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ERIC Number: EJ779670
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0889-0293
"A Heuristic for Visual Thinking in History"
Staley, David J.
International Journal of Social Education, v22 n1 p24-42 2007
This article details a heuristic history teachers can use in assigning and evaluating multimedia projects in history. To use this heuristic successfully, requires more than simply following the steps in the list or stages in a recipe: in many ways, it requires a reorientation in what it means to think like an historian. This article, as much as anything, is an appeal to historians to view themselves as more than just writers, to expand the range of media in which they work, to think of themselves as information designers. By design, the author means "the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order." When they write, historians are engaged in a design act, in that they impose order on the past by arranging words, sentences, and paragraphs into a meaningful whole. When working with visual and other multimedia objects, historians might also learn cognitive tools for meaningfully arranging and designing them to create visual narratives and visual arguments. That is, history teachers might learn to think historically using the affordances of many forms of media. Note that designers often work in several media: architects will design furniture and household objects; artists will work with paint and sculpt in clay and draw posters. They are not confined to one medium, and are able to communicate in a variety of media. The author would like to see historians similarly trained to work in a variety of media--not just the written word--when thinking historically. This conceptual reorientation will make it easier for history teachers to assign and critically assess multimedia representations in history. More important, the heuristic the author proposes helps historians expand the range of what they define as historical thinking. The author envisions a day when thinking like an historian means thinking about and representing the past, not only as a one-dimensional sentence, but also as a multidimensional visual space. (Contains 25 notes.)
International Journal of Social Education. Ball State University, Department of History, Muncie, IN 47306. Tel: 765-285-8700; Fax: 765-285-5612; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A