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r j sullivan
Visual Artist
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Tim's Garden


Planning Ahead:

A Critical Intervention 

Action Plan Project for 

Implementation of:

 Visual Culture & New Media

 Adult Education Courses at

 Daytona State College


...the term visual culture is often used to describe a shift     or turn in society where the increase in  production, proliferation, and consumption of imagery, in concert with technological, political, and economic developments, has profoundly changed our world and the context in which our knowledge and awareness of that world is rooted. (Tavin, 2003, p. 204)




Overview and Research Brief

This Critical Intervention Action Plan is interested in setting in motion a plan of action that will result in the Daytona State’s Education College establishing a Visual Culture and New Media adult education course.

Visual Culture and New Media are relatively new and important fields of study that directly relate to social studies and language arts. Visual Culture investigates how particular forms of culture “are understood within and across different circuits of global culture that, in turn, characterize the wider society” (Tavin and Hausman, 2004, p.49). Dr. Olivia Gude, an education scholar from the University of Illinois, who recently gave a public lecture at the University of Florida, defined Visual Culture as “important because it addresses modern culture in a critical way that adheres it to a social science.” (Gude, 2012) New Media, as defined by NewMedia.org a research and fact finding organization whose mission is to improve public understanding of issues surrounding the Internet and other forms of new media communications, “is a 21st Century catchall term used to define all that is related to the internet and the interplay between technology, images and sound” (NewMedica.org). The study of Visual Culture and New Media promote very important relationships and alliances amongst many disciplines such as the social sciences, humanities, the arts and science. If implemented within the framework suggested in this plan, the Visual Culture and New Media course will result in more students becoming better primed for university study, technologically demanding careers, as well as life in general, today and in the future.

According to North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) and US Department of Education: 

In today's digital world, technology has contributed to an expanded understanding of literacy. Besides having basic literacy skills, today's students also need technology skills for communicating, investigating, accessing and using information, computing, thinking critically about messages inherent in new media, and understanding and evaluating data. As policymakers and educators ponder what it means to be literate in a digitized society, an array of literacy definitions is emerging. Among them are the following examples:

Information Literacy: The ability to access and use information, analyze content, work with ideas, synthesize thought, and communicate results.

Digital Literacy: The ability to attain deeper understanding of content by using data-analysis tools and accelerated learning processes enabled by technology.

New Literacy: The ability to solve genuine problems amidst a deluge of information and its transfer in the Digital Age.

Computer Literacy: The ability to accurately and effectively use computer tools such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation and graphic software.

Computer-Technology Literacy: The ability to manipulate the hardware that is the understructure of technology systems.

Critical Literacy: The ability to look at the meaning and purpose of written texts, visual applications, and spoken words to question the attitudes, values, and beliefs behind them. The goal is development of critical thinking to discern meaning from array of multimedia, visual imagery, and virtual environments, as well as written text.

Media Literacy: The ability to communicate competently in all media forms—print and electronic—as well as access, understand, analyze and evaluate the images, words, and sounds that comprise contemporary culture.” (Holum and Gahala, 2001)

The above new “literacy” categories outlined by the US Department of Education are critical to today’s learning environment if students are to be able to navigate today’s technologically centric globalized venues, whether these venues are private companies, higher learning institutes or government(s).

Many school districts throughout the country have recognized the importance of implementing courses that utilize New Media and the study of Visual Culture (forms of Media Literacy) which have resulted in many positive outcomes. Concord High School in Concord, New Hampshire in a brief entitled Integrating Media Literacy into High School English (2012) under the subtitle Evidence of Program Effectiveness found:

the impact of the Concord English 11 Media/Communication program has shown that students measurably strengthened their comprehension skills as readers, listeners and viewers in responding to print, audio, visual and video texts (Hobbs & Frost, 2003)…. According to their teachers, students’ writing improved because they had repeated opportunities to write about subjects that they cared about, where they could bring their confidence, knowledge, and personal interests to the writing process…. Students gained a deeper appreciation for the value of teamwork and collaboration by participating in activities that involved small group problem-solving and the exercise of imagination. They developed respect for the contributions of others, coming to see learning not as a competitive game but as an intensely social and interactive process. Through the process of asking critical questions, their curiosity was stimulated and they grew as independent learners. Many students experienced the genuine thrill of research and discovery that comes from seeking knowledge. These learning outcomes are consistent with what many school reform advocates describe as the key elements of active, engaged learning (Sizer, 1996). (United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, para 21-24) 

DSC’s Education College will have to be prepared to embellish the current social studies and/or language arts writing curriculum to include enhancements in order that the learning of this vital new criteria is realized. We all know by “planning ahead” DSC adult education students will be less likely to “fall behind”. Having the College of Education offer a state-of-the art Visual Culture and New Media adult education course will, no doubt, be a testament to DSC’s forward thinking and add to its already stellar reputation as being at the vanguard of community based education initiatives. 


