Essentials of Teaching and Integrating Visual and Media Literacy

pp 185-202


Using Scientific Visualization to Enhance the Teaching and Learning of Core Concepts

  • S. Raj ChaudhuryAffiliated withAuburn University Email author 
  • , Lynn MandeltortAffiliated withAuburn University
  • , Amy B. MulnixAffiliated withFranklin and Marshall College
  • , Eleanor V.H. VandegriftAffiliated withUniversity of Oregon
  • , Jennifer R. YatesAffiliated withOhio Wesleyan University

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Scientific visualization is a particular type of information representation that involves the use of static and dynamic visual and graphical media. To develop fluency with scientific visualization, one needs to develop the ability to interpret, analyze, and construct meaning from appropriate visual representations. Results from the cognitive sciences and discipline-based education research indicate that visual images help us learn and reason. We present vignettes from a variety of higher education perspectives in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that illustrate the use of scientific visualizations in different settings. In particular, the cases illustrate how faculty recognized that a lack of media literacy was impairing student success and then responded by embedding the teaching of those skills into course content. In this chapter, we move from basic interpretation of xy line graphs in mathematics, physics, and chemistry courses to learning biology from animated simulations and student-generated digital videos to explain neuroscience concepts. Practitioners reading this chapter will gain instructional insight into the challenges students encounter when learning and strategies that faculty can employ to overcome those challenges.


Biology Chemistry Graphing Neuroscience Physics Science education Scientific visualization