In this case, we don’t know the teacher’s learning goal. However, if I were teaching a high school overview course, one aspect would be some something about the history of photography. In this assignment, the student also has the possibility of improving his or her research skills and how to synthesize results results to make a coherent, limited-length presentation. A bomus for the student is that the research and report skills are easily transferred to other subjects. In a university photography major program, there is often a single, full-term course that covers the chemical, mechanical and optical processes from the beginnings to the present day. You seem to mistakenly think that photography studies should be limited to the artistic aspects and how to master them using modern, digital equipment. That’s a short-sighted view.