Practical Ways to Use Digital Images in Teaching and Learning
This list provides examples of ways in which digital images can be used in teaching and learning materials. It has been put together to inspire lecturers new to using digital images: however it is not comprehensive!
The list does not differentiate between types of image e.g. photographic, vector, chart or graph. So in looking at the examples below, some thought has to be given to the subject area and pedagogy: the appropriate use of the images within teaching and learning materials and the appropriate 'type' of image to represent the concept.
Use of images
- To illustrate concepts and to show examples of what you are talking about during a lecture when you can't visit the real thing (e.g. building site practices; 3D model of Roman villa) or see the item (e.g. chemical model)
Drawing of a cross found at Peakirk, Sir Henry Dryden Collection via VADS
- To inspire discussion of a topic, looking at multiple aspects and contexts (e.g. general history, social history, industrial history)
- To enforce and extend language and common terms of the object being discussed, using subject-specific terminology (e.g. archaeological items from excavations)
- To categorise within a subject discipline and potentially build reference collections for student project work and research
- To teach diagnosis and treatment (e.g. medical, dental and veterinary images)
- To lead onto extension exercise tasks, e.g. research and source other images of that topic (e.g. Neo-Classical architectural style - key buildings and features, key architects)
- To stimulate students writing a story/poem about that image - enhancing creative and language skills
- To encourage team work and foster collaboration and the sharing of a learning experience (e.g. group-based project work)
- To encourage students to become independent learners (e.g. through the use of CAL/distance learning and VLE materials)
- To encourage critical thinking skills (e.g. describing a photograph from many different viewpoints)
- To illustrate case studies (e.g. where text may prove to be slightly ambiguous an image can define points)
- To enhance visual communication skills (e.g. decoding the message from a photograph)
- To help identify emotions and mood (e.g. from documentary evidence)
- To document an event and analyse practice (e.g. taking images via a digital camera of a student show to provide documentation and analysis, field work)
Arkansas Archeological Society dig at Jones Mill by Farther Along on Flickr. Image used under the terms of a Creative Commons licence
- To assess students' knowledge, understanding and observational skills (e.g. Art History, Medicine)
- As a prompt to get students to research all aspects of a topic (e.g. mineral: mineral form, what type of rock formation found in, mineral assaying techniques, mining operations, industrial processing techniques and uses of that mineral)
- Within CAL or VLE materials to introduce unpopular topics (within a subject discipline) in a novel and, perhaps, more exciting way than a straightforward lecture/tutorial
If you are currently using digital images in ways other than the above, please let us know or comment below, so we can include it in this list and let other people learn from your inspired teaching practices!