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Learning to interpret historical images

Critical interpretation of pictures can be taught through structured activities posing questions about content and representation.

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The Cloudworks Team
17 June 2008

Students tend to be less critical when interpreting pictures than they are when reading documents. This is especially a problem in disciplines such as history, where much important source material is visual. Here, students undertake a series of exercises in interpreting historical images, presented on multimedia CD-ROM. Questions direct their attention to key aspects of the images, asking for example why certain objects were included or what differences there are between two pictures. Feedback includes a model answer. Later exercises provide less scaffolding, on the assumption that students are now better able to interpret pictures for themselves. [Debbie Brunton]

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