The Visual Education Movement: The Emergence of Visual Technology in Education

By Joanna Barbousas.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Visual Education Movement (VEM) that was progressing in Britain, the United States and Australia during the 1920s to 1950s saw the emergence of visual technology in education. This movement was largely underpinned by funding from Eastman/Kodak and was advocated by teachers, researchers, film producers, government officials, and clergy representatives as the new and improved pedagogical approach. The VEM reached into debates about public morals, tensions between educational & cognitive psychology, and the effects of visual technology on teaching – bringing to the foreground the defence for and distrust of visual technology in education. The VEM is examined as an example of ‘discourse emergence’ in education by utilising Michel Foucault’s method of discourse analysis to map a history of the present. This paper reports on this historical event to identify some of the ongoing tensions regarding the pedagogical authenticity of visual images in teaching and learning.

Keywords: Visual Technology, Visual Education Movement, Discourse Analysis, Power/Knowledge, Disciplinarity, Educational Practices

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp.169-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.285MB).

Dr. Joanna Barbousas

Lecturer, School of Education, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The Visual Education Movement (VEM) that was progressing in Britain, the United States and Australia during the 1920s to 1950s saw the emergence of visual technology in education. This movement was largely underpinned by funding from Eastman/Kodak and was advocated by teachers, researchers, film producers, government officials, and clergy representatives as the new and improved pedagogical approach. The VEM reached into debates about public morals, tensions between educational & cognitive psychology, and the effects of visual technology on teaching – bringing to the foreground the defence for and distrust of visual technology in education. The VEM is examined as an example of ‘discourse emergence’ in education by utilising Michel Foucault’s method of discourse analysis to map a history of the present. This paper reports on this historical event to identify some of the ongoing tensions regarding the pedagogical authenticity of visual images in teaching and learning.

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