Year 2016, Volume 2 , Issue 5, Pages 202 - 208 2016-08-26


Bozena Supsakova [1]

The dominance of the pictorial world forms the beginning of the effect of new visual civilisation in the 21st century. Today, we already know that photograph, film and television are just fist stage of visual era. The modern phenomena of digitalisation and mass communication related to the development of information and communication technologies and Internet, dramatically saturate the pictures and pictorial messages to public space and thus also to our everyday life. Posters, billboards and various visual posts attack us every day with their pictorial messages, trying to influence us while going to the work or school as well as while being on the road for a joy or relax. The presence of visual impulses is perceived also in the public space, for example in shopping malls. In such an environment, their role is to affect our purchasing habits. The information lettering in pictorial form -iconograms- orientate us on the streets, at the stations of mass transport, at the airports, in shopping malls, in tourism regions. Today, Internet and social networks are mainly the source of information mediated in the form of pictures in multimedia form.

In the contemporary world, heavily saturated with pictures and media, our view of what literacy means must be extended, or even re-defined. To read pictures is more than to read and write text, this is the "reading of the world of pictures". The Kaiser Family Foundation Study implies young people devote still greater attention to the pictures in the new media (Internet and social networks). While this was six hours and twenty-one minutes a day in average in 2009, it is seven hours and thirty-eight minutes a day in 2013. The numerical data say there has been a significant shift for 4 years and young people pay greater attention to pictorial information, they devote more of their time to them, by one hour and seventeen minutes. We may state that the use of new media has been intensified for recent 10 years, thus also time capacity devoted to media by young people has been increased too, save one exception – the interest in reading has decreased, yet it still consider it to be the basic, non-excludable literacy. Saying it in more unambiguously, text reading gets to the background and the first place is attained by reading, or perception of pictures in digital media.

In the article we present a theoretical model of visual literacy and develop new personnel competencies of children for the 21st century, such as visual perception, visual thinking, visual language and learning visual literacy.

Keywords: visual perception, visual thinking, visual language, learning visual literacy

  • Avgerinou, M. D. (2011). Toward a Cohesive Theory of Visual Literacy. In: Journal of Visual Literacy, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 1-19.
  • Avgerinou, M. D. (2003). A Mad-Tea Party No-More: Revisiting The Visual Literacy Definition Problem. In: R. E. Griffin, V. S. Williams, L. Jung (Eds.). Turning trees. Loretto, PA: IVLA, pp. 29-41.
  • Braden, R. A. (1996). Visual Literacy. In: Journal of Visual Literacy, Vol. 16, No 2, pp. 9-83.
  • Clark-Baca, J. (1990). Identification By Consensus Of The Critical Constructs Of Visual Literacy: A Delphi Study. Doctoral Dissertation. East Texas State University.
  • Hoffman, D. (1998, 2006). Visual Intelligence. How We Create What We See. New York – London, W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Hortin, J. A. (1994). Theoretical Foundations of Visual Learning. In: Moore, D. M.&Dwyer, F. M. (Eds.). Visual literacy: A spectrum of visual learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, pp. 5-29.
  • Griffin, R. E., Whiteside, J. A. (1984). Visual literacy: A model for understanding the discipline. In: A. D. Walker, R. A. Braden, L. H. Dunker (Eds.). Visual literacy: Enhancing human potential, pp. 70-82. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech University (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No ED131837).
  • Kaiser Family Foundation. Generation M². Media in the Lives of 8- to 18- Year- Olds, 2010, p.1. [online]. [cit. 2015-03-07]. On line:
  • Kennedy, B. (2013). Visual Literacy. On line:
  • Mirzoeff, N. (1999). An Introduction To Visual Culture. London: Routledge.
  • Pettersson, R. (1993). Visual Information. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.
  • Raney, K. (1999). Visual Literacy and the Art Curriculum. In: Journal of Art and Design Education, Vol. 18, No 1.
  • Singer, W. (2010). The Brain’s View Of The World Depends On What It Has To Know. In: A. Berthoz, Y. Christen (Eds.). Neurobiology of „Umwelt“: How living beings perceive the world. Berlin: Springer, pp. 39-52.
  • Smith. M. (2008). Visual Culture Studies. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Stafford, B. M. (1999). Visual Analogy, Consciousness as the Art of Connecting. Cambridge, London: The MIT Press.
  • Sturken, M., Cartwright, L. (2001). Practices of Looking. An Introduction to Visual culture. Oxford: Oxford Universitz Press.
  • Šupšáková, B. (2013). Reflection of the Primary Schoocurriculum from the Media Literacy Perspective in Slovakia. In: ICT in Education Design Processes, Materials, Resources. Zielona Góra: Oficyna wydawnicza Uniwersytetu Zielonogórskiego, Vol. 3, pp. 159-172.
  • Šupšáková, B. (2013). New Media and Social Networks as a New Phenomenon of Global Access to Information and Education. In: US-China Education Review A, Vol. 3, No. 8, pp. 623-635.
  • Šupšáková, B. et al. (2014). The Media Literacy of Children and Young People. Bratislava: Iris.
  • Šupšáková, B. (2014). Preferences of visual language and symbols in the digital age of youth. In: Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE‐2014), pp. 76-82.
Journal Section Articles

Author: Bozena Supsakova


Publication Date : August 26, 2016

EndNote %0 International E-Journal of Advances in Education VISUAL LITERACY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY %A Bozena Supsakova %T VISUAL LITERACY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY %D 2016 %J IJAEDU- International E-Journal of Advances in Education %P 2411-1821-2411-1821 %V 2 %N 5 %R doi: 10.18768/ijaedu.07737 %U 10.18768/ijaedu.07737