internalization and externalization of content through visualization and the creation and presentation of visuals that served to show their understanding. Mr. Rudy reinforced that notion and explain ed what all teachers expressed: that v isuals are used to f acilitate student comprehension by establishing connections between the visuals and learning
176 and by providing students with opportunities to create and use their own meaningful visuals However, teachers also presented other important considerations for vi suals in literacy learning. According to teachers, visuals facilitate initial learning processes by engaging students aesthetically (visuals are fun), which increases student interest and engagement. This potentially leads to students beginning to make con nections to content, other visuals, and their experiences. Visuals become cues students can fall back on to facilitate recall, increase confidence in learning (visuals provide a safety net), teachers as well. One the classroom: Ms. Lana : Repetition and being comfortable with things and it's that spiraling, you know, so many times we teach things and then we go on but we should not do that. We need to go back and go back and a lot of the things that I'm using with irregular verbs. Well that chart is going until the last day of scho ol I Ms. L ana comment ed o n how visuals facilitate quick repetition and revisiting of content, which represents a spiral of learning. Within this spiral, learning via visuals is hel p us remember information. Continued use of visuals, however, fosters a way of learning that is spiraling because we go back to previous information through visual cues, reinforcing what is already known and adding to or applying the information in differe nt contexts. Visuals, then, help learners internalize information by helping to scaffold processes through visual stimulus and recall. Teachers keep going back to
177 seemingly simple processes that aid in bridging self to the content and establishing multiple connections to literacy, including visualization of the material. 3 .2 Students a s visual learners the lessons. They used language, mnemonic devices, body movements, and other r esources to encourage students to form a mental picture of the material. I found that this encouragement by teachers came from a deep rooted belief that all of their students were visual learners. While teachers acknowledged the existence and importance of multiple ways students learn, and that there are other types of learners in their classrooms, they touted image centric visuals as being more relevant to the ways students learn. Ms. Penelope emphasized that visuals help provide relevance and connections to the real world by helping the students visualize and concretize abstract concepts. Ms. Penelope: I think it is important I t's not the most important because there are kids who can learn kinesthetically auditory all those nice learning styles but I do think it is in order to make that I'm all about like real world real life why the heck am I learning this what good is it for me kind of thing. So I think it is important I t's definitely important because I think that visuals give that concrete aspe ct of the concept that you r e teaching I t makes it real for them. Y ou need to be able to visualize it I t makes it that much easier when we are instructing B ut those visuals are there because that's where it kind of hits home kind of thing It makes them realize all this is important and this is why ; here is how it shows me why and how it connects those concepts and makes it more real to them -that concrete part of it. In a d dition to visualizing and concretizing abstract concepts, teachers emphasized the need for the visual learners in their classrooms to manipulate i nformation by way of visuals. By doing so, teachers argued that it helped students increase their understanding of the material. Ms. Poppy, for instance, emphasized the
178 use of graphic organize rs to help students chunk information and organize it visually in order to increase comprehension Ms Poppy: M ore students I find are more visual learners I t helps instead of just telling them something for them to look at it as you r e instructing the m W hen we are doing the writing process if I just tell you how to do the writing process it just she waves in the air but if we sit there and write as we're doing it they can visualize it they can look at it using the computer W ith the visuals of a di agram just to use a Venn diagram and say how t w o books are different they can visualize them how the two books are different using that Venn diagram they can actually see it I think more kids are visual learners and it helps ined on visuals as a resource to help students learn, some teachers also gave examples of how visuals help their visual learners to communicate their understanding. This externalization of their internalization processes helped teachers determine how much students understood the material. Sometimes the visuals students used were far more effective in showing their understanding than what their written work showed. Mr. Rudy gave an example of a child who struggled with print literacy. Mr. Rudy: A lot of our kids are visual learners. There was one kid -he was probably the lowest reader in fifth grade W e re talkin g about a second grade level -may be first grade level -he ended up with one of the best pictures in the whole room and the best one sentence descrip tions to go along with th e pictures. He understood the process N ow when he wrote the paragraph the paragraph was atrocious but the pictures were really good so he understood the concept. And that's what we were after Finally, teachers emphasized that their visual learners depended on the visuals in the classroom throughout the year. Visual cues on the walls for example, helped and relevant information. Somethi ng that teachers constantly alluded to was how visuals helped conduct a spiraling review of the content
