Is it time to change the way we teach kids? With the rise of the Visual Revolution, people like Martin Scorsese and George Lucas are encouraging schools to teach not only language and grammar in their core classes but also visual communication skills – art, cinematography, and photography.
“The distinction between verbal and visual literacy needs to be done away with, along with the tired old arguments about the word and the image and which is more important. They’re both important. They’re both fundamental. Both take us back to the core of who we are.” - Martin Scorcese
In his book The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, Stephen Apkon argues that society is visually illiterate and lacks a way to fully engage with visual forms of communication – something that George Lucas believes our school system should be addressing.
The good news is that, just like reading became an easier skill to attain through inventions like the printing press and typewriter, visual literacy is becoming easier to grasp. You can film, edit and share all through a smartphone. Apps like Vine and Instagram are making communicating through video and photography attainable.
The invention of the Internet opened up the opportunity to be a writer on a much larger scale – people who started off writing blog posts have landed book deals or turned writing for the web into a career. The same is happening with video and smartphones – the tools have become so much easier to use, so now we have professional Youtubers and Viners creating careers around these formats.
With these forms of communication becoming more prevalent and important of course they should begin being taught in schools as more than just supplementary courses because they are swiftly becoming more than just supplementary communication tools. If school is meant to prepare kids for the world they’ll enter as adults – both professionally and personally – then it’s vital that visual literacy becomes a standard part of the curriculum.
Monica Watson is the Social Media Producer at Chute. A recent journalism graduate from Ithaca College, she has a background in documentary film, digital marketing, and event planning within both the non-profit and tech spheres.
Chute is the full visual storytelling platform for brands, publishers, and agencies to create media-rich stories through fan and brand powered media.