Using Digital Images to Motivate Language Exploration and Awareness

A picture is worth a thousand words. --> A picture is worth ten thousand words. --> Every picture tells a story.

A cliché with a history!


Facilitated by Carl Young

Application of PBI by Content Area: ENGLISH

Source: Printer's Ink, 1927

PBI Compelling Question: How can digital images inspire visual literacy and enhance Chinese speakers' exploration, awareness, and manipulation of the English language?

Learning Outcomes for this PBI: Participants will develop a stronger sense of how digital images can be used in a variety of ways to facilitate language learning and development.
  • Content Objective: Participants will better understand how digital images can represent symbolic meaning in literature and culture.
  • Language Objective: Participants will be able to articulate the symbolic meaning they attribute to digital images in written and spoken English.

Technology Tools Discussed / Used:


Participants: 6 groups of 3. Please bring digital cameras if you have them.

1. Visual Literacy: Composing with Digital Images, Re-Seeing the World

  • A Framework for Teaching with Digital Images: Acquire, Analyze, Create, & Communicate and Disseminate

2. Re-Purposing Digital Images: Re-Reading the World
3. Using Images to Generate or Interpret : Writing the Word, (Re-) Writing the World

4. Using Digital Images to Enhance Text: (Re-) Representing the World
  • Directions: As indicated at the beginning, participants in this session should be grouped as follows: 6 groups of 3 participants.
  • Click on your group number below and follow the directions for completing your PBI activities for the session on digital images.

Thursday English Group 1

Thursday English Group 3

Thursday English Group 5 (no group 5)
Friday English Group 1
Friday English Group 3
Friday English Group 5
(no group 5)


Thursday English Group 2

Thursday English Group 4

Thursday English Group 6

Friday English Group 2
Friday English Group 4
Friday English Group 6
(no group 6)

5. Adding Brushstrokes to Our Writing: Revising the Word, Re-Shaping the World (only if time allows)


Discuss your process for this session and your answers to our PBI Compelling Question:
How can digital images inspire visual literacy and enhance Chinese speakers' exploration, awareness, and manipulation of the English language?



English Resources

Digital Images Resources:

Bull, G. L., & Bell, L., Eds. (2005). Teaching with Digital Images. Eugene, OR: Society for Technology and Teacher Education.

Hicks, T. (2009). The Digital Writing Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Resources for AP English Language - College Board

Resources for AP Chinese Language and Culture - College Board

Resources from Ms. Linton in the US:

Voice of America: Learning English Activities
In these voiced lessons students can practice using the building blocks (nouns, subject/verb agreement, sentence structure) of English. The lessons are differentiated for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Professional Organizations for Teaching English Language Learners

Using Wikis in the English class

Teaching Online Reading Comprehension

1. File Organization and Software Selection
2. Image Selection and Manipulation
3. Online Search Skills
4. Critical Evaluation of Online Resources
5. Copyright and Citation for Online Resources

Key References
Gersten, R., Baker, S.K., Shanahan, T., Linan-Thompson, S., Collins, P., and Scarcella, R. (2007). Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners.(IES Practice Guide, NCEE 2007-4011). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.