179 Ms. Lana: A lot of times the visuals can be brought back up or placed in the classroom or saved to bring back up so that helps kids constant reminder o f you know what they learned I t's easier to go back and look instead of me just telling them again -if it's on anchor charts somewhere they can refer bac k to it. The role of visuals is not just important, but of utmost importance, according to the teach ers in this study. They believe that most of their students lean more towards visual learning, while all of their students benefit in one way or another from the use of visuals for instruction. One implication is that visuals ar e critical to making connect ions relevant and useful. 3 .3 Teachers as visual learners When asked to share their beliefs about visuals and their rea sons for using visuals, teachers voiced their own mean ingful connections with visuals Most of the t eachers claimed that, much like their students, they were visual learners. Ms. Penelope : I really don't begin to teach without visuals. This is a prevailing statement that summarizes the undercurrent present i n all of the interviews. All teachers claimed to use visuals on a daily or near daily basis for the benefit of their students. However, five out of the six collaborator s (everyone except Ms. Poppy) also stated that they considered themselves to be visual l earners, especially growing up. These teachers assigned value and significa nce to visuals by establishing a life long personal connection and, in turn, forging connections to the perceived learning preferences of their students. W hen I asked how often she used visuals for instruction, Ms. Penelope answered: Ms. Penelope : Every time I teach. Pause Because I HAVE to. Because that's how I learned and I feel that the best way to describe it is to include visuals. I mean, we do a hands on something. I don't n ecessarily do hands on every
180 single time because it's not always conducive, but I always, you know, talk have that auditory part, but I always use writing something or drawing something or showing a video or using a picture all of it every time I teach I have to. For most of the teachers, personal experiences heavily inform ed current practices. I n this example, the teacher felt that including visuals is compulsory. Without visuals, her class might be incomplete and, therefore, not beneficial for he r stude nts. The language used denoted a yearning for the past and a desire to maintain personal connections thus forg ing new conn ections with the class. There was also an urgency or without, visuals. Mr. Jesse alluded to the possibility. He claimed that visuals s tave off boredom, which he remembered as a staple of his childhood student experience, where In addition, the teachers related to visuals even as adults, a fact they used to further concretize the idea that visuals are important and necessary for learning: Ms. Maria : I can think of twenty things th at I'd much rather be doing than listening to Mr. Rudy : When I'm trying to put s omething together, I can't read the instructions. I have to see it, you know, I have to see the diagram and I think kids are that way too, especially the young kids. Ms. Maria would rather see processes instead of hearing about them, suggesting that intera ction and possibly creativity play important roles in learning. Mr. Rudy stated but a preference, which he ascribed to his youngest students. This points to the ide a of spiraling review and learning. The seemingly back to basics approach has resulted in a preference as an adult but, at the same time, it is perceived as necessary in early learning experiences in order to facilitate the resolution of future problems.
181 I n this study, the majority of teachers e xpressed being visual learners. Some of the teachers claim ed it was more natural to gravitate towards visuals. The assumption here is that learning through visuals is one way of learning that is more easily facilitat ed, One teacher explained: Ms. Lana : I know myself --that teachers teach the way they learn the I look around the visual. So I make a lot of anchor charts and again even with technology I do a lot of keynotes or PowerPoint because -I think of the I can look at it and go back to it and refer to it. One of the claims this teacher is making i s that learning and teaching via visuals is natural -inevitably influence ways of te aching. But also, significance is assigned to visuals as pathways or bridges and as anchors to help think about the real world and make it tangible which the students live. In addit ion, this suggests that, without a visual, people may not necessarily form a connection to material so it does not feel real. Ms. Penelope : That's where it kind of hits home kind of thing. It makes them realize all this is important. 3. 4 Ways visuals faci litate internalization and externalization processes As I mentioned in previous sections, internalization and externalization processes happen ed throughout the lessons. They include ways teachers encourage students to process and share information to demon strate their grasp of the material presented. Teachers stated that one way to encourage students to engage with these processes
182 was to create their own visual Teachers had different ways in which they did this. One teacher had students perform math word p roblems: Mr. Jesse : They will actually perform [a] word problem. You can use that to discuss, you know, why did you [do that]? If they acted this thing out then I am thinking specifically for what operation you used. Why are we going to use multiplication, Acting out a word problem helps students visualize the problem itself, which can help make connections that lead to solving that particular problem. In this case, the teacher encouraged the creation of a visual representation of a math problem to aid with the internalization of processes. However, not all teachers requested the creation of external, concrete representations. Teachers also asked students to create a visual inside their own heads: Ms. Penelope : Sometimes it will their minds and visualize that and get that m ental picture. We did this with when we were reading Island of the Blue Dolphins I read a scene, I read it and I reread it and I reread it again and I made them make a mental movie. After I read that part to them, I made them create the scene on the long paper and later we read it and read it and read it and visualized that mental movie. The process of visualizatio n is complex. The teacher bega n by modeling visualization through the creation of a v isual. This was followed by encouraging the conscious proce ss of visualizing, in which students close d their eyes, blocking out all visual stimuli to depend solely on what they hear d and what they saw in their minds. The repetition of the reading material by the teacher possibly encouraged students to process info rmation a few times to pick up on details and nuances that are usually grasped after repeated readings. They were then asked to externalize that mental
