29 SES 01, Paper Session
Theoretical framework and objectives
Everyday life of today’s young people is vey much characterized by digital tools, such as smart phone, computer and the like (Tønnesen 2007). Many young people are online most of the day and can be contacted on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Both the communication and knowledge dissemination are very often visual, mostly in a figurative sense (Bamford 2006; 2011). One may assume that most young people are surrounded with thousands of images each day. We therefore think that it would be interesting to find out whether an image can have an educational value, or not.
Many may realise that visual examples and explanations can help understand complex issues and situations more easily (Torgersen & Saeverot 2012). As such, a visual representation can be educational in that it conveys something in a clear and concrete matter (Mitchell 1994). The viewer comes closer to an understanding by way of image. However, an image can convey many different stories at the same time and thus appear quite complex and difficult (Boehm 2007). Such a representation may not be educational, in the sense that it interferes with, and obscures, the understanding of the viewer. From another point of view one might claim that such an image is educational, as it gives room for complexity which will challenge the reception of the viewer (Løvlie 2003). Furthermore, an image may also contain very little information and become almost futile and meaningless (Schiedermair 2010). This shows that an image in itself does not necessarily possess an educational value or not; rather, what is interesting is what happens between the receiver and the physical image (Løvlie 2003). It is as if something occurs in between the receiver and the image itself.
An image can also touch immediately, as it does not have to take a detour through linguistic coding (Boehm 2004). The receivers can therefore, by way of the power of the image, exist outside of themselves, go back in time, to other parts of the world in a fraction of a second (Larsen & Lien 2008). All this is dependent on the situation, the person, etc (ibid.). Thus it is difficult, if not impossible, to give a clear answer to questions concerning what kind of images that are important for young people today and how they may have an educational significance. The reason being that such matters do vary from person to person and from situation to situation. An image that may be important for one person may be totally uninteresting for another (Torgersen & Saeverot 2012). Nor is there a certain truth in the image, a truth that is revealed in the same manner to all those who behold the image (Boehm 2004; 2007). For sure, the image can be physically observed in a fairly similar manner, but only on the descriptive level (ibid.). What the image means for the singular individual, however, is dependent on the following: whether the image evokes something in the person, be it memories or feelings (Schiedermair 2010).
The paper is divided into three parts. First, we examine how images and visual representations can be significant in a pedagogical sense. At the same time we writes forth a hypothesis whis is explored empirically in the second section. In the third and final section we discuss the significance and validity of the empirical explorations related to the hypothesis.
References Bamford, A. (2011). Arts and Cultural Education in Norway. National Center for Arts and Cultural Learning, on behalf of the Norwegian Directorate of Education. Bamford, A. (2006). The Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education. Waxmann Verlag. Biesta, G. (2014). The Beautiful Risk of Education. Boulder & London: Paradigm Publishers. Boehm, G. (2007). Wie Bilder Sinn erzeugen: Die Macht des Zeigens. Berlin: Berlin University Press Boehm, G. (2004) Jenseits der Sprache? Anmerkungen zur Logik der Bilder. In: C. Maar & H. Burda (eds.), Iconic Turn. Die Neue Macht der Bilder. Köln [Cologne]: DuMont, pp. 28–43. Larsen, P. & Lien S. (2008). Kunsten å lese bilder. Oslo: Spartacus Forlag A/S Løvlie, L. (2003). The promise of Bildung. In: L. Løvlie, K.P. Mortensen & S.E. Nordenbro (eds.) (2003) Educating Humanity: Bildung in Postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell. Mitchell, W.J.T. (1994) Picture Theory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Schiedermair, J. (2010). Gottfried Boehm: Wie Bilder Sinn erzeugen: Die Macht des Zeigens, Ekfrase, 1, pp. 66-68. Torgersen, G.E. & Sæverot, H. (2012). Danningens nye ansikt i risikosamfunnet. Digital vekking mot virtuell terrorisme. Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift, 47(3). Tønnesen, E.S. (2007). Generasjon.com: mediekultur blant barn og unge. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
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