Prospectus Presentation – Jearl Nix

June 16, 2014 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
College of Education, room 630
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

The Role of Visual Texts in Teaching and Learning Eighth Grade Social Studies
by Jearl Nix

The purpose of this study Is to examine how eighth grade history teachers utilize visual texts in their classrooms. A qualitative case study method will be employed. Four teachers from the same eighth grade social studies department at a suburban middle school located in the southeastern United Slates will be participants in this study. There will be five data collection methods for this study: (1) teacher interviews (2) teacher document analysis (3) participant observations (4) teacher reflections and (5) student interviews. As the researcher, I will collect data through a variety of research activities. First, teachers will be interviewed and they will complete an analysis of a visual text. Second, I will conduct two work sessions with the teachers that include information on visual texts (Werner, 2002) and teachers’ roles in facilitating analysis of visual texts. Third, observations will be completed for at least two lessons for each teacher using an established observational tool. Fourth, teachers will reflect on their experiences of planning and teaching with visual texts through a brainstorming card sort activity and an interview. Finally, two students from each observed class will be interviewed to explore how students perceive learning with visual texts.

Data will be complied through the collection of field notes, videos, and voice recordings. The data generated from this study will be analyzed using a grounded theory approach such as open coding, line-by-line coding, and categorizing data for intense analysis (Chramaz, 2006). Dedoose, a web-based program developed to facilitate the storing, sorting, coding, and comparing of data collected, will be utilized. This program will assist in keeping the large amount of data organized as the analysis phase of this study is implemented.

The current generation of students find themselves living in a digital age where they have instant access to visually rich sources through graphically enhanced devices. Visual texts are a part of students’ dally lives inside and outside of school. This timely research study on teachers’ uses of visual texts in social studies is important because it will demonstrate how history teachers can utilize students’ interest in visual texts to enhance learning.