Thesis Title

Enhancing Visual Literacy with Technology in Standards-Based Secondary Visual Arts Curriculum

Graduation Date

Spring 2002

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


The purpose of this action research study was to explore the process of integrating technology into a standards-based, high school visual arts curriculum to enhance visual literacy. Existing research in this area is limited. Cognitive studies have tried to quantify connections between spatial relationships, drawing, and information processing. Abundant literature exists on the rationale for standards-based visual arts education. This study focuses on the introduction of electronic tools into an existing visual arts curriculum in two basic Art & Design classes of mixed ability, 9th through 12th grade students in a suburban high school using observation, reflective journal-keeping, and student self-reflection. Sixty-one students participated in the study. Methodology included surveys, written journals and observations, and student and teacher self-reflection. The case studies consisted of two content standards-based art projects, including an Art Research PowerPoint project and a Digital Self Portrait artmaking project. Results revealed the themes of technology supporting student collaboration, using electronic tools to support content and expecting the unexpected. Findings included appropriate classroom technology use, student literacy, classroom integration, and the instructor’s role as a mentor in a student centered learning environment. The implications were that although visual literacy is difficult to measure, it was observed that introducing electronic tools supported a collaborative setting fostering creativity and student engagement and provided opportunities to develop new instructional strategies weaving together technology and content.

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