183 ; to communicate it with others and demonstrate their understanding of the reading material. This reinforces the idea of a learning spiral where visuals are at the heart of grasping understanding and processing information. Students are encouraged constantly to create and communicate. This teacher went on to state that this process of creating these m ental movies provides practice so that when the students continue to read, they will default to this same process of visu alization, so that students can In short, visuals present a spiral of concrete vs. abstract knowledge and processes that allow for synthesis of the abstract the concrete and the unseen ( i.e. external to the classroom) concepts to encourage internalization of information. Summary In this Chapter, I presented data that sugge sts that when teachers are using meaning making, where text is still a big resource for instruction. In their lectures, teachers used various strategies as part of the visual spiral framework (VSF). These included using basic visual elements, non verbal cues, inquiry, activating background knowledge, and encouraging students to create visuals. First, teachers would encourage quick information capture, where they had information available in different modes for students to see. Second, teachers provided students with visual contextualization, where they included a series of visual cues and verbal explanation of the visual. Third, teachers encouraged the internalizing o f information, where they asked students to identify, analyze, copy, or repeat different aspects of information within the visuals employed. Finally, teachers encouraged the externalization of the
184 information presented. Students were expected to use the in formation gleaned from the visuals to construct and reconstruct knowledge, create new material, and/or present material learned by using visuals and other modes. I found that technology plays an important role in facilitating access to visuals and potentia lly increases student engagement, motivation, and enthusiasm. In addition, technology can offer access to the immediacy of visuals, which in turn afford opportunities where students can vicariously experience the world outside of the classroom walls. I als o found there is a blurred line between visuals and text where some text is considered a visual when the purpose is creation or communication of information. Visuals play an important role in learning, primarily to establish connections to the content, whi ch are revisited in future learning processes, creating a spiral of learning. In addition, teachers voiced their preference as visual learners and the need to offer similar experiences to their students. When teachers looked for visually rich, technology e nhanced resources to use in the classroom, visuals needed to be developmentally appropriate and interesting to the intended audience. In addition, I determined that, while teachers consciously used visuals for instruction, visual literacy tenets remain as be explicitly talked about, several visual literacy tenets were found implemented throughout the study. In the next chapter, I will discuss how findings relate to theory, practice, and future research.
185 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS Overview of the Study T he rise and momentum of image centric technologies in contemporary life visuals (Avgerinou, 20 07). Visuals, while image centric, are multimodal and can be found in confluence with other communicative modes such as sound, text, and video (Duncum, 2004) Within current conversations of what counts as necessary and important literacy, visual literacy has been emphasized (Sosa, 2009; Wilhelm, 2005) as another way of learning, thinking, and communicating in the 21st century. Furthermore, within contemporary, digitally connected environments, many scholars suggest the conscious integration of visuals in e ducation to offer additional opportunities to facilitate learning (Avgerinou, 2001; Debes, 1969; Fleckenstein, 2003; Fransecky & Debes, 1972; Grant, Hutchinson, Hornsby & Brooke, 2008; Portewig, 2004; Segovia Aguilar, 2010; Sosa, 2009). Image centric resou rces in the classroom are important for, and influence, literacy acquisition (Dyson, 1999; Johnson, 1990), not just in traditional learning settings, but within increasingly technology saturated, visually rich environments. There are several challenges to the integration of visual literacy in education. One challenge is that there are different understandings of what visuals are, how they may be used, and how they impact thinking, learning, and communicating, which has fostered some confusion as to how they may be used in instructional settings. In addition, r esearch has been limited to a few studies dealing with limited graphical representations, where the focus was on particular types of graphics, such as maps (Coleman, 2010). Much focus has instead been g iven to the design of visual materials
186 for the classroom, where an understanding of visuals is assumed (Omar, 2000; Portewig, 2004). Because of these and other challenges, research on what is happening with visuals in the classrooms has been lacking. There is a need to ascertain visuals in technology enhanced literacy instruction (Mayall & Robinson, 2009) Such integration of visual literacy tenets, inform future literacy considerations, inform practices, r aise new questions, and foster r eflection of current practices. This study, using an inductive approach, addresses this need and adds to the literature on vis ual literacy in the area of teacher practice. I asked the research question: How do fourth and fifth grade teachers who self identify as technology savvy educators describe their use of visuals during teacher directed, technology enhanced, literacy instruc tion? To better understand their responses, I asked two more guiding questions: What are teachers doing with visuals and technology in the classroom? What are teachers trying to accomplish when they use different strategies, methods, and/or resources? I wa nted to see how teachers used visuals as another way to encourage learning, thinking, and communicating in the increasingly heavily technological and visual contexts of the 21st century. Through videotaped observations and interviews I was able to explore enhanced classes, and how these beliefs relate to the ways teachers provide literacy instruction. To answer the research questions, I gathered data in two phases First I conducted observa tions in the classrooms, followed by semi structured interviews with
