Photo Voice or Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)
Still images can be used as texts in classrooms to engage visual learners. The adage “a picture tells a thousand words” is true. Images like those generated through CEDS projects are particularly the type of images that prompt rich cognitive discussions and connection making within multiple subject areas. Images could originate from stills made during film production, photos made on Smartphones outside of class. If the photographer or filmmaker is present who made the image, they would only reveal the story behind the image at the end, and remain silent throughout the image “reading” process.
Many aspects of VV training began with the group examining a still image, and using it as a prompt or text for sparking conversation about civic awareness and voice. GPHS teachers often begin class with images, and received training on Visual Thinking Strategies or VTS from the Minnesota Institute of the Arts. VTS training further emphasized starting out the conversation about the image with the question “What’s going on in this image?” and using circular questioning as a way to allow multiple perspectives to
“The thinking skills of media production are the hardest to train.” Jessica Mayberry, co-founder of VV. The following thinking skill activities from VV trainings would be particularly useful for teachers to use when brainstorming around potential CEDS campaigns.