September 19, 2012

Gangnam Style

This video is blowing up all over the place recently. The Korean guy is so funny! 我爸刚弄死他,you know..  heyhey!

April 30, 2012

Visual Symbols in My Life

Well, it's the end of semester. Through learning visual literacy, I feel that I am becoming more visually aware. According to Braden & Hortin (1982), Visual Literacy is the ability to understand and use images, including the ability to think, learn, and express oneself in terms of images. With the developing of technology, visual literacy refers, not only to still images, but also to the multi-media experiences and moving images characteristic of electronic media. Majority of people in the world have ability to interpret visuals according to their own understanding. However, using image to convey information effectively to audience is a life-long learning process. Especially to educators, effective communication with students is a key to create an engaging learning process and meaningful learning outcome. And students today are constantly surrounded by images. They are used to get information through variety of visual texts. Therefore, as an educator, it’s necessary to have ability to learn from visuals and to design visuals for instruction. I think that’s the learning purpose of visual literacy.

I am a Visual-spatial learner. I am always attracted by special designs and I feel I am highly sensitive to visuals. However, prior to learning visual literacy, I didn’t realize that even a typeface included that much information (e.g. Helvatica). Through reading book, watching movie and writing blog, I feel that existence of visual symbols in my daily life is far more than I thought about. Almost everything we see in the daily life is well-designed by others. We also communicate with others through verbal, gesture, face expression; further, typeface, pictures, videos etc. And all of above, are visual symbols.

April 16, 2012

Movie review - Wag The Dog

1. What do you feel is the message the director is trying to express in this movie?  Support your answer with examples.

“A dog is smarter than its tail, but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would wag the dog”. The movie is about a story that how the tail wag the dog. It shows us the influence of public opinion and propaganda. People’s understanding of truth is “Of course it’s true. It’s on TV!” So in the film, when there was a sex scandal exposed 11 days before the president election, the president asked a movie producer to “plan a war” to transfer people’s attention as well as public opinion in order to save his position as a president.

2.  If applicable , discuss if you think this movie has accurate depictions of minorities or if they are situational? Why or why not?

The movie depicts how politician and mass communication use propaganda affect public opinion toward things.

4. What groups (people of color, nationality, culture, class,gender etc.) may be offended or misinterpret this movie and why?

Maybe some politicians or press would feel uncomfortable watching this movie. Because they have such influence to mislead public and they might have done the kind of “wag the dog” things.

5. What the movie added to your visual literacy?

Form this movie, we can see the importance of public opinion and influence of propaganda. We live in a world full with text, image, media, as though we are sitting in a boat floating in the calm surface of sea. Most people may never touch the flow beneath. To them, the truth is what they exactly see. Actually, in the movie, most propaganda they produced containing multiple visual elements. Through learning visual literacy, we are able to interpret the information correctly from those propaganda, distinguishing truth from false.

April 9, 2012

Movie review - Home

1. What do you feel is the message the director is trying to express in this movie?  Support your answer with examples.

The director aimed to make people aware of how expensive price we have paid for the development of human society. With developing of science and technology, the natural resources have been continually exploited – we have done irreversible damage to our home- the earth. For example, at the first ten minutes of the movie, the brilliant colors, the beautiful natural landscape, the abstract shapes and lines of our earth, I felt this movie was like a scenery film that praises the harmony and beauty of our earth. When the scene changed from the nature to village, from village to town, and eventually turned into the forest of skyscrapers, everything changed. The vast giant harvester on the farm, the crowded artificial barren pastures, the greenhouses which covered with plastic, the workers sprayed pesticides with gas masks, the swing oil extraction machines, which shocked me strongly. I think the scenes changing from beautiful to discordant created a strong contrast to audience how our home has been destroyed seriously.

2. If applicable , discuss if you think this movie has accurate depictions of minorities or if they are situational? Why or why not?

I don’t think this question is applicable to the movie.

3. Explain if you think the director’s ethnic/cultural/professional background played a role in directing this film?

The movie was directed by French photographer Yann Arthus- Bertrand. He got the idea of making it moved by the impact Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth had since its release.

Yann Arthus- Bertrand was born on Paris. He left France with his wife Anne when he was 30 to live in Kenya in the Masai Mara National Reserve. He lived amongst the Maasai tribe for 3 years to study the behaviour of a lions' family and took daily pictures of them during those years. He thus discovered a new passion for photography and the beauty of landscapes when observed from above in hot air balloons. He understood the power of a picture and how to communicate using this means. Following his tradition of aerial photography, Arthus- Bertrand shot this movie entirely from above.

4.  What groups (people of color, nationality, culture, class,gender etc.) may be offended or misinterpret this movie and why?

Not applicable. 

5. What the movie added to your visual literacy?

This is the first movie that I watched shooting entirely from up in the sky, from this angle, our vision is more immediate, intuitive and emotional. 

6. What kind of artistic and/or visual means did the director use in the movie to focus our attention?

Home took 217 days of shooting in 54 countries, which added up to 488 hours of footage. It was entirely shooting from up in the sky. According to the director: “Home impacts directly on the sensibility of anyone who sees it, bringing us to awareness, through emotion initially, in 
order to change the way we see the world.” In addition, Strong visual contrast and the original music in the film is also major features that attract audiences’ attention.

April 2, 2012

AHA! Journal - April, 2012

Week 1, April 2, 2012

This week is the group project time - " save the world". I chose pollution to talk about. Environment pollution become increasing serious today. We can even feel the seriousness from the unusual global weather change.

When I was looking for resources online, I found that human activity not only cause environment pollution but also visual pollution, which is really common in our daily life. According to wikipedia, visual pollution is the term given to unattractive and man-made visual elements of a vista, a landscape, or any other thing that a person does not feel comfortable to look at. Visual pollution is an aesthetic issue, referring to the impacts of pollution that impair one's ability to enjoy a vista or view. Thus litter, billboards, and auto junkyards are said to constitute visual pollution.

So, how do you feel about visual pollution?


Week 2, April 9, 2012

This week Aric and I did the gaming/visual environment presentation.  We were different type of game players with different tastes and preferences. I think it probably because our different cultural and educational background.  In addition, gender difference also affects how people decode visual elements in games. However, we still found some games that we both played as we shown in class. Among those games, Super Mario would be the most well-known one. The background music of this game also has become a classical music in gaming filed.  It really reminds me of my childhood.

The only game I played after I came to United States is Second Life, which is introduced by Dr.Z in his Emerging technology course. I had the same view as my peers that it was not really a video game. Because there is no goal, no mission, no level and no reward.  Many educators think SL can be a good teaching tool probably because this virtual world allows people to create a good learning environment that is hard to be built in the real world. Something that hard to explain or show to learners in real world is easily demonstrated in 3D virtual reality. Typical example is that a lot of pilots begin their training with flight simulator games, which is useful and cost-effective.

Week 3, April 16, 2012 

As shown in kill us softly and wag the dog, mass media always influence our life gradually and control our decision invisibly. Sometimes it is good while sometimes it is bad. Although everyone have different understanding in regard to information that mass media conveys to us, good ads always win a consensus view from their audiences.

The following are some ads I feel excellent. What do you think?  


 Public Services ads:

Week 4, April 23, 2012

This week we watched some wonderful movie in class. I really enjoyed the movie time. I like to watch movie but I barely remember what I have watched after several months if the movie doesn’t have strong visual appealing.  I shared two movies that I feel good in the class. Both of them are commercial movies made by professional film companies. However, the following two are made by individuals. They are both action movie and really awesome!

 Killer Test

The Faty girl