I've found a lot of potential for images, especially in the see, think, wonder routine (Visible thinking, n.d.). Pictures can inspire children's imagination giving them ideas and new insights into topics. Since my focus group is in early childhood images are useful for children still learning to read. They provide a means of storytelling that make children inquiry and gain interest in subjects. Images that use colour, light, constrast and shapes stimulate interest and inquiry. They help children to sharpen their visual discernment (PBS, n.d.).

According to The New Media Consortium (2005) written literature isn't as heavily used. Instead people rely on media, images, graphics and other forms of communication. As we progress into the 21st century literacy is loses its traditional formality (NMC, 2005). Therefore it is important we teach children to interpret and communicate through other popular means (Thimbault and Walbert, n.d.). Reading images is a literacy in itself as it requires critical thinking discernment skills (Thimbault and Walbert, n.d.). To read an image children must think about what they see, connect it to their current knowledge and use this to evaluate the image (Thimbault and Walbert, n.d.). Scientists and artists have critical visual literacy skill which they use to look for bias in an image and evaluate the accuracy of what they see (Thimbault and Walbert, n.d.).

In my classroom I would use images as a means of inquiry. I could do field trips showing aspects of nature to encourage science investigations. I would ask children to compare images, comment on them and analyse them. Images can also be used as a problem solving activitiy (PBS, n.d.). For example presenting an image of a camoflaged animal would make children really think about what they see developing their discernment skills (Moodle, 2011).
On a larger scale images, as stated earlier, should inspire wonder and curiousity (Moodle, 2011). Presenting images of different cultures, lifestyles, animals, environments and countries would really make children think and inquiry about the world. This could then lead to discussions about these countries and projects based on learning about customs and culture (JISC digital media, 2010). I think it's really important children understand the world they live in so they can grow up seeing the whole picture and where they fit into the kaleidoscope of diversity.


References

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/brain/illusions/index.html

http://archive.nmc.org/pdf/Global_Imperative.pdf

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/675

http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=156839

http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/stillimages/advice/practical-ways-to-use-digital-images-in-teaching-and-learning/


I found an interesting video designed for teachers concerning the use of images.


Ballet, A. (2009, Feb 22). Visual literacy across the classroom [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQNbAtK3c3g


Here's another You Tube video a classmate showed me at Tafe last year. It was very moving. It demonstrated to me the power of images in storytelling.


Iamlikeasea. (2009, June 7). Kseniya Simonova - Sand animation (Україна має талант / Ukraine's got talent) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=518XP8prwZo