Skills for the 21st Century

Cognitive and Literacy Skills for Success in a Fast-Paced Technological Age

Posts Tagged ‘visual literacy’

LAPCAE Materials

Posted by wrmcnutt on June 5, 2012

I’d like to thank everyone who came to my session, Emerging Technologies in the Adult Education Classroom. You were a fun group to talk to and I hope that everyone got something to take away from the session.  As promised, I’ve linked my slide set and handout below.  While you’re here, I hope you’ll take the time to look around and some of the articles we’ve shared in the past.  If you have any questions about the topic, or anything about technology in education, really, feel free to ask.  If we don’t know the answer, we probably should, so we’ll find out for you.

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Posted in Changing the AE field, Job Skills, Meta-Skills, Pace of Change, Technology In the Classroom, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Teens and Cell Phones – Implications for the Future

Posted by durencls on May 6, 2010

So in surfing last night, I stumbled across a posting I initially thought was redundant – “yeah, yeah, yeah, teens and cell phones, I know all this.”  The more I looked at it, and thought about it, however, the more implications and connections it had for the future and education.  

From Flowtown‘s marketing blog: “How Are Teens Using Their Cell Phones?  (based on Pew Research)

As we’ve said before, futurism – predicting the future – is hard, and many have really failed at it.  But as educators’ mission is to prepare students for the future, we need to at least try to align our instruction with what we think are the most reasonable future predictions.  Once source for these predictions is “generational research/theory” – particularly the study of the behaviors and affinities of younger, “up and coming” members of society – teenagers and young adults (MillenialsGeneration Z, etc.).

So what predictions can we glean from this one graphic developed from marketing research?

  • Cell phones – mobile, wireless communication is now the norm, and this trend will continue.  Although only 37% of teens’ phones have internet access, most futurists predict wireless mobile computing will become much more ubiquitous. M-learning is a current educational hot topic.
  • Texting (which is a form of writing – honest), is preferred over auditory use of cell phones by teens. This trend is being seen more and more in all age groups. Short quick written updates – instant messaging, tweets, status updates, texts, etc. are becoming a tool for building community, marketing, finding information, etc.
    • Reading implication: the ability to successfully navigate this flood of “short hand notes”  will become critical. Skimming and scanning text and visuals, as well as fast-paced decision-making and prioritization skills (what is worth my time?) will be skills needed for success. [Hmmm, note to self, explore this more in a later post…]
    • Writing implication: the ability to communicate clearly in an ultra-concise format that grabs readers’ attention will be a critical skill.
  • Increased use of visuals to process an ever growing pile of information. This blog regularly posts such “infographics,” and in fact, this type of visual representation of data is becoming more and more popular. Continuing the trend we see in USA today, people want to be able to view statistics and info “at a glance.”  Also note that, after texting, the vast majority of teens use cell phones for taking and sharing pictures. The ability to process information presented visually – pictures, graphs, video is and will be key to success in the workplace.
  • The need for skepticism – This visual is, remember, a marketing tool, created from marketing research, likely to further a particular agenda.  All representations of data contain bias, and some can even be deliberately misleading (or even incorrect) in what they imply or show.  To be successful in a more fast-paced, information heavy, visual world, people will the skills to critically evaluate what they see, hear, and read for validity, bias, and intent. They need to know not just HOW to read a graph, but how the data connects to it, ways it can be visually manipulated, etc. They need to be critical consumers of visually presented data.

Wow.  All that in a graphic that most folks will look at for less than 2 minutes (if even that).

Posted in 21st Century Communication, Futurism, Meta-Skills | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Technology Applied to Unintended Uses

Posted by wrmcnutt on May 3, 2010

Dear AbbyThere was an interesting note in Dear Abby yesterday (4/29/2010).  The writer wanted to share an idea to get her children to read more.  Like many parents, “Proud Parents” would prefer their children to read.  The children preferred to watch more television.  The compromise that was reached was to turn off the audio on most programming, and allow the children to watch it only if they were willing to read the closed-captioning.