Goals and Objectives

It is my opinion that in order to give students the optimum chance at succeeding in today’s highly competitive and technologically advanced global environment, DSC’s College of Education should seriously consider the recent developments in academia (Visual Culture) and technology (New Media) and act upon them accordingly by supporting a grant writing initiative. The immediate goal of this action plan is to convince the DSC College of Education administration to allow the writing of a grant that will result in a state-of-the-art Visual Culture and New Media course. This new course will, among other things, give the students much needed practical high end communication skills in the use of new media oriented computers and software.

An objective of procuring at least 25 state-of-the art media computers equipped with all the latest media software such; e.g. Microsoft Professional Suite, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere video editing and high definitions screens as well as one high resolution color printer, is paramount and at the crux of the grant’s proposal.


Action Plan

The grant will be written with the objective of initially approaching four different corporations; Adobe, Apple, Dell Computers and Microsoft. The grant writing will focus on asking Adobe and Microsoft to donate software only. Apple would be asked to donate software as well as hardware, while Dell would be asked to donate hardware only.

Because Apple offers “bundled” solutions (software and hardware) and are still ubiquitous in the “new media” arena, they may be the best alternative from a “one stop shopping” perspective. Additionally, because Apple has been under public scrutiny recently as a result of their questionable tactics regarding the use of child labor and other labor transgressions in their Chinese factories, they may be open to an opportunity to provide DSC with technology as part of a “damage control” effort that could result in much needed positive publicity for them. (NPR.org, 2012)

Within the GED and Adult High School curriculum the new Visual Culture and New Media course will be designed with the objective of satisfying the social studies and/or language arts writing requirement. Courses will be delivered via an online curriculum, however, the students will be asked to participate and attend classes on a regular basis.

Every student will be asked to develop a website of their own as part of the course. The website will become their personal discussion area portraying their identity in a professional manner as it relates to their studies of the social sciences and/or language arts writing. The students will be encouraged to utilize multi-media on their website; video, music, blogs, pictures and text. There will be a strong element that focuses on contemporary social issues and the advent of technology and its effect on today’s society. The student’s blogs will be an important component to their website as the students will be asked to write about whatever topics are being discussed in their course, as well as posting of videos, pictures and links relating to the weekly assignments. The instructor that will be chosen to teach such a class will have to have a good background in technology, social science, and writing, as well as the arts.

The ultimate objective would be to offer students the best means of preparing for today’s global culture and economy by offering them a Visual Culture and New Media social science and/or language arts writing course.



I will present to Daytona State College’s Assistant Vice President of the College of Education, the Chair and Assistant Chair of the College of Adult Education, a version of this Critical Intervention Action Plan for consideration. Additionally, a cover letter will accompany the plan appealing to all of the above administrators that a meeting, at their earliest conveniences, be held with me. The objective of the meeting will be to convince the administrators of the validity of the Action Plan and that they request the DSC’s Board of Directors consider the proposal for the grant writing initiative per this Action Plan, at their next board meeting.


Implementation Schedule

Upon having this Action Plan reviewed by my peer group and Professor Delacruz, and with the consideration of their input and any revisions as a result, I will summit for consideration via email a cover letter and the updated Action Plan to the administrators mentioned above. A concrete timeline is hard to project as I am at the mercy of a bevy of administrators and decision makers. However, I would like to see the development of a grant proposal begin as early as September 2015 with the implementation of the new Visual Culture and New Media course as early as Spring Term 2016, albeit, a more realistic date may be Fall Term 2016.



Gude, O. (2012). Visiting Scholar Lecture, University of Florida. [Online Video post toUF Academic Technology] Retrieved from: http://t.co/KEI1lQT4, February, 2012

Hein, S. (2012). Apple Continues To Be Plagued By Reports On Labor Conditions. NPR All Tech Considered,[Online Blog] Retrieved from:http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/01/26/145924264/apple-continues-to-be-plagued-by-reports-on-labor-conditions

Holum, A. & Gahala, J. (2001) Using Technology to Enhance Literacy, [Online Critical Issue] Retrieved from: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/cntareas/reading/li300.htm

Tavin, K. (2004). Wrestling with angels, searching for ghosts: Toward a critical pedagogy of visual culture. Studies in Art Education, 44(3), p. 204.

Tavin, K., & Hausman, J. (2004). Art education and visual culture in the age of globalization. Art Education, 57(5), p.49.

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Integrating Media Literacy into High School English [Website] Retrieved from: http://www.aocmedialiteracy.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=34&Itemid=31 



(Note: The image above entitled; "Tim's Garden" is in memory of my late brother and a computer augmented photo of his garden.)



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