You are here: Home > Learning Zone > How To > Use images in your classroom  

Learning Zone

How to use digital images in the classroom

When Year 2 leaves the classroom at lunchtime it is the twenty first century but when they come back in it is the 1860s and they are at the end of Brunel's Clifton suspension bridge, watching his workmen building it.

ViewFinder number bb89/3974 English Heritage.NMR Click on the image for an enlargement

The questions should flow naturally; How was the bridge built? What tools are being used? Why was it built? Why was it special? What did the people of Bristol think of it? Is it still there today?

IoE number 379208 © Mrs Joy Roddy LRPS




Go back to the present day, to Bristol and they can see the bridge, still imposing itself on the landscape.


With a good photograph and an overhead projector or interactive whiteboard you can project images in a darkened room big enough for your pupils to feel that they are walking into the scene. On the whiteboard you could zoom into just one person or feature.

Give your pupils an interesting photograph and a magnifying glass and let them be history detectives investigating the past.

Use local photographs of places they are familiar with and they will be instantly hooked. Add some other sources and give them an insight into the way that ‘real’ historians reconstruct the past.

These two images are both of the Black Gate in Newcastle; one taken in 1864 and one in 2000.

IoE number 304446 © Mr Bob Cottrell ARPS AFIAP DPAGB

• Show pupils the modern photograph first and make sure they all recognise where it is. Let them tell you what they know about the building today. ViewFinder number BB84/2876 English Heritage.NMR

• Give them the old photograph and ask them to look at it in detail. Is it the same place? How can they tell? What is still the same? What is different?
• Tell them that it is dated 1864. What evidence is there to support this in the photograph?
• What do they think the building in front of the gate was used for and why do they think this?
• Check this in a trade directory.
• Why do they think this building was demolished? When was it demolished?
• Find out by looking at a series of maps starting as close to 1864 as possible.
• Have the sources confirmed that the photograph dates from 1864? What evidence have you found?

Bring out the difference between things that can be proved using evidence and things that we can only deduce. Relate this to how historians work.

Find out more about a building and the people associated with it.

Henry Taunt 1878, English Heritage.NMR  cc66/00782


What does the photograph tell us?

Kelly's Directory of Oxfordshire 1907





What does the advertisement tell us?

- Search the Images of England web site using the search terms; shop, High Street, Banbury,Oxfordshire and read the description for numbers 85, 86 and 87. Is this the same building? How can you tell?
- Is Betts cake shop still there? If not use later trade directories to find out when it closed. Are there any people in Banbury who can remember it and tell you more?
- Search the 1901 census to see if you can find out more about the Betts family. Did they live above the shop?
- Putting the information from the sources together write a short history of Betts cake shop in the form of a Power Point presentation

All of these ideas can be adapted for your own locality.

Find your photographs on Images of England or ViewFinder . Both of these online picture libraries provide teachers with free access to images that can be displayed on a whiteboard or overhead projector or copied into a worksheet or power point presentation

.Click here for information about sources. Click here for information on finding sources for your area.

Please note that the inclusion of a listed building on this website does not mean it is open to the public.