187 the collaborators. I used inductive domain analysis to explore the data as detailed in Chapter 3 Findings from the observations highlighted four processes teachers used when including v isuals in their instruction, which I call the Visual Spiral Framework. Teachers used this framework to encourage s tudents to use the information gleaned from the visuals to construct and reconstruct knowledge, create new material, and/or present material l earned by using visuals and other modes. Analytical insights from the interview s revealed that teachers believe technology facilitates access to visuals and However, t hey assigned more significance to usi ng visuals as one way to think, learn, and communicate. internalization and externalization of learning. The purpose of this chapter is to further discuss the con clusions of the study. It begins with the most significant findings and their relationship to conclusions of visual literacy literature. In the next sections, I discuss the links of findings to theory and practice, and the implications for future research. Summary of the Findings This study explored the practices of teachers in technolo gy enhanced environments who employed four processes to encourage visual thinking, learning, and communicating. Within the VSF, t eachers first encouraged quick information ca pture, where they had the material available in different modes for students to see engage with and reflect on. Second, teachers provided students with visual contextualization, where they included a series of visual cues and verbal explanation of the vi sual, inviting students to make several kinds of connections to the information presented. Third, teachers encouraged the internalizing of information, which demanded closer
188 engagement with the content, where they asked students to identify, copy, analyze, or repeat different aspects of information within the visuals employed. Finally, teachers encouraged the externalization of the information presented. Students were expected to use the information gleaned from the visuals to construct and reconstruct know ledge, create new material, and/or present material learned by using visuals and other modes emphasized the importance of using visuals to think, learn, and communicate. Teachers encouraged reflection, re lational connections, construct ing and reconstruct ing meaning, and internalizing information and externalizing information. They employed several strategies to achieve their goals including verbal cues, using/creating visuals as mnemonic devices, asking questions to analyze visuals, asking students to copy, identify, analyze, or repeat visual information, and having students summarize content and teach others using visuals Using basic visual elements fostered opportunities for students to di scriminate important information. Using non verbal cues helped emphasize the importance of g and using visuals as mnemonic de vices provided opportunities for students to engage with vocabulary. Asking different kinds of questions and copying, identifying, or repeating visual information afforded meaningful exploration of material. Using these strategies teachers pushed their st udents to engage meaningfully with visuals and to use them to visualize (think), learn, and communicate. Teachers in this study believe that visuals facilitate initial learning processes, engage students, foster connections to information, facilitate reca ll, increase
189 confidence, and facilitate a spiral of learning that potentially leads to an increase in critical thinking. In order to provide authentic and meaningful interactions with visuals in education, teachers used technology to facilitate access to v isuals and to potentially increase engagement, motivation, and enthusiasm for the lesson. They cho se or design ed visuals they felt were aesthetically pleasing, age appropriate, and offer ed students multimodal ways to access content. Finally, p rint centric resources formed part of how teachers taught with visuals, as text was perceived as a visual when the focus was on form and not so much on content. The findings are linked to existing literature and illustrate different strategies, methods, and resources t eachers may use to integrate the use of visuals for instruction. Discussion of the Findings This study reinforce d the use of visuals as an important way to encourage thinking, learning, and communicating in technology enhanced environments. In addition, t h is study adds to the body of visual literacy lit erature on three fronts. First, it belief s that drive these choices when using technology and visuals for instruction. Secon d, b y positing the ways in which these teacher s integrated visuals, this study help s highlight some existing teaching practices used to foster visual thinking, learning, and communicating. Finally, it supports the VSF as a basic framework that can provide a starting point for visual literacy integrati on and reflection in technology enhanced classrooms. choices Many of the studies extant explore teaching practices concerning certain types of graphic representations, such as graphic organizers (Coleman, 2010). There have been scant studies th at have looked beyond particular visuals used in the classroom. In
