ABSTRACT

Close to the end of research on this project I was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Hawaiian Social Studies Association. Never having been to the Islands, I gratefully accepted. It was October, 1994. The day before the talk I gave a brief presentation of my Visual Turn research findings to a small group of fac­ ulty at the College of Education at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. This talk was relatively easy to give because it was a summary of the principal issue arising from the study which concerned reading visual/verbal information in textbook formats. However, the talk I had planned for the Social Studies Association had caused me a great deal of anxiety. At the end of a long research project I had wanted to “envision,” like Tufte, beyond the results of my study which connected visual/verbal thinking to speculation about how children might learn from the graphical interface of the computer. There was also the desire to render the “big picture” about how the physical space of the classroom was soon to be virtually co-terminus with cyberspace. This convergence point was traceable, I felt, in the beautiful visuals nested in the white space of the Houghton Mifflin books. All were like windows in the text through which kids, unlike most teachers or parents, could look to see what was on the other side.