Closed Captioning

Closed Captioning

The result of this policy is that the childrens’ reading scores have greatly improved and the parents get more quiet time when the TV is on in the family room.  Abby rightly points out that closed-captioning, while intended for folks with disabilities, is a wonderful aid to people trying to develop ESOL skills.  I think that this technology would also be useful to adult learners working on conventional literacy issues.

Some teaching ideas/notes:

  • While many of you may have noted this before, adult learners may need some actual training on how to turn on closed captioning, and practice at doing so – you can provide this in the classroom.
  • Also note that you can have closed captioning on at the same time as the audio – great for those who are hard of hearing – and ESOL learners, and folks who are very beginning readers.
  • Even with the sound off, the visuals partnered along with the words on the screen can give struggling readers a boost – aiding in decoding and comprehension (building visual literacy?).
  • Another source of captioned materials – many YouTube videos are in another language and subtitled (see Medieval Tech Support!).
  • This again is a tool for practice, and should be partnered along with other reading instruction and practice activities in other formats – like online text, book text, e-mail, etc.

Posted in 21st Century Communication, Teaching Ideas | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Page – Effective Presentations

Posted by durencls on April 29, 2010

At the risk of feeling something like evangelists, Bill and I are currently advocating that all the instructors, trainers, and professional developers we know take a hard look at how they use PowerPoint for instructional purposes. All too often, brain research and what we know about effective communication is totally ignored when creating PowerPoint-based presentations.

This ties in, we find, to  the idea of ‘visual literacy’ – which  is currently being touted as a critical future technology/job skill.

We do not, however, have time available to start and maintain another blog on this topic – besides that are already many VERY good ones out there!  Instead, we’ve just created another page for this blog:
Effective Presentations

We will add to this page regularly  – as we have time or come across another cool new idea or resource.  Please take a moment to visit it  – our recent reads include: How PowerPoint is used in the military (badly), and some recent video clips found on the Presentation Zen blog.

As always, please feel free to let us know if you’ve found something interesting on this topic and we’ll see about adding it!

Posted in 21st Century Communication, Effective Presentations, Job Skills | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

More Visual presentations

Posted by durencls on April 5, 2010

[From Wikipedia] Since technological advances continue to develop at an unprecedented rate, educators are increasingly promoting the learning of visual literacies as indispensable to life in the information age. Similar to linguistic literacy (meaning making derived from written or oral human language) commonly taught in schools, most educators would agree that literacy in the 21st Century has a wider scope.[3] Educators are recognizing the importance of helping students develop visual literacies in order to survive and communicate in a highly complex world.

The ability to process visual information  is becoming more and more important in our society. At the start of our COABE presentation, we cautioned that our presentation style was not typical – there would be no “handout of the slides” in part because there was almost no text on any of our slides.  We use a more “visual” style of presentation – which is in line with current trends and predictions for the future. 

The presentation style we use focuses on the presenter – what the LIVE person/people presenting have to say as the critical factor, not the text on the slides. The slide show itself is designed to emphasize, show analogies/metaphors, or expand on what the presenters are saying.  This presentation style leverages both a person’s auditory AND visual processing abilities in a complimentary (not competitive) manner. For more information on this presentation style,* check out our handout from COABE 2009 on this topic.

Migrant mother - Dorothea Lange 1936The old adage, “a picture is worth 1000 words,” is essentually accurate. It would take many many words to even try to convey all the information, emotion, and implications of the photo at left. And, in truth, each person viewing the photo brings different experiences and information to the viewing – making many different connections with that existing information in seconds.

Given the proliferation of information in our current and future societies, the ability to both process visual information and communicate  information visually seem like very key skills for the 21st century.

How do you foster these skills in adult education classes?  Please comment with your ideas!

*We did not invent this style, it is a melding of styles used by folks such as Lawrence Lessig, Dick Hardt, Andy Goodman, Garr Reynolds, and others.

Posted in 21st Century Communication, Effective Presentations, Futurism, Meta-Skills | Tagged: | 1 Comment »