190 the purposes of materials used, and their expectations of what children are supposed to know when using visual materials, in hopes of establishing preliminary guidelines to using visuals in the classroom. Omar found that realistic, ready made print materials and textbooks were the dominant form used by teachers. In addition, it proved difficult to establish a guideline for classroom use, as no clear link appeared between design and purpose. T he parameter s choices in terms of what resources and methods they employed As technology facilitates acce ss to a wealth of materials and programs that allow teachers to create their own, looking i nto these choices provided more information on design and purpose. Having so many choices meant teachers were restricted to neither the traditional n or the innovativ e, which fostered a deeper reflection of what they felt they needed to include in their lesson to more effectively teach their students. For example, the technology used influenced which types of visuals teachers included ( e.g., the document camera facilit ated the sharing of traditional print resources), how teachers approached the content ( e.g., pointing, using visual elements, and creating visuals, for example), and the demands on students to participate, question, and connect with the material ( e.g., cre ating mnemonic devices, including their own visuals, and using visuals to present information). Teachers made several conscious choices when deciding to use technology and visuals for instruction. When choosing technology for instruction, t hey emphasized show and
191 resources as opposed to being passive receptors of a lecture. They considered the format and content of the resources to determine their usefulness for instruction, so as to inc ey used print centric resources. When choosing visuals for instruction, teachers looked for multimodal resources, such as manipulatives, interactive videos, graphs, and clipart. Students were considered the colors, formatting, and relationship to the content of the lesson. how and why they incorporated the above mentioned visuals and technology for teaching perceptions of themselves and their students as visual learners. They expressed a need to include visuals in their pedagogy because that is how they learned. They believe d visuals facilitate initial learning processes, engage students, foster connections to information, facilitate recall, increase confidence, and facilitate a spiral of learning that potentiall y leads to an increase in critical thinking. In addition to teachers connecting previous experiences with how they integrated visuals, their expressed beliefs on what constitute visuals further inform how they designed instruction. One of these beliefs is that text can be a visual if the focus is on form. For example, a hamburger is a popular metaphor for writing a structured essay. The buns represent the introduction and conclusion, while the meat and other additions represent detail. The formatted writing itself speaks to this metaphor, facilitating
192 visualization of where the different parts are located. Students can identify the introduction, for example, without knowing or having to read the content. While this study helped illuminate some links between design and purpose, as with previous st udies, this remains a challenge (Omar, 2000). Part of the reason for this w as stated were their beliefs and what I observed in their practice. Where some teachers remarked how visuals fostered higher order thinking skills, for example, there were very few instances where this was encouraged in the classroom. The potential for deep analysis, however, was present in the line of inquiry w henever there was a discussion of visuals. These findings reinforce what many proponents of visual literacy have called for: a need to establish commonalities of visual literacy across the disciplines (Avgerinou, 2001; Brill, Kim, & Branch, 2007; Clark Ba ca, 1990; Messaris, 1994; Moriarty, 1997; Seels, 1994). Understanding of visual literacy would depend on the discipline and context. In the case of education, this could mean establishing a framework for an educational visual literacy that includes a defin ition, emphasizes a process for teaching, and fosters visual thinking, learning, and communicating. In the following sections I further discuss these ideas and present the VSF as a basic framework for educational visual literacy. Teachers and the Visual S piral Framework (VSF) practices and strategies involving visuals. Coleman conducted a survey where she asked about the use of graphic representations, their frequency of use, and what were
193 most frequently reported practices included pointing to visual representation in texts such as books, using graphical representations to organize text, and having students use Venn and web diagrams to organize, plan, and compare and contrast ideas. She found there is a lack of direct instruction when it comes to the uses and purposes for graphics. Coleman also highlighted the importance of image centric deliv ery systems in metacognition in learning as well as the need for teachers to explicitly remark on how to read such visuals. While my study led to similar findings, it also found similarities among teachers in how they taught using different visuals Teac use of visuals in the classroom challenge the existing notion that visual literacy is not being taught. While it remains true that visual literacy is not explicitly talked about or explained to students it is bein g used implicitly as one way to teach thinking, learning, and communicating. Teachers do have an understanding that their students need to know their way around technology for future jobs and that visuals have always been -and continue to be -an important way to learn. However, there needs to be a shift from implicit knowledge and teaching to a more purposeful, explicit way of engaging with visual literacy in the classroom. It is important, then to begin with what is already happening in the classrooms an d build from there. The findings from this study highlight the processes teachers used to provide students with opportunities to engage with technology and visuals as part of their learning, which I have dubbed the Visual Spiral Framework. The Visual Spir al Framework encases methods, strategies, and reso urces that are consistent with many of the tenets of visual literacy as operationalized by Seels (1994) and Avgerinou (2001)
