Pictorial Pedagogy

Pictorial Pedagogy

Philip Barker (Teesside University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2949-3.ch011


For sighted people, pictures provide an important mechanism of communication; they are also a valuable learning resource. This paper discusses these issues in context to their use in developing and promoting online pictorial pedagogy through the medium of computers. As the size of an image collection grows, some form of picture repository is needed in order to store, manage, and retrieve images. In this context, the role of a digital object repository is discussed and a case study involving the use of a very large image collection is briefly described.
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The Nature Of Pictures

A picture is essentially an image-based or graphical representation of a situation (past or present) which may be real or imaginary. The image that is of interest may be created manually using some type of drawing or painting activity using an appropriate form of ‘scribing instrument’ on a ‘recording medium’ such as paper or a computer screen. Alternatively, the picture may be ‘captured’ by a ‘recording device’ such as a camera. These possibilities are summarised, in a generic way, in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Tools to capture or create pictures

A picture will normally contain a spatial array of objects called ‘picture elements’ (not to be confused with pixels). The nature of the objects in a picture, their attributes and their relationships, one to another, will determine the ‘meaning of the picture’.

In order to extract the meaning from an image, its viewer or observer needs to decode relevant information from it. This process of information/knowledge extraction can often be aided by the provision of ancillary material such as its title, a list of descriptive keywords and a textual narrative - all of which can be used to provide a context for the picture and also provide help in relation to understanding its meaning. The relationship between these image attributes, the picture itself and the pedagogy associated with a picture is illustrated schematically in Figure 2.

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