SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2012

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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DESIGN ThINKING Five Motivations for Teaching Visual Literacy Martin Rayala T he future of art programs depends on our ability to capture a wider range of motivations for student learning. Here are five reasons people engage in learning about visual literacy and design: 1. Visual Communication People are motivated to learn about visual communication because they are interested in understanding the world around them and being understood by others. Visual communicators are concerned with making their messages clear and compelling. Leonardo da Vinci, most famously known as an artist, was also a scientist and inventor who used drawing as a means to understand, record, and communicate information. Visual communication is so commonplace that we take it for granted, but it can have a huge impact in the real world. Visual communication expert Edward Tufte showed how poor visual communication caused NASA administrators to make an error that led to the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. 2. Design Thinking People are motivated to become designers in order to make the world a better place. Design helps people negotiate everyday objects like furniture, cars, clothing, and appliances more comfortably, safely, and effectively. Design of spaces helps people live, work, and play in safe, inviting environments. Experience design helps people improve interactions with hospitals, shopping centers, workplaces, and cities. 3. Media Media users and producers are motivated by compelling stories that enlighten and entertain us. Television, movies, video games, animated films, and other media forms provide information, ideas, and enjoyment to mass 8 schoolartsonline.com audiences. Television coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London reached nine billion viewers worldwide. Media producers are experts at telling stories, so the opening ceremonies of the past two Olympic Games were designed by filmmakers. The opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was designed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, and the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony was designed by British filmmaker Danny Boyle. 4. Visual Culture Many people are motivated to use visual forms to relax and enjoy what they have in common with others. Folk artists, craftspeople, and vernacular designers enjoy embellishing their lives with visual forms that represent commonly shared family and community traditions. Visual culture reinforces Commonly shared community traditions contribute traditional values and provides to the visual culture in sometimes humorous ways. a sense of stability and coherPhoto by Nancy Walkup. ence for groups. Norman Rockwell was an extremely popular of society, creating work that is rare, American artist who was famous for challenging to understand, and separate his depictions of everyday American from mainstream norms and values. culture. His work is an example of how Comprehensive visual literacy provisual culture can draw people towards grams offer valuable learning experithings that affirm mutually held ences for students by providing access beliefs. to a wide variety of motivations people have for learning about, enjoying, and 5. Art producing visual forms. Some people are motivated to underMartin Rayala is currently the editor of stand and produce visual forms that andDESIGN magazine. rayala@kutztown. explore themselves and the world edu around them from a uniquely personal point of view. In the process of finding WEb LinkS their individuality, artists often chalanddesignmagazine.blogspot.com lenge traditional beliefs held by most felicefrankel.com people. By seeking what makes them www.edwardtufte.com/tufte special, artists are often on the fringes powersof10.com/film

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