This study examined growth in graphical literacy for students contributing to an online, multimedia, communal environment as they advanced their understanding of biology, history and optics. Their science and history studies started early in Grade 3 and continued to the end of Grade 4; students did not receive instruction in graphics production, nor were they required to produce graphics. Results show that students spontaneously produced graphics that advanced along seven dimensions, including effective representation of complex ideas, use of source information and captions, and aesthetic quality. On average, the scores for the seven dimensions were higher for Grade 4 students with two years of experience with Knowledge Building pedagogy and technology (Knowledge Forum®) than for Grade 6 students with one year of experience. The overall pattern of results suggests reciprocal enhancement of graphical, textual, digital, and scientific literacy, with students exceeding expectations by available norms, and performance enhanced through extended Knowledge Building experience.
Zhang, Jianwei; Gan, Yongcheng; Scardamalia, Marlene; and Hong, Huang-Yao, "Early Development of Graphical Literacy through Knowledge Building" (2010). Educational Theory and Practice Faculty Scholarship. 5.