“Appropriate skills build upon a foundation of graphic symbols and a system with rules and syntax, assuring clear graphic input and output communication, just as literacy and numeracy represent similar linguistic and quantitative skills.”For Spielman, graphicacy should be considered a core competency just as literacy and numeracy, and children need to formally learn these skills in the primary grades to give them competitive advantages in a world full of graphical information. Building a foundation in these skills into the curriculum will help children develop a common language for graphic communication, an understanding of design, and a way to more accurately represent data. The daily use of graphical devices and images to create visualizations will not be as readable without having learned the skills to do so.
As it was mentioned in an earlier post on graphicacy, authors F. Aldrich and L. Sheppard, like Spielman, maintain that if there are gaps in understanding the various symbols for interpretation or if they are not explicitly taught and reinforced, then gaps in knowledge, misinterpretation of data, and confusion of meaning increase. It should also not be assumed that children have the skills to construct meaning of views, forms, and commentary without being taught these skills explicitly. Things we take for granted as adults, such as cross-sections, changes in scale, or distant views, are not necessarily viewed the same way by children. At a young age, their views are much more literal, leading to misunderstandings of what they see.
|Source: Aldrich and Sheppard (2000)|
ManyEyes or Chartle.Net to name a few. Our resource page has many helpful links. The most important thing, however, is to include as many possible types and variations to teach children. For Aldrich and Sheppard, it was CLEAR, their mnemonic form for remembering the criteria for selecting graphical information as a teaching aid. Looking at more examples and inviting children to think about them harder would invariably pay off in developing their graphicacy skills. Check out our other posts about graphicacy education.