194 Image centric resources were used to encourage students to interpret visual info rmation. Visuals were deemed critical to learning as one important way to be able to judge information for credibility, evaluate meaning, and identify and appreciate the techniques used to convey information. Visuals were used, created, and modeled to help others establish meaning and internalize learning. The VSF highlights the importance of visuals as a motivating, powerful, and meaningful way to provide students with an entry into a lesson. It promotes enhanced comprehension through visualization ana lysis through inquiry of different components, and helps establish relational connections to the information. The VSF is a process for teachers that encompasses the creation, expression, teaching, and revisiting (reflection) of visual information. W hile t eachers did not explicitly voice knowledge of visual literacy tenets, many were present in their instruction as part of the VSF and in their remarks For example, they readily agreed that a visual may be seen with the eyes or in the mind and may include ot her modes such as text It may also include various concrete objects such as pictures and manipulatives and it may be used for thinking, communicating, and learning (Avgerinou, 2001 ; Seels, 1994 ). The teachers used basic components of visual language, su ch as colors and shapes to encourage discrimination of important Teachers encouraged students to independently construct meaning from visuals and to turn information into pictures, such as mental movies or graph ic organizers. T hey also encouraged an analysis of visuals through inquiry to aid in meaning making Finally, t hey encouraged students to make
195 relational connections between images and text which provided opportunities for students to tap their background knowledge, feelings, and ideas Implications This study presents several implications for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers. I begin by drawing strategies from what I gleaned from the data. Then I explore implications for future teacher educat ors. Finally, I detail several limitations to this study and how this might influence future research. Implications for educators Teaching with visuals in technology enhanced environments can be challenging and rewarding. Traditionally, teachers have taugh t content mostly through lecture using print centric resources. Now technology affords other possibilities, where knowing and teaching visual literacy is of increased importance; where technology has i n spired changes even in the ways teachers and students interact (Dwyer, 1994). The current study adds to the body of literature that addresses ways teachers can integrate visual literacy tenets in their instruction to foster visual thinking, learning, and communicating. The findings of this study indicate tha visuals and technology for instruction, their design or choices of materials for instruction, their beliefs concerning visuals and technology, and their approach when using these resources in the classroom play key roles in fos tering thinking, learning, and communicating with visuals. A willingness to make mistakes and use these resources in the classroom potentially increases meaningful opportunities for teaching and learning. ght how they operated within the Visual Spiral Framework to foster immediate connections to content, provided visual contextualization, and encouraged internalization and externalization of information.
196 They used strategies such as basic visual elements an d knowledge, inquiry, and summarizing to increase opportunities to meaningfully engage with visuals to construct meaning. However, t subordinate to linguist ic text instead of as an addition to the types of literacy students may need. No teacher used visuals as stand alone texts. Visuals were always referred to in tandem with other modes. The focus when encouraging engagement with visuals was mostly on the bas ic syntax of visuals i.e., that is, the elements of visuals (colors, lines, and shapes). Other elements such as manipulation, editing, and foreground -were not explored. Similarly, the semantics of visuals (i.e., h ow is this image related or not related to our culture?) were barely addressed. Findings from this study reinforce the idea that higher order visual literacy skills should be taught explicitly, as they are not developed solely by looking with our eyes (Ausburn & Ausburn, 1978). Not taking opport unities to examine visuals in depth potentially ignores or undermines the power of visual literacy for interpreting content, examining ideological implications, making judgments of worth, evaluating, and appreciating image centric visuals (Bamford, 2003). I t is important to understand that visual literacy may foster analysis of syntax and semantics, analysis of production techniques, evaluation of aesthetic, evaluation of purpose and audience, and apprehension of the affective impact of images (Bamford, 200 3). In addition, technology in the 21 st century has emphasized the need for visual literacy. Contemporary technology is heavily visual, delivering information ranging from the simple to the increasingly complex. This necessitates not just a willingness to use
197 technology in the classroom, but adapting and adopting technology as one way to access and process different knowledge Mishra and Koehler ( 2009 ) presented a framework for teaching that include s technology It emphasize s the interplay of three forms o f knowledge: content, pedagogy, and technology. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) identifies the complex nature of teacher knowledge, compounded with contemporary technology. According to this framework, i t is important for teachers to un derstand the impact of technology, develop technological tools for educational purposes, understand how technology and content influence each other, understand how teaching and learning change when using technology, and flexibly integrate technology, pedag ogy, and content (Mishra & Koehler, 2009). The findings from this research, however, suggest this reflection and flexibility are not taking place. They reinforce what Hooper and Rieber (1995) have noted: that it is rare to find teachers who move beyond the utilization stage of technology integration. Findings from this study emphasize the need to move beyond treating technology as an extra tool in the classroom in order to break away from the familiar and explore the connections extant among technology, cont ent, and pedagogy that include visuals as another level of complexity of meaning. Teachers need to take advantage of current technologies to promote visual literacy skills and competencies in the classroom. Shifting the implementation of the VSF from impl icit to explicit visual literacy instruction can provide students with opportunities to enhance their learning, work collaboratively, help them understand themselves and others, and solve problems creatively. Focusing on visuals as stand alone texts invite s students to make connections between images and ideologies,
