Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as McKenzie, B, Flowcharting and Visual Literacy: Exploring Tacit Knowledge Through the Visual, 2nd Global Conference - Visual Literacies: Exploring Critical Issues, Oxford, UK, 30 June-3 July 2008. Original conference information available here


This paper discusses the flowcharting process undertaken by classroom teachers to explain how they transfer professional learning into classroom practice as a type of visual literacy that utilised a combination of both textual and visual concepts to assign meaning and share understanding. The ability to create and interpret information from a multiplicity of visual sources is becoming a ‘survival skill’ in today’s schools in particular and society in general; a necessity for the visually literate consumer. This is an ability that is supported by the use of reflection and the capacity to engage in critical thinking. Visual literacy is the segue between these two aspects ‘…the ability to assign meaning to a visual field so it can be predictably interpreted’. Flowcharts, diagrams and graphic symbols have the ability to provide an alternate semiotic system through which a personal and complex narrative can be conveyed to the viewer in a more compressed and abstract form: The diagram establishes itself as a democratising device and a conduit through which complex worlds can be described to the lay observer’. Using the power of image and/or graphics in combination with text to form a flowchart demands higher order thinking skills to ensure the developers’ tacit knowledge is clear and accessible to the viewer.

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