Teaching with Images

Images are everywhere, all the time, but often we do not give those images much more than a glance, a scroll, a swipe, or maybe a comment. Images can help us and our students think about and better know the world around us. No matter our discipline, using images in our teaching can offer new and exciting ways to engage with texts, explore concepts, and imagine perspectives.

This workshop will explore the pedagogical possibilities of intentionally and deeply engaging images alongside course texts and other content, while helping students develop a visual imagination and vocabulary. We will take a fresh look at how to effectively use images in a Powerpoint or other presentation software, and also discuss how to use images in relation to teaching and learning with art, digital media, and student-produced images like collage, memes, and video. We will then think through and practice some of the ways that images can assist instructors to create community, facilitate learning, and foster student engagement.

This workshop was offered in Fall 2018 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Sarah Litvin and Asilia Franklin Phipps.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and outline, workshop materials (including slides and handhouts) and extra resources (anticipation poems).

Materials Folder: Teaching with Images Workshop

Workshop Plan

4:00: Introduction – Name / Discipline / Interest in Attending this Workshop.

4:10-4:30: Brief introduction to the workshop: So much to do with images!!!

  • The default is often to use images to illustrate a concept or to break up a slideshow full of text, but what happens if images become central to your teaching/learning?
  • Depends on where you’re teaching and what–a way to destabilize whatever medium your discipline is most comfortable with
  • Politics of what images you choose
    • Creation and Curation
    • Digital images
    • Comparing, contrasting, connecting, mapping
    • Moving Images
    • Museums and art exhibits

4:30-5:00: Workshop Time: Experience 

Participants can break into small groups by discipline or complementary disciplines (or maybe not) to go through 1-2 of the activities, in order to consider how and to what degree they would like to explore increasing using images in a group-activity where they all do different things.

Our debrief can focus on their experience working with images.

How does anticipation feel? (Choose one or more of these activities)

  • Activity #1 –a poem and some images, write, make a collage and then write
    • Feel free to cut up/tear images/poetry to use these materials to answer this question
      • Find some poetry, statistics/diagrams pertaining to anticipation
  • Activity #2–making memes with concepts
    • Choose 1 image and make a meme, or a sequence of three memes using the same image
  • Activity #3–defacing images 
    • Choose 1 image to deface however makes sense to you
  • Activity #4-Describe and draw–representative and/or abstract 
    • Pair up; one person describes anticipation–uses it as inspiration

5:00-5:30: Discuss – What do images do in classrooms? 

Brief discussion on what images can do in classrooms: Pass out index cards and ask participants to write a brief response to this question. All responses are welcome. Collect and pass them back out, ask students to read the card they get back aloud.

5:30-6:00: Workshop II – How does this inspire to imagine your classroom in relation to teaching with images in your classroom? — Handout 

  • Course:
  • Course objectives:
  • How to get there:
  • Things to consider:
    • Accessibility
    • Where to find images
    • Might this image somehow offend or derail?

5:50: Conclusion