As I continue to add to my repertoire of visual literacy  skills, I am realizing that this course has been what I would consider one of most important professional learning experiences that I have gone through.  That thought led me to wonder–what were those important moments?

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The reason behind the first 3 learning curves are somewhat obvious:  They all involved honing the practice of teaching. They were immersive experiences.

But COETAIL is an outlier.  Rather than full-on, it has been a steady part-time experience.  And rather than learn how to teach, it is learning how to communicate.  I am acknowledging that our learners have become more and more visual, and I am now learning how to effectively communicate with them.

To illustrate my point, simply take a peak at these images of the covers of some older chemistry textbooks, (which were found using the unbelievably immense–wow–that is a lot of scanning!), as well as Amazon.


It is no surprise to see that as history progresses, we become more image-focused.  I believe a large part of this is simply technologically driven.  I am sure that early organic chemists would have loved to explained their concepts with images–but the technology to reproduce them just didn’t exist. Fast forward one century and over 1.6 million images per day are published just to Flickr.  Textbooks are works of art, with entire teams of people dedicated to illustration.

Our students live and die by images, and as the educators here, we have to learn to speak their language.