Blink of an Eye

I’m a visual learner, so visual media and literacy excite me. I’ve been looking forward to this course since I read a couple of other COETAILERs blogs on course 3 (nerd alert!). To me there is nothing better than a well structured document or presentation that is appealing to the eye. There is nothing worse than watching people suck at PowerPoint because of glaring mistakes. I’m really excited for this course not only because it is something I like, but also really want to improve in.  

Image by Richard Wells
Image by Richard Wells

I am not a big Star Wars fan, in fact I have never seen a full movie (don’t judge), but after reading this article and listening to him speak here I want to see all of them.  George Lucas spoke to my heart when he said, “We must teach communication comprehensively, in all its forms. Today we work with the written or spoken word as the primary form of communication. But we also need to understand the importance of graphics, music, and cinema, which are just as powerful and in some ways more deeply intertwined with young people’s culture. We live and work in a visually sophisticated world, so we must be sophisticated in using all the forms of communication, not just the written word.” I would add to Mr. Lucas’ thinking all forms of communication are needed in our world because we are so diverse and different forms of communication help us overcome the obstacle of not speaking the same language. Graphics, music, and cinema break down the written and spoken barriers of different languages and are great for our English language learners.

In all the readings and videos (particularly this one) this week my mind kept going back to a Blink by Malcom Gladwell. I devour anything he writes and particularly loved this book.  Gladwell says, “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”  He also talks about visuals trigger emotions, “People are in one of two states in a relationship. The first is what I call positive sentiment override, where positive emotion overrides irritability. It’s like a buffer. Their spouse will do something bad, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, he’s just in a crummy mood.’ Or they can be in negative sentiment override, so that even a relatively neutral thing that a partner says gets perceived as negative.” I connected this to watching a presentation or reading a website, if the initial feeling I get from the visuals isn’t positive the whole presentation or reading I find myself overridden with negative sentiment. To tag along on that I found this article that found incorrect use of visuals can deter learners. When the visuals don’t match the information or messages the audience is confused and tries to find the connection instead of taking in the information.

I loved watching the videos and checking out all of the sites this week. There are some great resources to use with kids.  During my messing around I came across some others that I found interesting and useful:

Now for this week’s assignment:  What do I want to change on my blog?  I looked over all the different sites I have–class website, COETAIL, professional resume, and personal blog–and nitpicked them all. I just started my professional resume site, so I gave myself a little grace on that one, but I jumped right in on the other two sites.  The more I thought about it the more frustrated I got because there was so much I wanted to change. I didn’t like the layout, they all seemed too busy. I wanted readers’ eyes to go to the important parts, which are unique and different for each of the sites. After playing around and changing them all, I realized I could to it over and over again and still be unhappy.  I came to the conclusion what I want to do is make them all cohesive, I want them to look like they belong to each other. I’m not sure how I will do that since one is Weebly, WordPress, and Strikingly. I’m researching different website builders that allow for uniformity between the different existing platforms I am using.

YouTube Preview Image

Before and After Video

After playing around for longer than I should have I now have a similar color palettes for all my sites, and I have simplified them which I think makes them easier to navigate. To do this I added categories on my menu bar on my COETAIL site so people can access my posts by courses. On my class teaching website I simplified the menu so it was less wordy. On my professional resume I took out the school icons and cut down my beliefs.

My end goal is to create a uniformed appearance for all of my sites, but I think that will take way longer than a week to do. The problem with visual literacy is that there is so much out there to get ideas from that I feel like I will have a hard time deciding on what works for me. I’m not there yet, but I’ve taken the first step.



6 Replies to “Blink of an Eye”

  1. Hi Megan,
    Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed reading about your journey with digital literacy. I completely agree that there is so much on this area that it will take time. I do not think there is a quick fix in finding what works for each of us on our blogs/websites. Your video was a great idea and I think I might “borrow” that idea as I continue to play around with my blog. Your resources are great and I am looking forward to spending more time looking through them especially Richard Wells and Whats going on in this picture – which would be great to do a see, think, wonder thinking routine with the children. Finally I agree with what you wrote about visuals and messages being mixed. It is vital that information and images go hand in hand. Afterall we don’t just see the world we actively interpret what we see depending upon what we are expecting to see. link to
    or as the French Author Anais Nin said “ We do not see the world as it is; we see it as we are”
    Good luck, Cheers, Joel

    1. Joel,

      Thanks for your comment. I love that quote, so true. I have a feeling this course will be difficult because it will be hard to get it just right. I’m working on it, and hopefully will have a cohesive representation of what I want people to see and know about me together by the end.


  2. Ooooh. I love the Blink quotes. I need to go back and read that. I think the idea that visuals trigger emotions is something that we inherently know, but we don’t really teach kids that. And because it does take a lot of time, we choose to ignore it. But what is more important that creating emotions as we try to teach and/or communicate a message.

    Good luck updating all your online spaces…I find it the perfect task when I’m procrastinating all the other things I’m supposed to do. 🙂

    1. Yes, it leads to tons of procrastination except now I have an excuse, “It’s for COETAIL.” 🙂 The emotion I want people to get is calm and welcoming, not sure if that is what people feel. I think colors have a lot to do with this, I found this site (link to that discusses the feelings people get from emotions. I picked tones of blue/green with the intent to give off balance, calmness, and reflectiveness. Which platforms do you use for all your sites?


  3. Megan,

    I have to say, I LOVED the People Suck at Powerpoint slides you included in your post! Your messing around means that readers like me get a chance to see some really neat resources. I saved all your links to share with some of my colleagues next year when I’m back in the library and working with them on PBL (Project Based Learning) lessons.

    In fact, I’m going to a conference next month in Shanghai (yep, back to China for a few days! – let’s see how I fare in Mandarin, eh?) and am really excited to see how I can incorporate my learnings from this course with what I learn there. My school is moving at a quick clip to incorporating more and more PBLs in the classrooms and I think that what we’ve learned in Course 3 is going to be really beneficial for me helping kids make their presentations and projects really pop.

    I don’t know how much you know about PBL but I’ve included a couple of articles for you to use as an excuse to do some online trolling:
    * link to
    * link to

    I read your next post as well (the one about the animals in zoos project you did with Grade 5 students) and think that the PBL model could/would really work with something like that – and incorporate our learnings abut visual literacy.


    1. That’s so funny you say that about PBL for the zoo, because that is exactly what I talked with the 5th grade team about. They are moving in that direction. Some of the kids want to do a PBL for the Zika virus, I love how they dream so big. I’ll keep you posted, thanks for the great links.

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