SCOPE

Visual Learning:
COMMUNICATION – CULTURE – CONSCIOUSNESS

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Conference Scope

The questions we expect to be answered, or the issues that at least should be addressed head-on, in the framework of the conference sections listed above (but please note that you are free to negotiate with the organizers about alternative topics, too), are:

Multimedia Content Development: Do educationalists by now have a clear idea of what genuine multimedia synthesis means? Do we have a grasp of true *multimedia logic* as contrasted merely to a motley of elements belonging to different media occurring in a common learning environment?

Educational Theory and Practice in the Visual Age: How far have we progressed from the notion of “visual aids” to the idea of text–image integration? How can we characterize the historical road from Comenius through a perhaps total dominance of text over picture through the rise of the image to contemporary educational theory? Does educational theory today possess the conceptual tools to understand the demands and vistas of visual thinking?

Scientific Visualization: Is it merely an instrument of popularizing science, or does it belong to the essential process of scientific discovery, or even to the essence of making epistemological and/or ontological sense of scientific theories? What does visual thinking amount to in mathematics, and what is the significance of visuality in the development of children’s mathematical thinking? / Imaging: How far do the various imaging technologies provide objective information or even truth, in what sense are the patterns they create actually images?

Visual Culture: Are we here experiencing a radically new age in communication and cognition, or are we, rather, witness to a return, at a higher level, to a primordial stage in human development? Is the rise of contemporary visual culture a liberation from the verbal straitjacket of former centuries — or, on the contrary, a spiritual decline? What are the implications for our school system?

The Visual Mind: Do we possess mental images in any epistemologically significant sense? How do thinking in words and thinking in images interact? Can there be an autonomous visual argumentation?

Sign Languages: How much is iconic and how much conventional in different sign languages? Does an appropriate study of the workings of sign languages add to our understanding of the visual mind, and/or to our understanding of the origins of verbal language?

Visual Semiotics: What are the specific additional gains the semiotic approach brings to visual studies? What is Peirce’s message for the 21st century? Does de Saussure still have such a message? Has there emerged a basic paradigm connecting social semiotics to the study of visual communication?

New Vistas in Cognitive Metaphor Theory: How well embedded in cognitive or conceptual metaphor theory has the idea become that sometimes, or often, it is visual mental images that form the background of metaphor? Are there visual metaphors, and what is their relation to verbal ones?

Art Education: Has it become genuinely affected by the rise of a new visual culture? How is child art affected? How adult education? What difference does the digital environment make, how are motor skills affected, how the grasp on reality? What is the role of art education in reducing social inequality in schools?

Film Theory: Since the pioneering works of say Münsterberg, Balázs, and Arnheim, film theory has branched out in innumerable directions, has reacted to radical technological changes, and is by now said by many to be more or less inscrutable. Can we, still, grasp some definite contemporary theoretical patterns, define some leading paradigms? And can we, in an all-encompassing online video environment, still articulate some meaningful strategies of bringing together film and education?

Visual Rhetoric: After centuries of dominance of the printed word, and with the linguistic turn a thing of the past, the study of rhetoric is now once again a well-established branch of learning. Visual rhetoric is the answer to the demands of a visual culture. In what direction(s) however will rhetoric move in the age of online multimodal networked social media?

Reform and Continuity: Amidst the breathtaking technological changes we experience, what are the inevitable turns educational theory and practice must take, and where are the points continuity rather than reform should prevail? Is there a scope for conservative pedagogy today? How far can the distinction between conveying factual knowledge and teaching competences be upheld? Do we have an idea of what the essentials of a successful school system actually are?