4.2 Visualisation in the Humanities


The tradition of teaching the arts, history, geography, languages, literature, music, and theology has, in the past and to a certain extent even today, relied mostly on printed images, sometimes simple slide presentations as PowerPoint and the occasional video. All of this is changing; teachers, such as we have considered earlier in this unit, have access to a variety of tools to create indigenous multimedia products and also access to ‘off the shelf' readymade visual products and freely available published resources for use in classrooms. There are many good reasons for using visualisation techniques in the teaching of the humanities. Some of these reasons apply to the teaching of all disciplines but some are unique to the teaching of humanities subjects. These include, among others, the following:

  1. The capturing of huge amounts of data stretching as far as the beginnings of civilisation in an easily accessible form (simply imagine capturing the pyramids of Egypt or the Taj Mahal and literally thousands of such images in a single DVD and inserted into your PowerPoint presentation).
  2. Not just capturing images that are static but creating images that are dynamic, enabling teachers and learners to interact with the data.
  3. Visualisation can be used to monitor changing streams of data.
  4. Visualisation enables collaboration.

This section will be presented in one part as illustrated in the table below:


Text Resources
Media Resources

Examples of Visualisation in the Humanities

Mystery Human Fossils Put Spotlight on China

The Great Sumatran Earthquake of December 2004

Tsunami on Science on a Sphere

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you should be able to have an appreciation of the power of visualisation in the teaching of the humanities.

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