198 analyze and evaluate them, work collaboratively, and manipulate and recreate visual information and suggestions as to how they ma y be taught explicitly and in a more in depth way within the VSF in a technology enhanced environment Use visua ls to help students make personal connections to the content -teachers can ask questions such as: what does this remind you of? Is this somethin g that has happened to you or you know has happened to someone else? How does this image make you feel? What is the message in the image? Use technology and visuals as a way to i ncrease student interest and engagement -teachers can begin conversations abou t choices made when taking a picture or including a drawing in a book, for example. When watching a video, teachers can ask explicit questions about the use of color, sound, movement, expressions, voice, and other specific elements such as foreground and b ackground ( e.g. Why were these elements shown over others? What is the difference between the foreground and the background and why is this significant?) Create and use visuals as mnemonic devices to f acilitate recall -teachers can ask students to come u p with key words, movements, or drawing s to help remember key concepts. Create visually rich learning spaces so that students are constantly engaged and connecting previously learned information with new content -examples of this include student created an can jot down their ideas, comments, or questions, posters, etc. Play around with technology and allow students to experiment as well -teachers can take this as an opportunity to ask students why the y think technology is important. They can also encourage students to think creatively by using the technology to do things other than what it was specifically designed for. Master one delivery system before experimenting with more -at times technology can be overwhelming to learn. It is important to take it one step at a time. Explore what is available, make a list of what could be most beneficial for instruction and learning and then use and feel comfortable with one system before tackling the next. Use t echnology as much as you can -using technology emphasizes its importance in the world.
199 Learn what other teachers are doing with visuals in the classroom and m odel the use of technology for other teachers -modeling for others can also be beneficial in enco uraging experimentation with technology. Choose colors as a voice -consider creating and explaining the links between the (when writing on the board, for example) This emphasizes the intentionality behind using col or and teach es students to think about color choices and how such choices may impart meaning. -let students know that one purpose is for them to read the visual. This is a good opportunity to teach basic visual elements such as line, color, shape, size, etc. Model for students how to create a visual that will help them increase their understanding -explain each aspect of the visual and emphasize how it may be helpful when studying. Use a lot of grap hic representations, such as diagrams -image centric resources and process information to enhance understanding. Encourage creativity by having students create visuals to go alo ng with their writing -explore with students the different purposes for including drawings with their writing. For example, to facilitate visualization, to foreshadow events, to heighten an emotion in the writing, to explain a concept, etc. Verbally establ ish a direct and explicit relationship between visuals and the content being taught -explain, for example, how the visual enhances the content or encourages the viewer to ask questions. Ask questions of visuals that have to do with issues (What could this image mean to the viewer?), information (What new information is in the picture that may not be in the text?), who ( W ho is the audience for this visual?), persuasion ( W hy was this image chosen to convey a particular message?), and assumptions ( W hat experi ences are assumed in this image?) (Bamford, 2003). Implications for teacher educators As technologies and contexts change, so does literacy (Natio nal Council of Teachers of Engli sh, 2008). As v iews of literacy and what counts as literacy continue to broade n and shift educators must recognize the increasing diversity, complexity, and demands of our global economy. To be able to compete in such an environment, not one, but many literacies are needed. While we have many types of learners, working
200 with visuals is something they will have to practice i f they are to compete in technical and visually rich environments. It is necessary for teacher educators to explicitly include technology and visual literacy standards, resources, and strategies in their instructio n so that future teachers learn the importance of doing so In this study, the l iterature on visual literacy and The Visual Spiral Framework both emphasize visual literacy tenets that can aid in student internalization and externalization of content. The processes and strategies employed by the teachers in this study can serve as a framework for future teachers. They can reflect on these processes, discuss them within other contexts, and benefit from the input of others In addition, future teachers should be given ample opportunities to use technology and visuals in meaningful ways. Direct instruction alone may not effectively address the complexities of both technology and visual literacies. Through experience, future teachers have opportunities to think about visuals and technology not just as tools, but as other ways to foster thinking, learning, and communicating. For example, in a lesson on how to give an oral presentation, visuals can be touted as one way to help an audience understand a concept. A lo t of thinking goes into making this visual, as everything from colors and lines to shape and movement are ways to communicate information. Implications for future research Similar to past research (i.e ., Omar, 2000 ), observations, interviews and field no tes seemed to be adequate for data collection on instructional practices and beliefs. The observations were helpful in examining multiple instances of different use of visuals and technology, while the interviews made it possible to consider and explore te beliefs and purpose for using multimodal representations in the classroom. In addition,
