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Editor of “Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies”

Interview with Jeffrey Beaudry, Organizer of the International Visual Literacy Association 2012

By IGI Global on Nov 12, 2012
Recently, IGI Global contributors Jeffrey Beaudry and Lenny Shedletsky, had the opportunity to present at the International Visual Literacy Association 2012 conference in Portland, Maine. The IVLA strives to provide an open forum for educational, instructional, and training issues in regards to visual communications and applications. Members of the IVLA “represent a wide range of disciplines and include researchers, educators, designers, media specialists and artists”. IGI Global caught up with Jeffery Beaudry, who was largely responsible for organizing the 44th annual conference.


IGI Global: What are some of the most interesting ideas or concepts you learned from the conference?

Jeffrey Beaudry: The International Visual Literacy Association 2012 conference focused on visual literacy (decoding the information in visuals), as well as visual fluency (encoding and creating new messages in visuals). The overall concept has been called “graphicacy”. Graphicacy is one of three major concepts for learning in the United Kingdom; literacy, numeracy and graphicacy. Another point made in a presentation is the weak connection between the Common Core Standards in Reading and Mathematics and visual literacy. One of the presenters helped to bridge the gap with illustrations of suggested new and improved standards.

My understanding about the positive influence of maps was confirmed by numerous other scholarly presentations. Many of the professors and teachers integrate mapping on a regular basis, more than I expected. Some of them use maps as the primary means of communication, collaboration, feedback and summative assessment on many assignments.

The conference was hosted at the University of Southern Maine by the head of the Osher Map Library, and the theme of the conference was the external representations of maps as shown in cartography and the internal representations of maps as shown in concept maps and other mind mapping. There was a connection made between cartography and the understanding and representation of place and the environment and the understanding of visual literacy. Participants at the conference were surprised by the connection of these two themes, but had a better understanding after the series of four keynote presenters.

IGI Global: How will this have an impact on education in the future and other areas such as business and politics?

JB: I agree with many authors who claim that collaboration, visual thinking, and visual problem-solving will comprise the new, dominant skills for the 21st century. Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind is one of many books that points to the visual graphic capacity of leaders in the 21st century. In politics, for example, we use graphic organizers all the time to show discrete parts and differences, and concept mapping emphasizes the potential of making connections and collaboration. Graphic organizers will be used by people who can develop ideas quickly as part of group processing.

IGI Global: Describe the fundamental concept behind mapping, in terms of its uses in education.

JB: In education, concept mapping is used to: 1) engage and motivate students with brainstorming, 2) consolidate and organize knowledge to assist comprehension and reading; writing, think-aloud’s, and speaking 3) plan and design complex messages and systems thinking for multimedia productions and presentations. One of the underlying strengths of concept mapping is that with deliberate practice, concept mapping can add to the efficiency of thinking and planning.

IGI Global: Will any of these ideas be represented in your upcoming book “Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies”?

There were some ideas that will be represented in our book as a direct result of the conference. First, the internal representations and external representations of ideas create a strong connection of experience and imagination. The same duality leads me to conclude that mapping of identity is connected with mapping of place; our thoughts have a strong connection with where we are and what kind of relationship we have with our place. There is a continued emphasis on collaboration and concept mapping and benefits of ongoing team-building and development of relationships among colleagues.

Jeffrey Beaudry is the co-editor of IGI Global’s upcoming publication, Cases on Teaching Critical Thinking through Visual Representation Strategies. If you are interested in additional information about this book or contributing a case study, follow this link: http://www.igi-global.com/publish/call-for-papers/call-details/743.
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