Definitions of Visual Literacy
- “... refers to a group of vision competencies a human being can develop by seeing and
integrating other sensory experiences. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is
able to communicate with others” (John Debes, 1969).
- Ability to see, to comprehend, and to think, recreate and communicate graphically (McPhearson,
- Ability to construct meaning from visual images (Giorgis, Johnson, Bonomo, Colbert, & al,
- Ability to both accurately send and receive messages that are transmitted by a variety of
signals perceived through the sense of sight (Rezabek, 2005).
- Interpreting images of the present and past and producing images that communicate the message
to an audience (Bamford, 2003).
The Visually Literate Student
- Is more resistant to the manipulative use of images in advertisements and other contexts
- Can interpret, understand, and appreciate the meaning of visual messages
- Can communicate more effectively by applying the basic principles and concepts of visual
- Can produce visual messages using computers and other technology
- Can use visual thinking to conceptualize solutions to problems
The Importance of Visually Literacy
- Becoming the predominant form of communication
- Using visual images along with verbal text can help students remember what they read
- The younger generation of students are visual learners
- The vocabulary of the average 14-year-old dropped from 25,000 words in 1950 to 10,000 words in
- By age 21, the average student will have spent 10,000 on video games, sent or received 200,000
e-mails; talked 10,000 hours on a cell phone; and read for under 5,000 hours
University of Nebraska
Visual Resources to Consult
Image Databases or Resources
1. Roblyer, M.D., (October 1998), Visual Literacy: Seeing a New Rationale for Teaching with
Technology, Learning & Leading With Technology, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 51 - 54.