Visual Literacy is a term frequently heard these days in conversations about teaching. What exactly do historians mean when they use that term? What kinds of visual literacy skills are important for students in history courses to acquire? How can history professors who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with teaching visual literacy begin to develop these kinds of skills and the necessary resources? These are questions that we can begin to explore through this site. We hope to hear from many SAWH members who work with visual resources in the classroom who have tips, assignment ideas, etc. to share as well as from those SAWH members who have questions about visual literacy and/or about specific kinds of visual sources and their use in teaching.

When I think visual literacy I have two initial primary concerns: 1) getting my students to look carefully at an image and to see the whole image before beginning to try to interpret, and 2) getting an understanding of the mental images that my students -- consciously or unconsciously -- carry in their heads and that shape their understanding of material that we will engage in the course. I have found the following exercise a useful one to do at the beginning of the semester (I have used it in a range of courses) as it helps me address both of these concerns: Seeing Everything in the Picture -- a classroom exercise. - Ebarkleybrown Ebarkleybrown Oct 8, 2007