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Storytelling With Data: Visualization in Teacher Education

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Research paper
Roundtable presentation

Tuesday, June 25, 4:15–5:15 pm
Location: 121AB, Table 3

Presentation 3 of 5
Other presentations:
The Use of Learning Analytics to Support Preservice Teacher Digital Pedagogy
Teacher Moments: Developing Preservice Teacher Practical Knowledge with Digital Simulations
Examining Preservice Teachers' Technology Integration Development via Their Problem-Centered Learning Experiences
Educator Perceptions of Digital Devices, Multitasking and Distractions in the Classroom

Dr. Melda Yildiz   Juliet Boone  
The research explored three key topics to showcase the educational experiences of the teacher candidates: the wide range of meanings participants associated with data visualization; the impact of multimedia production activities on participants’ reactions to media education; and the ways in which the participants integrated visual imagery into their projects.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Resources will be provided on a website that can be accessed in every platform.
Focus: Professional learning
Topic: Teacher education
Grade level: Community college/university
Subject area: Higher education, Inservice teacher education
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
  • Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
Additional detail: Preservice teacher presenter, Undergraduate student, Graduate student

Proposal summary


The Participatory Action Research (PAR) study focused on the role of media literacy in global context. We have used several theoretical frameworks and standards. Some of the theoretical frameworks are: media literacy (Len Masterman, 1985, Buckingham, 2003), semiotics (Chandler, 2014), and multicultural education (Nieto, 2013).

Semiotics is one of the approaches to media education and new media literacy. It complements and promotes the ideals of Media Literacy education. It opens a new way to the study of media literacy.

The study examined to role of new media and technologies in transforming teacher education curriculum by aligning local, national, and international standards and frameworks: 1) National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE); 2) Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE); 3) Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); 4) Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21); 5) Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) and Asia Society Partnership for Global Competencies; 6) National Center on Universal Design for Learning at Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST); 7) International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).


This study explores how to integrate visual imagery and instructional design into multimedia presentations in several academic disciplines and to promote the importance of using authoring tools to develop expertise in media literacy skills, instructional design strategies, and multicultural perspectives.

In this participatory research, participants from different technical backgrounds and various programs explored the power of visual imagery in designing instructional programs. After acquiring the necessary technical skills to use various authoring tools such as PowerPoint, the participants integrated visuals such as pictures, graphics, photos, charts, animations, videos, background images and colors, and sounds into their multimedia projects. The goal of the study is to investigate the importance of visual imagery and instructional design strategies in creating multimedia presentations. It is proposed that visualization is a complex process, for example in a business course, you see the graph in a fracture of a second but you analyze, interpret and understand it in a minute or more.

Study outlines the difficulties and unique characteristics of new media and technologies that the participants face in the study. For example, if our students perceived visualized data is more important than text data, how we are going to represent all the different course materials is classrooms. It explore three key topics in order to understand the educational experiences of the participants: the wide range of meanings participants associate with media education and instructional design; the impact of multimedia production activities on participants’ understanding of new media; and the ways in which they integrate visual imagery and data in their final multimedia projects and presentations.

The study demonstrates the importance of studying semiotics and instructional design in teaching several disciplines, e.g., Business, school leadership, communication arts in order to gain different perspectives in our teaching styles and strategies. The study questions: Which subject area is more suitable for visualization? How the assessment would be different in visualization course vs regular course?

This study not only compares the results of various groups and their experiences with integrating images into their multimedia projects but also presents students’ updated multimedia presentations and reflections on an electronic book format. In conclusion, the main goal of this presentation is to draw on the natural links between semiotics and media education. We will see how a critical approach to the study of media combines knowledge, reflection, and action, promotes educational equity, and prepares new generation to be socially responsible members of a multicultural, democratic society.


Data collection and analysis is in progress.
This research is an extension of the previous study. As our preliminary results indicate transforming our own teaching is more important then ever. From the perspective of educational policy, educational reform has been linked to national economic competiveness in the global economy. Many in the past argued that K-12 curriculum is an inch deep and a mile wide (Schmidt, McKnight, & Raizen, 1997) and American curriculum is lagging behind to equip the next generation of the American workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of the 21st century (NCEE, 2007). The latest report funded by the OECD for the International Student Assessment (PISA, 2012), U.S students performed below average in math among the 65 nations. Designing curriculum for a deeper understanding, setting higher standards with a set of clear expectations of what students need to learn, emphasizing the application of knowledge, and incorporating assessment throughout the curricular process have long been documented. Wiggins (1988 & 2005) proposed organizing curriculum around “big ideas” and “concepts” (Ericson, 2006 & 2008). The current trends in curriculum – building toward higher standards to emphasize a deeper understanding of the content and application of knowledge to real life settings – in essence is a “transformative” curriculum. Participants have been sharing their challenges and triumphs on a weekly bases; peer observing and providing feedback to each other. As one student wrote: "The past few months allowed me to reflect upon my life and teaching career. I learned “pedagogy of plenty” versus “pedagogy of poverty”; this help me to know that in my own past I was taught by the latter, but as a future “edupreneur” I will embrace “pedagogy of plenty.” I have also learned to look intently at history, commercials, stereotypes (i.e. scientist) and other public publication for “myths and misconceptions.” By the end of Fall, we expect to complete our checklist for teaching education models (from Traditional, Progressive to Transformative) that we developed based on our self reflections. By the end of Spring, we plan to re-develop our lessons based on our rubrics and checklist that we compile. Since 2010, I have been working with teacher candidates in different programs (e.g. early childhood, elementary, secondary, special education. Based on this participatory action research, I seek to improve my own teaching in the field of global education as well as integrate global competencies and 21st century skills to the courses I teach in other departments; conduct a self- study on my teaching activities; and reflect on my philosophy of education focusing on “transformative education” model while exemplifying reflective teaching practices to my students and co-creating tools, strategies, and projects with the research participants. Most importantly, the study provided open dialog and communication among faculty, pre-service and in-service teachers to bridge theory into practice while integrating innovative technologies and frameworks.


