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Visual Literacy Skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education

Although civilizations have been using visual representations for thousands of years, the concept of visual literacy is relatively recent. John Debes introduced the concept in the late 1960s. Debes defined visual literacy as a collection of visual competencies that are developed through integrating different visual experiences. The focus on visual competencies and developmental skills in defining visual literacy drew increased attention of art educators and prompted the establishment of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA). Today, IVLA is one of the driving forces behind visual literacy research.

The contemporary understanding of visual literacy builds on Debes’s definition and includes four aspects: (1) the developmental aspect—visual literacy competencies can be acquired and developed as other skills; (2) the social-constructivist aspect—the role of interactions of the learners with ...

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