Vocabulary, Keywords, Tagging & Search Skills
A large portion of my schtick is Multimedia Training, particularly visual literacy and the importance of learning with photography. Sometimes the science educator in me rises up to talk about the importance of Quantitative Observations (as opposed to Qualitative). But lately, I have been thinking again about good, old fashioned vocabulary literacies (reading, writing, and using words).
I am thinking again about what are 21st century skills in a broad sense... one of them is most certainly tagging, keywording and other side of that coin is searching. While there are some fascinating stabs at visual search engines such as Tin Eye, most of the searching (or Googling) that we do is reliant on Words. Vocabulary. Language. Diction. Terminology. Phraseology. Nomenclature. Terms. Expressions. Parlance. Idiom. Jargon. Vernacular.
You get the idea, right?
As important as the visual to invoke emotion, curiousity, learning and memory- and as much as music can set mood and is the Global Language - We still rely on language to be effective at sharing our multimedia to the widest and most appropriate audience. If we don’t label, title, tag or keyword it effectively, others will never find it. On the other side of the coin, if we are looking for something ourselves– the only way to be effective at searching is to have a broadening mastery of language to expand our search returns, or to filter and refine them.
So as technology integrators, I think we have more reason than ever to expose our students to the process of intentionally going beyond their immediate personal response to the question “How should I tag this?” for pictures and other digital publications. Facilitate the expansion of their vocabulary and perspective by asking them the question: “What would someone else who was looking for this publication use as a search term?” “What would be their view or perspective, and what language would they use?”
This analysis will certainly result in deeper understanding and more durable conceptualization of the topics that they are learning about.