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Visual and Media Literacy Final Assignment


Chris Haynes
University of West Georgia

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Introduction
My client for this instructional design project is Mr. Trevor Flow who teaches AP World
History at North Hall High School in Gainesville, GA. He can be contacted at
trevor.flow@hallco.org. This class is offered to freshmen who are going to be a part of NHHSs
International Baccalaureate (IB) or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
program. AP World History is broken into six periods, or units. Mr. Flow expressed concern
about the amount of content that he is required to cover in his AP World History courses first
period. Period one covers a span of time from 8,000 BCE to 600 B.C.E. He only has an allotted
9 class days to teach this information. Mr. Flow states that because of the breadth and depth of
the material this is the hardest period to teach and to get the students actively engaged in the
content.
In an effort to address this problem we have decided to incorporate infographics or
posters into the course curriculum. Infographics and posters work on the principle of dual
coding theory. Student use of visuals and text will help them retain the information. Creating an
infographics/posters will allow students to take an active role in the content.
Solution
The plan will be introduced infographics/posters during the third class meeting of the
2016-17 school year. Mr. Flow will highlight how easily information can be shared through
attention getting graphics and easy to digest text. Students will participate in a mini clinic about
how to create infographics/posters on the fourth day of instruction. Students will be given

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instruction on how to create an informative infographics or posters through Piktochart utilizing


statistical figures, informative text, as well as eye catching pictures. Students will produce their
own infographics from the topic that Mr. Flow has assigned them. They will use the information
that they have gained from their readings, class discussion, and research completed during the
fifth class meeting. Students will complete their infographics/posters over the weekend and
present them to the class on Monday. Student infographics will be displayed throughout the
classroom and serve as a reference for the students for the remainder of the school year.
To assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson this following rubric will be used to
grade students infographics:

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The effectiveness of the lesson will be gauged by students quiz and test grades over
period one content. Mr. Flow will also talk with students to see how they viewed the
infographic/poster project. We hope that this lesson will engage students in the period one
content and help them retain information that they may have otherwise struggled with.
Conclusion

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I think that having students create infographics will have a positive learning outcome for
Mr. Flows AP World History students. Research indicates that humans process visual 60,000
times faster than text (Fisher, 2008). This is great because there are 8,600 years to cover in
period one of the AP World History curriculum and only nine class meetings to accomplish this
task. Having students create their own infographics/posters from assigned topics will also
require them to do more independent research on their topic. While completing this project
students will do more than fill in blanks or answer questions on a worksheet. They will have to
gather facts, decide which facts to use, decide how to package them, and select images that
accompany the text. The research and planning phase of this assignment will result in retention
of students assigned content.
Dual Coding Theory is a major factor in the creation and use of infographics/posters in
the classroom. Humans can take in information via images as well as text. Infographics/posters
capitalize on both. Cognitive load will also be a part of the introductory infographic/poster
lesson. Only the most important information must appear on the infographic. If there is too
much text, pictures, or both the infographic/poster will not be as effective at conveying the
information. This makes the planning stage of the infographic an even more important step.
This will cause students to have to think deeply about the information they have gathered and
how to best package it for maximum results. When students engage in historical nonfiction
writing such as producing a story, graphic novel, or infographic they are considering the complex
relationships amoung cause and effects, structural forces, such as economic, political, and social
upheavals, along with the shaping and influences of historical actors (Clark, 2013). This is the
type of thinking that we want the students engaging in as they study World History.

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Having infographics/posters displayed in the classroom will help students remember the
content from their peers assigned research topics. This will be valuable for the students and Mr.
Flow throughout the school year. History is a scaffold subject. Students will be able to reference
these infographics/posters for the remainder of the school year to help make sense of new topics
and concepts that are introduced in class.
While completing this project the AP World History students will meet many of the
ACRL Visual Literacy Standards for Higher Education. After students have completed the
research for their assigned topic they will have to find and select appropriate images to use in
their infographic. Standards 1 and 2 will be met while conducting the first phase of this project.
Once students have gathered their information and images they must now glean the most
important facts and pictures to construct their infographic. This meets Standards 3 and 5 of the
ACRL Standards for Higher Education. Standard 6 is met when students put all of this
information together and create their final product. Standard 4 is met when students evaluate
their own final projects and the work of their peers.
This final project for MEDT 7490 required me to utilize all of the information gained
throughout this summer semester. This has been one of, if not my favorite course in this
program. In my opinion it is more important now than ever before to make sure that our students
are visually literate. Teaching visual literacy goes hand in hand with social studies curriculum
including: US History, World History, Economics, Government, Sociology, and Psychology. If
students do not remember all of the specifics from a particular course that is ok as long as they
can think critically about what they are seeing and hearing and have the knowledge and skill to

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check facts and to know how they someone or thing may be trying to manipulate their behavior.
I look forward to being able to use the information learned in this course in the future.

References
Clark, J. S. (2013). Encounters with Historical Agency: The Value of Nonfiction Graphic Novels
in the Classroom. History Teacher. Vol. 46 Issue 4, p 489-508.

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Fisher, N. F. (2008). Teaching Visual Literacy: Using comic books graphic novels, anime,
cartoons, and more to develop comprehension and thinking skills. Thousand Oaks:
Corwin.
Golombisky, R. H. (2013). White Space is Not Your Enemy: A beginner's guide to
communicating visually through graphic design, web, and multimedia design. Burlington:
Focal Press.