Why is visual literacy important?
Today's students are digital natives and increasingly communicate and learn with new literacies like videos, websites, comics, ads and infographics. It is important to teach visual literacy hand in hand with critical media literacy so that students learn how media is created and consumed, and how that impacts our society. Ultimately, students should be empowered to "talk back" to media content and take control of media production so that their own voices can be heard.
Mass media has an enormous influence on what American society views as "normal." Students (and adults) internalize these messages, and can become distressed when they do not measure up to this standard, especially diverse learners, who usually see only stereotyped depictions of their culture, if they are represented at all. Below is a sample of movies and articles that take a look at how the mass media creates and maintains these stereotypes. One of the goals of visual literacy education is to empower students to reassert their unique voices and identities into wider social discourse through the creation of their own media.
Furthermore, many students learn better when they use more visual learning tools. This is especially helpful for students who are English language learners, students with learning disabilities or other disabilities. On top of that, most students just find learning with visual aids to be more fun and engaging.