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Graphicacy within the secondary school curriculum, an exploration of continuity and progression of graphicacy in children aged 11 to 15

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posted on 12.04.2012, 11:41 by Xenia Danos
Graphicacy is the fundamental human capability of communicating through still images. Graphicacy has been described as the fourth ace within education, alongside literacy, numeracy and articulacy. However, it has been neglected, both within education and the research field. This thesis investigates graphicacy and students learning, structured around 3 objectives: establishing what graphicacy is and how it is used in the school curriculum; demonstrating the wider significance of design and technology teaching and learning by collecting evidence of the importance of graphicacy across the curriculum; and establishing how the abilities to understand and create images affect students learning. A literature review was conducted focused on three areas. Firstly, identifying the meaning of graphicacy, elements contained within it and relevant prior studies including its use in different subject areas and image use within teaching. This formed the foundations for a new taxonomy of graphicacy. Secondly, the levels of drawing and developmental stages children go through were investigated and the need for further research on children s abilities aged 11 to 14 was identified. The well balanced arguments concerning the nature versus nurture debates are described. Thirdly, the methodology used to measure graphicacy, and map the results to reflect levels of different competencies were reviewed. A naturalistic and often opportunistic approach was followed in this research. The research methodology was based on the analysis of textbooks and later, on research within practice. The research included the development, validation and use of the taxonomy of graphicacy; case studies in Cyprus, the USA and England on identifying graphicacy use across the curriculum; and the creation of continuity and progression descriptors through the analysis of students work. This work covered: rendering, perspective drawing, logo designing, portrait drawing and star profile charts. Research methodologies developed and implemented for conducting co-research and the Delphi studies are also described. Through interviews with experts, the taxonomy was validated as an appropriate research tool to enable the identification of graphicacy use across the curriculum. These research studies identified links between design and technology and all other subject-areas studied. Similar patterns of graphicacy use were identified across 3 schools, one in Cyprus, USA and the UK. Photographs were the most commonly used graphicacy element across all subject areas studied. Design and technology within England was found to use the widest variety of graphicacy elements, providing evidence towards research objective 3; establishing how the ability to understand and create images affects students learning. Continuity and progression (CaP) descriptors were created for each area covered by this research. The success of the CaP descriptors relied on the technical complexity involved in the creation of each image. Some evidence was found concerning the limits of natural development and how nurture can further develop graphicacy skills. In addition, co-research as a methodology, its limitations and potentials are identified.



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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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