Sharon’s thoughtful comment yesterday helped frame the parallel between our current traditional notion of teaching literacy in school (currently seen as a necessity), and the more modern notion of extending the teaching of literacy to include visual storytelling (currently seen as elective, at best).
Teaching young people to read and write is a multi-year effort, which extends from kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school and beyond. This effort touches on many areas, including vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, writing practice, study of fiction and non-fiction, as well as the study and analysis of great works in a wide variety of literary genres.
If we are to take seriously the teaching of visual narrative creation, we need to break it down into a multiyear program consisting of progressive age-appropriate courseware, where each academic year builds upon skills that were mastered during the previous year.
In addition, we’d want to incorporate skills of visual storytelling into the teaching of classes in other subjects, including math and the sciences, as well as history and cultural studies. In today’s curriculum we expect students to be able to express their mastery of a subject through the written word. It would be logical to extend that expectation to include the creation of expository visual narratives.
It has not escaped our notice that an educational shift to more visual and dynamic means of expression would quite likely increase the teaching of computer programming and computational thinking. 🙂