Learning to interpret historical images
Critical interpretation of pictures can be taught through structured activities posing questions about content and representation.
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.
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