Visual Literacy Standards Update

A few weeks ago, Bobbi posted about the new ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Standards. Since then, the group has systematically posted each standard (with more to come) looking for feedback until the end of the month.

You can go to their site to read the standards and comment on the development of these standards:


Posted in Standards, Visual Literacy. Comments Off on Visual Literacy Standards Update

ACRL/IRIG Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education

The ACRL Image Resources Interest Group has released a draft of their Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (pdf). These are just for images, not video, which I initially expected to be included when I saw “visual”.

Update I’ve been contacted by Denise and she let me know that “the standards are written broadly to cover “images and visual media”, including still and moving images (video) where applicable. We deliberately did not define “images and visual media” so the standards would remain open to new formats and future developments.” So they do include video.

They are encouraging comments and feedback through March 31st, 2011, on their blog or by email.  There are also have an open virtual meeting on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 11:30-1:00 PST/2:30-4:00 EST

From the standards:


The increasing dominance of images and visual media in contemporary culture is changing what itmeans to be literate in the 21st century. Today’s society is highly visual, and visual imagery is no longersupplemental to other forms of information. New digital technologies have made it possible for almostanyone to create and share visual media. Yet the pervasiveness of images and visual media does notnecessarily mean that individuals are able to critically view, use, and produce visual content. Individualsmust develop these essential skills in order to engage capably in a visually‐oriented society. Visualliteracy empowers individuals to participate fully in a visual culture.

Visual Literacy Defined:

Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use,and create images and visual media. Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze thecontextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the productionand use of visual materials. A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and acompetent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture.In an interdisciplinary, higher education environment, a visually literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the nature and extent of the visual materials needed
  • Find and access needed images and visual media effectively and efficiently
  • Interpret and analyze the meaning of images and visual media
  • Critically evaluate images and their sources
  • Use images and visual media effectively
  • Design and create meaningful images and visual media
  • Understand many of the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media, and access and use visual materials ethically

Visual Literacy and Information Literacy:

The Visual Literacy Standards were developed in the context of the Information Literacy CompetencyStandards for Higher Education, and are intended to complement the Information Literacy Standards.The Visual Literacy Standards address some of the unique issues presented by visual materials. Images often function as information, but they are also aesthetic and creative objects that require additionallevels of interpretation and analysis. Finding visual materials in text‐based environments requiresspecific types of research skills. The use, sharing, and reproduction of visual materials also raiseparticular ethical or legal considerations. The Standards address these distinct characteristics of imagesand visual media and challenge students to develop a combination of abilities related to informationliteracy, visual communication, interpretation, and technology and digital media use.

Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report

[tweetmeme source=”librarianbyday” only_single=false]The Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report from The Institute of Museums and Library Services looks at the role of libraries and museums in 21st Century Skills. It offers a plethora of useful information and suggestions in a concise readable format (only 40 pages) and it includes case studies and an interactive online assessment.

It includes a list of 6 steps with suggestions to build involvement, engagement and momentum:

  1. Engage with Community.
  2. Establish the Vision.
  3. Assess Current Status.
  4. Implement a Prioritized Plan.
  5. Focus on Comprehensive Alignment.
  6. Track and Communicate Progress

There is a nice (and extensive) break down list of 21st Century literacies and skills along with definitions.

Learning and Innovation Skills

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    • Reason Effectively
    • Use Systems Thinking
    • Make Judgments and Decisions
    • Solve Problems
  • Creativity and Innovation
    • Think Creatively
    • Work Creatively with Others
    • Implement Innovations
  • Communication and Collaboration
    • Communicate Clearly
    • Collaborate with Others
  • Visual Literacy
  • Scientific and Numerical Literacy
  • Cross-disciplinary Thinking
  • Basic Literacy

Skills like critical thinking and problem solving are not only relevant for K-12 students and schools. There are millions of adult learners not in formal education programs looking to refine workplace skills. Even school-aged children spend the overwhelming majority of their waking hours in non-school settings, and increasingly they spend this time in organized out-of-school settings such as afterschool, museum, and library programs. In these settings, they develop important skills—such as problem solving, collaboration, global awareness, and selfdirection—not only for lifelong learning and everyday activities, but also for use back in K-12 schools and college classrooms.

Information, Media and Technology Skills

  • Information Literacy
    • Access and Evaluate Information
    • Use and Manage Information
  • Media Literacy
    • Analyze Media
    • Create Media Products
  • ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology) LITERACY
    • Apply Technology Effectively

Competencies like critical thinking, global awareness, and media literacy are no longer simply desirable—they are necessary. If 21st century skills are the new design specifications for national and individual success, our nation’s libraries and museums are well-positioned to respond to this need.

21st Century Themes

  • Global Awareness
  • Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
  • Civic Literacy
  • Health Literacy
  • Environmental Literacy
Concerted action is required to meet the educational, economic, civic, and cultural needs of the community.Establishing a compelling vision around 21st century skills is critical.

Life and Career Skills

  • Flexibility and Adaptability
    • Adapt to Change
    • Be Flexible
  • Initiative and Self-direction
    • Manage Goals and Time
    • Work Independently
    • Be Self-directed Learners
  • Social and Cross-cultural Skills
    • Interact Effectively with Others
    • Work Effectively in Diverse Teams
  • Productivity and Accountability
    • Manage Projects
    • Produce Results
  • Leadership and Responsibility
    • Guide and Lead Others
    • Be Responsible to Others
Posted in 21st Century Literacies, Standards. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Comments Off on Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills Report

21st Century Fluencies Project

The 21st Century Fluencies Project is a for-profit effort focusing on 21st century skills.

This resource is the collaborative effort of a group of experienced educators and entrepreneurs who have united to share their experience and ideas, and create a project geared toward making learning relevant to life in our new digital age. Our purpose is to develop exceptional resources to assist in transforming learning to be relevant to life in the 21st Century.

It defines five fluencies for the digital citizen:

  1. information fluency
  2. media fluency
  3. collaboration fluency
  4. creativity fluency
  5. solution fluency

These vary from the other standards we’ve seen outlined.  I am intrigued by the idea of calling them fluencies versus skills, and I think the distinction is correct.

The 21st Century Fluencies are not about technical prowess, they are critical thinking skills, and they are essential to living in this multimedia world. We call them fluencies for a reason. To be literate means to have knowledge or competence. To be fluent is something a little more, it is to demonstrate mastery and to do so unconsciously and smoothly.

There are some useful resources on the site including links and handouts

One of my goals for this blog is to bring together all of the different organizations, groups, institutions that are defining the new literacies.  There are so many different definitions under so many different names.

I discovered this project via this blog post Ushering in Transliteracy?

Media Skills Integrated into Core Standards

A draft of K-12 standards put forth by the National Governor’s Association, as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), integrates media skills as a key design consideration of these standards. The draft points to the importance of these skills:

To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, report on, and create a high volume and extensive range of print and nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to research and to consume and produce media is embedded into every element of today’s curriculum; in like fashion, the associated skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Standards rather than treated in a separate section.

It is interesting to note that they consider these skills so fundamental that they integrate them throughout the standards and do not relegate them to a special section.

The draft also describes the behaviors of current college students to anticipate what skills K-12 students will need to succeed in the future. The draft states that college students “use technology and digital media strategically and capably.” More specifically, the draft reports that

Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals.

They even stress the importance of these skills in the K-5 section of their standards. They say that students in this range should be able to “Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding.”

You can get to the draft of the report from the Core Standards site or go directly to the pdf of the report.

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