plums-in-abundance.jpgThe Internet suffers from a novel form of poverty . . . the poverty of abundance. When classroom teachers seek lessons that focus on higher level thinking, deliver efficiency and punch in a matter of minutes, the Net can be disappointing. Without thier own collection and preparedness, they and their students can drown in information garbage.

Requiring students to interpret photographs, paintings and other images is not an entirely new skill for teachers, as many teachers have applied such strategies in the decades prior to the spread of classroom computers, but the recent zeal for technology sometimes threw us off course. Pedagogy - effective teaching strategies - too often took a back seat to the tools and the toys. Instructional design and lesson development were rarely offered as elements in professional development for the use of new technologies.

A single powerful image can form the basis of an excellent lesson, generating a solid half hour of intense, thoughtful discussion and exploration. The goal is to find just the right image or combination of images to provoke the learning desired.

Visual literacy resources:

  1. Museum Victoria: Excellent collection of photographs and other digital resources.
  2. The Thinker: A collection of more than 60,000 works of art from the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum.
  3. The Web Museum: A very rich collection of paintings from hundreds of artists well supported with text passages.
  4. The Smithsonian provides an extensive array of images and artifacts.
  5. The National Gallery of Art offers a rich and varied online collection of paintings and other works of art.
  6. Photographs at the Library of Congress
  7. TimeFrames - The National Library of New Zealand
  8. Te Waimano - Waters of the Millennium - a web site of Alexander Turnbull Library images to mark the beginning of the new millennium
  9. TAPUHI - this database provides access to descriptions of the unpublished manuscripts and pictures collections of New Zealand and Pacific material in the Alexander Turnbull Library
  10. Ranfurly Collection - a digitized database of the entire collection of drawings, photographs and diaries created by Lord Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand from 1897 to 1904.