When I attended a presentation given by a dance teacher Luana in National Association of Multicultural Education conference in the fall of 1996. Luana talked about the differences in art and dance among cultures, and gave interesting examples, even encouraged us to dance and present ourselves through dance. Through dance and movement, humans define themselves. In western culture, the dance especially “bale” includes upward movements. The dancers are as if trying to reach to the sky. In Africa, the dancers dance toward to the earth. For instance, whirling dervishes (Sufi) try to reach to the sky (God) with one hand and the other hand points to the earth. The movement in dance reflects cultural differences. As one teacher pointed out, African decent students walk as if they are reaching to the ground. Some may interpret this as an attitude towards a system or teacher, but as the speaker points out this is just a movement comes from the student's culture.

Kimberly J. Sloan (1995) wrote a “teachable moment” as a reflection paper. While she was working at a juvenile prison, she drew a picture of a crown to represent Prince Hamlet of Denmark. It was interpreted as a gang symbol by the class. By drawing the crown, she had somehow affiliated herself with the Ghetto Boys of Indianapolis. This angered her students who consider themselves members of a rival gang. She used the drawing of the crown on the board to be interpreted as an icon. She wanted to illustrate the power structure of Shakespeare's play Hamlet by mapping the character names on the board to show their relationships in the play. However, some students did not accept the drawn crown as an icon, but instead perceived it as a symbol. To them, the crown was a gang symbol that demonstrated their affiliation to that particular gang.

Teachers’ role in education is critical and important. For Paulo Freire (1993), “Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students.” Although it is almost impossible to understand each and every students’ background and culture and their interpretation of the signs and symbols, as Sloan (1995) suggests “We can use our various interpretations of signs as a starting place for discussion of our often opposing value systems, to create interesting juxtapositions, and to investigate others "personal structures" to broaden our own experiences.”

In the millennium, we are going to be surrendered by more and more images from bulletin boards to Internet, from advertisements banners to book covers. Internet and new technologies creates new images, icons, symbols, and metaphors to study for us to make sense on the Cyberspace.

The mass media … play a critical role in the social construction of knowledge concerning race and ethnicity … For the full flourishing of multicultural education, scholars need to develop more sophisticated ways to explore and assess media-based multicultural knowledge construction. (Cortes, 1995)

Since new generation is spending more time with the mass media, their interpretation of the world is mainly based on images they have seen. As writer Walter Lippmann says, “Whether right or wrong ... imagination is shaped by the pictures seen ... Consequently, they can lead to stereotypes that are hard to shake.”

One quote about the way we see and interpret (Personal Interview, 1992).

While I was working as a media specialist in a high school, I had an interesting incident. Teachers were required to save students' progress reports on a floppy disk, and then upload the file to the registrar’s office though school wide information system. One day, one of the teachers told me that the registrar received her file without any data. She was sure she followed all the directions in the manual and even the computer said “OK.” Except she forgot to upload her file since she saw "0K" next to her name, and the date it was sent. It took us a while to find out which step she missed and why she thought she was right. When she saw "0K" (zero kilobytes), she thought it was "OK" meaning the message transmitted safely to the registrar’s office.

It is essential that the educators from various disciplines promote students’ learning outcomes. Research indicates that data visualization is a quick and convenient way to students’ brains to processes information in a universal matter. As we approach to the second part of the twenty-first century, as Hobbs (1997) said

As we enter the twenty first century, it is essential that the schools be places that help students better understand the complex, symbol-rich culture in which they live in. A new vision of literacy is essential if educators are serious about the broad goals of education: preparing students to function as informed and effective citizens in a democratic society; preparing students to realize personal fulfillment; and preparing students to function effectively in a rapidly changing world that demands new, multiple literacies. (Hobbs, 1997)

The current research promotes creative awareness among students, educators and academic community about its importance. It would also help to identify challenges or areas that need improvement. Moreover, it demonstrates empirical results, which demonstrate course suitability and assessment methods. For example, in a business course, how to predict sales volume and in an education course, how to re-think instruction using data visualization.

