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Which clippings match 'Symbols' keyword pg.1 of 1
03 DECEMBER 2012

Sinclair ZX81: semigraphical / pseudographical characters

"If you press GRAPHICS (shifted 9) then the cursor will come up as : this means graphics mode. If you type in a symbol it will appear in its inverse video form, & this will go on until you press GRAPHICS again or NEWLINE. RUBOUT will have its usual meaning. Be careful not to lose the cursor  amongst all the inverse video characters you've just typed in. ...

Right at the beginning are space & ten patterns of black, white & grey blobs; further on there are eleven more. These are called the graphics symbols & are used for drawing pictures. You can enter these from the keyboard, using graphics mode (except for space, which is an ordinary symbol using the  cursor; the black square is inverse space). You use the 20 keys that have graphics symbols written on them. For instance, suppose you want the symbol , which is on the T key. Press GRAPHICS to get the  cursor, & then press shifted T. From the previous description of the graphics mode, you would expect to get an inverse video symbol; but shifted T is normally <>, a token, & tokens have no inverses: so you get the graphics symbol  instead."

(Steven Vickers, 1981, Sinclair Research Limited)

Fig.1 "graphics mode" table from Steven Vickers (1981). "Sinclair ZX81 BASIC Programming", Second Edition 1981, Copyright 1980 Sinclair Research Limited (converted to HTML by Robin Stuart).

2). Matthew Eagles (2008). "ZX81 VDU" TrueType font which replicates the letters, numbers etc. displayed on the screen of the ZX81.



1980s19818-bitbasic geometric shapesblack and white • block graphics • computer historygeometric figuresgeometric shapes • graphic symbols • graphical building block • graphics mode • history of computinghome computerindustrial archaeologymanualmonotone • PETSCII • pictorial systemspixel matrix • pseudographics • semigraphical characters • semigraphics • Sinclair Research Ltd • Sinclair ZX80 • Sinclair ZX81 • sixels • symbolsymbolstypefacevintage technologyvisualisationZX81


Simon Perkins
18 JULY 2010

Defining visual thinking and visual literacy

"Wileman (1993) defines visual literacy as 'the ability to 'read,' interpret, and understand information presented in pictorial or graphic images' (p. 114). Associated with visual literacy is visual thinking, described as 'the ability to turn information of all types into pictures, graphics, or forms that help communicate the information' (Wileman, p. 114). A similar definition for visual literacy is 'the learned ability to interpret visual messages accurately and to create such messages' (Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 1999, p. 64). The ERIC definition of visual literacy is 'a group of competencies that allows humans to discriminate and interpret the visible action, objects, and/or symbols, natural or constructed, that they encounter in the environment' ( Robinson (as quoted in Sinatra, 1986) describes visual literacy as 'an organizing force in promoting understanding, retention, and recall of so many academic concepts with which students must contend' (p. v). And lastly, Sinatra defines visual literacy as 'the active reconstruction of past visual experience with incoming visual messages to obtain meaning' (p. 5), with the emphasis on the action by the learner to create recognition.

The use and interpretation of images is a specific language in the sense that images are used to communicate messages that must be decoded in order to have meaning (Branton, 1999; Emery & Flood, 1998). If visual literacy is regarded as a language, then there is a need to know how to communicate using this language, which includes being alert to visual messages and critically reading or viewing images as the language of the messages. Visual literacy, like language literacy, is culturally specific although there are universal symbols or visual images that are globally understood."

(Suzanne Stokes, 2002)

[1] The Occasional Wife

[2] Stokes, S. (2002). "Visual literacy in teaching and learning: A literature perspective." Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education 1(1).

Branton, B. (1999). Visual literacy literature review. Retrieved December 26, 2001, from

Emery, L., & Flood, A. (1998). Visual literacy. Retrieved September 22, 1999, from University of Canberra, Australian Centre for Arts Education Web site:

Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J. D., & Smaldino, S. E. (1999). Instructional media and technologies for learning (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice–Hall.

Sinatra, R. (1986). Visual literacy connections to thinking, reading and writing. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Wileman, R. E. (1993). Visual communicating. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications.



Simon Perkins

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