I was invited as a research and instructional designer to Dr. Matthew Peterson's research: Understanding and Implementing Visual Metaphor. The paper/ research was for the Illinois Learning Sciences Design Initiative (ILSDI), organized by the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The initial research proposal and investigation focused on the concepts of heat transfer explained using visual metaphor in middle school science textbooks. I developed an iPad learning app featuring gamified learning objectives and empirical knowledge building activities. I investigated and conceived symbols as an approach to visual metaphor as well as images in the form of juxtapositions, collage and recognizabilty for said app and books. The research culminated in a white paper (link below).
I implemented these concepts overseeing the collaborative assistance of then under- graduate design students Bella Reinhofer (illustration's Sander Weeks).
Peterson, Wise, Lindgren, Cox, & Mathayas: Science curriculum materials, particularly textbooks, rely heavily on diagrams and other visualizations of phenomena to convey core concepts and critical ideas. While the content of these visualizations is generally informed and vetted by scientists, the pedagogical design and the ways in which these visualizations have been informed by principles of visual communication are typically not given a high degree of scrutiny. And yet multimedia learning theory (Mayer, 2009) and other theories of instructional design argue that the manner in which these visualizations are constructed can have a significant impact on how people learn from them. We argue that substantial research needs to focus on the characteristics of effective visualizations for learning, and we propose specifically to investigate and create proof-of-concept designs that employ an especially promising element of learning media: visual metaphor. We intend to explore the application of visual metaphors to both non-interactive (textbooks) and interactive (tablet and handheld applications) visualizations, and we ultimately aspire to assemble principles of visual learning design that can be employed to domains that go beyond science education. full Paper available here 

Metaphor as symbol: recognition, response, understanding and application (options and team selected symbols, stock images)
Concepts using symbols in textbook incorporating mnemonic type, constructed metaphor 
using juxtaposition of iconic imagery, illustration, layout techniques and text embedded symbols for further recognition and comprehension. Design work was done adhering to stringent guidelines for K-12 publishing. (marker illustrations by Sander Weeks, photo collage by Joe Carpenter, see The Creation of Adam)
iPad Learning: I concepted and designed an interactive and progressive learning experience via text, image/symbol and audio functions for differentiating abilities and enhanced learning assistance. I gamified the app with drag and drop symbol/image games, photography search and document for empirical understanding featuring interactive cloud based library for group sharing and reward, among other features.  
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