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Visual Education and The Internet Camp: A Study of Underprivileged Children and Their Web Pages
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Visual Education and The Internet Camp: A Study of Underprivileged Children and Their Web Pages In the summer of 1999 a southwestern university received a private grant to organize an Internet Camp for underprivileged children. The two-week program was designed to teach the children how to create their own web pages. Thirty students from an urban middle school were invited to the camp. Not only was this an opportunity for the children to learn how to create web pages, it was a chance to study how children learn in a visual literacy program. Creation and expression are important elements in the process of visual learning. These components are important for understanding the activities and creations of the children who took part in the 1999 Summer Internet Camp. Messaris (1994) argues that a heightened conscious awareness of the visual media is a primary educational goal of visual literacy. He states that an “awareness of the ways in which visual media give rise to meaning and elicit viewers’ responses can also be seen as providing a basis for informed aesthetic appreciation. Knowing how visual effects are achieved may lessen the vicarious thrills we might otherwise derive from visual media . . . ” (Messaris, 1994, p. 3). In other words, involvement in the creation of a visually mediated message can help strip away the false sense of awe and wonder one has with visual media and gives the individual knowledge and a sense of control over the medium. It is the intent of this study to examine the relationships between the children’s social status and the effects of the literacy program through a detailed analysis of the web pages they created. Research on visual learning such as Wendy’s Ewald’s (1985) work with children emulates this idea. In Portraits and Dreams, Ewald describes the process of teaching grade- school children in Appalachia how to take photographs. The book presents the children’s

Authors: Mullen, Lawrence.
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Visual Education and The Internet Camp:
A Study of Underprivileged Children and Their Web Pages
In the summer of 1999 a southwestern university received a private grant to organize an
Internet Camp for underprivileged children. The two-week program was designed to teach the
children how to create their own web pages. Thirty students from an urban middle school were
invited to the camp.
Not only was this an opportunity for the children to learn how to create web pages, it was
a chance to study how children learn in a visual literacy program. Creation and expression are
important elements in the process of visual learning. These components are important for
understanding the activities and creations of the children who took part in the 1999 Summer
Internet Camp. Messaris (1994) argues that a heightened conscious awareness of the visual
media is a primary educational goal of visual literacy. He states that an “awareness of the ways
in which visual media give rise to meaning and elicit viewers’ responses can also be seen as
providing a basis for informed aesthetic appreciation. Knowing how visual effects are achieved
may lessen the vicarious thrills we might otherwise derive from visual media . . . ” (Messaris,
1994, p. 3). In other words, involvement in the creation of a visually mediated message can help
strip away the false sense of awe and wonder one has with visual media and gives the individual
knowledge and a sense of control over the medium. It is the intent of this study to examine the
relationships between the children’s social status and the effects of the literacy program through
a detailed analysis of the web pages they created.
Research on visual learning such as Wendy’s Ewald’s (1985) work with children
emulates this idea. In Portraits and Dreams, Ewald describes the process of teaching grade-
school children in Appalachia how to take photographs. The book presents the children’s


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