201 videotaping these processes helped capture and explore linguistic, contextual, and procedural details that may have otherwise be en overlooked I nductive domain analysis proved revealing and allowed an exploration of ideologies that heavily influenced teacher practices. These data collection and analysis method s may prove useful for future research in this area. The results of the analysis for this study however are encumbered by limitations that are important considerations for future research. First, this study involved a limited number of collaborators from one school. While there may be similarities, the findings from this study may not be repeated for other research on the subject. It is important, then, for the reader to carefully consider the framework, methodology, and context in which this study took place before deciding if findings may apply in some way to other contexts. Second, t his study did not in technology in supporting literacy instruction. The study focused on their practice and beliefs, which were connected to the use of visuals and technology. The Visual Spiral Framework only reflects teac As such, the VSF is not construed as an evaluative tool, or the only correct way to implement visuals in technology enhanced classrooms. Future research could study other contexts where features of the VS F are present and add, revise, and/or challenge what is there. In addition, future research can investigate how t beliefs are connected visual literacy instruction. This could lead to a richer understanding of contextual i nfluences in the use of visuals and technology.
202 Furthermore this study did not include data on student achievement, reception of materials used for instruction delivery, and use and beliefs about visuals and technology. Future research might include stude reach a better understanding of how visuals and technology may influence their academic experiences. A finding of this study suggested that teachers still heavily use print centric resources for literacy instruction. S ince the initiative for integrating technology in the classroom has been carried out with gradual implementation, the use of primarily print based materials could be ascribed to what has been historically used in the classroom. Perhaps teachers are simply used to these materials. With the continued integration of technology, there could be a gradual balancing out of the use of print and visuals for instruction, or it could lead in another direction entirely. That remains to be explored elsewhere in the ye ars to come. Perhaps future research could focus on the transition from print centric to technology enhanced classrooms and note trends, changes, adaptations, practices, beliefs, and other considerations. For the moment, findings from this study suggest pr int remains dominant by design, while the use of visuals potentially increases with the use of technology. The collaborators in this study left me with new knowledge, impressions, thoughts, and wonderings. They helped me shape the idea of a visually and te chnology enhanced classroom. What does it look like? What could it look like? T hese questions and others, remain open for further consideration. Th ose in the field of visual literacy need to come to an agreement about the definition of visual literacy and its basic tenets as it relates to the field of education. In addition more research needs to be conducted
203 to begin to glean an understanding of how explicit visual literacy instruction may influence instructional desig n and student learning.
204 APPENDIX: INTERVIEW GUIDE SAMPLE Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this research. I want to talk to you about visuals you use in the classroom during instruction, as well as the technology you use that may include use of visuals. I woul d like to know how you understand how enhanced curriculum. I would like to ask you few questions. 1. what counts as a visual for classroom use? 2. How often do you use visuals for teaching? 3. What are your favorite visuals to use for instruction and why? 4. How important do you believe visuals are within a technology enhanced curriculum? 5. What kinds of skills do you believe students need to effectively engage in a technology enhanced curriculum? 6. I would like you to expand on the characteristics of what you believe to be an effective use of visuals in the classroom. 7. Describe the characteristics or qualities of what you believ e teachers need to know or have in order to be effectively use visuals for instruction. 8. #5 What do you expect students to do when you say this and why do you want them to b e able to do? For what purpose? 9. During many of the lessons you used electronic slides to present information. What is your process for finding/creating these resources and what do you take into consideration when thinking about using them for direct instr uction? 10. How do you feel technology has impacted your instruction in how you use print information to teach? 11. How do you feel technology has impacted your instruction in how you use visuals to teach? 12. Is there anythi ng else you would like to add? Thank you f or your time.
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219 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Prisca M. Rodr guez Cruz is an educator and scholar with over 1 2 experience in K 12 and higher educ ation in the areas of English for Speakers of Other Languages, Foreign Languages, Literacy, Educational Technology, and Language Arts. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida in May of 201 4 Her more re cent experiences include teaching undergraduate courses, providing professional development to peers and colleagues, designing curriculum, performing research, disseminating knowledge through presentations and publications, and promoting collaborative and innovative learning and teaching.