Blocked view

It’s been an interesting experience exploring visual literacy in a place where we can’t access much of the images the world wide web has on offer. It’s taking me a loong time to download a photo I’d like to use in my class.


The task at hand, nevertheless, is reading visually.

This excerpt from ISTE’s Media Literacy is a good place to start with this subject.

I’ve seen good teachers here in China use visuals as a way to improve English speaking and writing with English Language Learners. It’s the best way to open students up and give them a little freedom in conversation. With questions, it’s a good way to get students, who(m?) otherwise wouldn’t, to speak.

Also, it’s a good opportunity to explore how the world works – advertising, messages in the media, etc.

The center for Media Literacy has loads of resources, such as this one:

Check out Center for Media Literacy

While I’m still waiting for my selected photo to use with my class to download, I’d also like to mention that while teaching media literacy skills seems to be the obvious lesson in all this, it might also be an opportune time to go over image copyright.



Finally! It turns out this image was too big upload to wordpress, and I ended up having to optimize it a bit. I selected this image using, Kim Cofino’s “interesting” tip. Using this image and jumping into visual literacy with the questions from above is where I hope to begin, but this could also be used in October for Banned Books week.

The photo was taken during the London bombings by Vladimi Timoshkin, and he titled the photo Censorship. This topic hits home, literally, at the moment, as censorship in China increases.  This photo can certainly lead to a great discussion on visual literacy, but I wouldn’t want to stop here…

We’re living in the world’s second largest consumer economy. Along with teaching kids to ask the right questions when viewing images is important, it’s also important to look at the tricks of the advertising trade.

Xiaomi is China’s answer to the iPhone.

In conclusion, I’d hope that the selected photo would ignite our lesson on visual literacy, censorship, and advertising.  With that, the Creative Commons would also be a related topic and concept. All in all, I’d hope that students would be inspired to see things for themselves as they are, always asking the right questions. And, being in China, I hope they’ll be patient.

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One Response to Blocked view

  1. Ryan Harwood says:

    So much to think about here. In a time when we are contemplating the accuracy of digital images and even news around the world, we also have places where the government restricts what images are available. Yet even those that are may be full of inaccuracy. Opens up the doors, maybe windows, to so many more discussions about images, government, censorship, propaganda…


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