Since new generation is spending more time with the mass media, their interpretation of the world is mainly based on images they have seen. As writer Walter Lippmann says, “Whether right or wrong ... imagination is shaped by the pictures seen ... Consequently, they can lead to stereotypes that are hard to shake.” Instead of consumers of media, new generations need to be the producers of media. The more they study and experience media, the more likely they see, understand, and interpret media. Len Masterman (1985) considers media literacy education is a crucial step towards “participatory democracy.” Masterman adds, “Media Education is both essential to the exercising of our democratic rights and a necessary safeguard against the worst excesses of media manipulation for political purposes.”

Teacher candidates who are enrolled in Teacher Certification Programs are currently affected by the issues being investigated. From assessing the teacher candidates to preparing them for the standard driven curriculum, there is and increasing demand for globally connected and culturally relevant pedagogy. As the accountability of teacher education programs and the demand for globally competent teacher candidates are increasing, teachers’ performance in the classroom is under unprecedented and intensifying scrutiny. Teacher education programs seek innovative and transformative education models that implement the theory into practice while preparing teacher candidates for global economy. Teacher candidates who start their teaching often confused and puzzled by connecting their theoretical knowledge into practice as well as fulfilling the demands of the standard driven curriculum. To answer the research questions, this study explores how global competencies, media literacy education as well as transformative critical pedagogy frameworks are being adopted in teacher education and integrated in K12 curriculum. This study not only provides discussion on case studies, authentic and transformative teaching materials, assessment tools, and strategies but also outlines the transformative role of global education into teacher education curricula. This study will have a broader impact in teacher education field and benefit teacher candidates, teacher educators, K-12 educators, parents, and administrators who seek transformative and innovative strategies and tools for improving instruction, assessing students' work and for preparing new generations to be future “transformative and visionary leaders” and global citizens.

Conference participants will be able to: · argue the challenges and advantages of visualization of data and transformative critical pedagogy in media education; · introduce the decontruction of visual imagery in developing global competencies, media literacy skills among pre- and in-service teachers; · showcase their transdisciplinary multimedia projects across content areas (e.g. math, geography, cultural studies, world languages); · demonstrate creative strategies and possibilities for engaging pre-and in-service teachers in project-based globally connected activities integrating new media and technologies; · investigate the use and the power of visual imagery as a means to promote heutagogy among pre-and in service teachers, · outline the best practices, assessment tools, and curriculum models that promote storytelling with data integrating visualization in education.


Albertson, M. E. (1997). Creativity and the Evolution of Semiotics units using Internet Communication. The Claremont Graduate University PhD. Dissertation. ProQuest.

Berger, A. A.(1982). Media analysis techniques. Vol 10. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Brunner, C. & Tally, W. (1999). The new media literacy handbook : an educator's guide to bringing new media into the classroom. New York: Anchor Books/Doubleday.

Cassidy, M. F. (1982). Toward integration: Education, instructional technology, and semiotics. A Journal of Theory, Research, and Development; v30 n2 p75-89.

Codognet, P. (1990) Ancient Images and New Technologies: The Semiotics of the Web. Retrieved from

Danesi, M. (1994). Messages and Meaning: An Introduction to Semiotics. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Eco, U. (1976). A Theory of semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum

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Hobbs, R. (1997). Expanding the concept of literacy. Media literacy in the Information Age. New Brunswick: Transaction Publisher. 163-183.

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Luke, C. (1994) Feminist pedagogy and critical media literacy. Journal of Communication Inquiry, special issue on "Critical Media Pedagogy" 18(2), 27-44.

Mangan, J. W. (1981). Learning through pictures: a study of cultural and cognitive aspects of visual images. Thesis (Ed.D.) University of Massachusetts.

Masterman, L. (1985). Teaching Media. London: Comedia Publishing Group.

McLuhan, M. and Fiore, Q.(1967) The Medium is the Message. Singapore: HardWired.

November, A. (2001, March). Teaching kids to be web literate. Technology and Learning, vol 21, pp.42-46.

Peirce, C. S. (1958). Collected Papers. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Scott, A., Yildiz M. (1996) Minnie Mouse Meets Paulo Freire: Media Literacy, Praxis, and Multicultural Education, National Association for Multicultural Education 1996 Proceedings. 252- 261.

Sloan, K. J. (1995 February 8). Icon or Symbol: A Teacher's Moral Dilemma. Retrieved from

Thome, R. (Oct 1996) The Fourth R is Research. Electronic Learning.

Yan, M. (1995). A Semiotic Analysis of Icons on the World Wide Web. International Visual Literacy Conference. Chicago. EDRS.

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Dr. Melda Yildiz, NYIT

Melda N. Yildiz is a global scholar, assessment and curriculum consultant, instructional designer, author, and edupreneur. Yildiz served as a Fulbright Scholar in Turkmenistan (2009) and Azerbaijan (2016), teaching and conducting research integrating new media and technologies in P16 classrooms. She worked as a media specialist and the director of media services at Northfield Mount Hermon School and taught media literacy and production to grades 9-12.

Juliet Boone, NYIT
Graduate student

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