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The Iconic Turn in Education

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Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri

Some twenty years after the term iconic turn has been coined, and with a deluge of digital images, videos and animations surrounding, indeed invading, the learning environment, it appears that educational science, and the everyday practice of education, still very much labour under the impact of the past dominance of alphabetic literacy. But while educators clearly need to retain a measure of conservatism, maintain an acute sense for the logic of the written text and preserve the ability to handle extended hardcopy documents, they have to rise to the task, also, of exploiting the potentials of online networked communication, the constant presence of images, both static and moving, and the continuous interplay of words and images.

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In the Aftermath of the Linguistic Turn: Where Architectural Theory is Going: Branko Mitrovic

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12 András Benedek visual metaphors of the concept of time and relate them to personality and cul- ture. Introducing their analyses with an overview of some of the main tenets of the pictorial turn and of Arnheim’s approach, the authors arrive at important findings confirming that “even the most abstract concepts can be visualized, and when either graphical images or words are derived from these visualizations, they in turn can be used to analyze the visualized concepts”. In particular, Katz and Halpern register a “robustness of the link between internal psychological states and visual representations of time”. Their visualization experiment, they find, “served as a window to the experiential sense-making that individuals un- dertake in organizing their biographical experiences and attitudes to generate a narrative trajectory to their lives”. Nyíri, too, in his chapter “Visualization and the Horizons of Scientific Explanation”, comes back to the point that all dimen- sions of abstract reasoning essentially rely on the perceptual, in particular on the visual: “mental processes invariably involve the component of imagery”. How- ever, with alphabetic literacy as its background, Western philosophy, from Plato onwards, is a history of recurrent clashes between the experience of imagery on the one hand, and the experience of written language on the other. As Nyíri puts it, the “ ‘linguistic turn’ much pre-dated the twentieth century”, while of course the “iconic turn”, too, has an age-old prehistory. Nyíri especially stresses that there is an essential connection between the visual on the one...

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