Thursday, February 07, 2013

Infographics in the Classroom

     I'm going to start this post by admitting that I absolutely love infographics! I find them more engaging than paragraphs of text and I love seeing the information visually displayed in an aesthetic manner, which is interesting because I don't consider myself a visual learner. If you aren't familiar with infographics here is an explanatory image:
using infographics in education, infographics in the classroom, educational infographics
Image Credit: Infographics. (2013). CC-BY-SA. http://infographicsineducation.wikispaces.com/

     I believe that, likes memes and trending YouTube videos, infographics can be a great way of presenting information through a platform that students are familiar with. One only needs to type in the word, "Infographic" into Google to see just how popular they have become (43,100,000 results to be exact).

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While I must admit that I haven't used infographics yet during my student teaching placements I have been trying to brainstorm some different ways they could be used in the classroom.

Differentiating Instruction
     In the most general sense, infographics can be a great tool to use in order to differentiate instruction in your classroom. By including textual information, diagrams and images they can effectively meet the needs of both linguistic and visual learners. Furthermore, the text that is included is often written at a simpler reading level than standard formal text on the same subject. As such, infographics can be an easy way to present information to students who are experiencing difficulties when it comes to literacy skills. Depending on the graphic, information is sometimes visually displayed in order to show connections between different topics which can assist students in making connections between the concepts. 

Activating Tool
     Infographics can be a great activating tool to incorporate when introducing a new unit or a specific lesson. Most good quality infographics do a great job of answering an interesting question or summarizing a specific topic. For example, infographics may be titled Hurricane Irene: Overwhelming or Overblown or Anatomy of a Hurricane. The first immediately attracts interest to the topic and the second provides a good overview of the topic in general. Either type of infographic could be used to activate student's prior knowledge, stimulate interest and/or provide a framework for future learning. 

Create An Infographic Project
     There are several online tools out there that allow users to create their own infographics (I discuss a few of these tools below). These could be used by students to create their own infographics as summative projects. Infographics require the creator to summarize information and pick out the most important concepts. As such, they require students to fully comprehend the subject, apply their knowledge, classify it appropriately, create diagrams and evaluate what information is the most important in order to get their point across. Students won't even realize they are hitting all the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy! Instead of writing a traditional paper on the "War of 1812's Effects on Multiculturalism", why not give students the option of creating a infographic on the same topic?

Appropriate Sourcing Example
     A good quality infographic will provide referencing and a list of appropriate sources near the bottom of the image like this one on,"Is Twitter Hurting Your Grades?". Many infographics, however, provide no references or provide general links that do not go to the specific information like this one on, "The Growth of Twitter". Infographics can be a good example to showcase the importance of appropriate sourcing to ensure that copyright is maintained and information can be easily accessed by the audience. 

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     If you would like to learn more about infographics and the role that they can play in education there are several great resources out there that can help you out. Here are some that I've found useful:

Infographics in Education Wiki
- This wiki involves examples of awesome infographics, citations, infographic
   generators, tutorials and more! It even includes rubrics and information on
   how to use infographic projects with your students.
- This is one of the best infographic resources that I have found.
- This comprehensive Wiki was organized by Mary Frazier, the Integration
   Technology Specialist for Buhler USD #313.

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Infographics for Librarians, Educators & Other Cools Geeks LiveBinder
- This LiveBinder features almost 200 pages about infographics including
   general information, infographic sources, infographics organized by subject
   and how to create original infographics.
- This LiveBinder was organized by Carolyn Starkey who has curated
   several different LiveBinders on library-related topics.
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/143539

using infographics in education, infographics in the classroom, educational infographics


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     If you are interested in finding various infographics to use with your students on a variety of topics, here are some good options to start your search:

Pinterest Educational Infographics Search
- Pinterest is an incredibly popular bookmarking site and is used by
  many teachers around the world. A quick "Educational Infographics"
  search brought up thousands of individual pins as well as boards
  specifically devoted to infographics that can be used in the classroom.
- If you are already on Pinterest you may want start bookmarking some
   infographics that you want to use in the future!

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Larry Ferlazzo's "The Best Infographics" Lists
- I've spoken about Larry Ferlazzo on my blog before and I continue
   to search his archives again and again for amazing resources. Larry
   has compiled some of the best educational infographics and even 
   annotated them! Here are his infographic lists for the past four years.

Larry Ferlazzo, using infographics in education, infographics in the classroom, educational infographics


Infographics Archive: Education & Careers
- The Infographics Archive is an online library completely devoted to
   infographics that can be searched by category. The "Education &
   Careers" category features several pages of infographics that could
   be used in the classroom.
- It can take a while to search through all the pages within this category
   but there is also a general keyword search if you are looking for
   something specific.
- http://www.infographicsarchive.com/category/education-careers/

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Cybrary Man's Education Websites Catalogue of Infographics
- I've mentioned Cybrary Man on my blog before and if you are not
   familiar with his catalogue, it features over 20,000 educational online
   resources. His infographics page includes information on using
   infographics in the classroom, lots of links to interesting and educational
   infographics from various hosts.
http://cybraryman.com/infographics.html

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Good. Infographics
- The Good website has a complete section devoted to infographics which
   users can search through. I've actually featured some of Good's infographics
   before on my blog and admit that they have some very interesting ones on
   their site.
- Unfortunately I find their website hard to navigate so it may be difficult to
   find infographics on specific subjects.
http://www.good.is/infographics

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JPL Infographics
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory from the NASA website has put together a
  great collection of infographics on planets, parts of our solar system and
  different NASA projects like different missions and rovers.
- Users can also create their OWN infographics using different information
  and designs from the NASA website. 
- http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/

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     If you would like to make infographics yourself or have your students create them as a project, here are some online tools that can get you started:


Visual.ly
- Visual.ly is a fun infographic creation tool that allows users to create
   infographics based off of information supplied through various social
   media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Visual.ly also offers other infographic options for a cost but the free
   ones are very interesting so far.
- I created an infographic comparing my twitter account to a fellow
   education student's!
- visual.ly
using infographics in education, infographics in the classroom, educational infographics


Intel: What About Me?
- The Intel website now has a tool that allows users to create a
  personal infographic about themselves using information from
  one of their social networking websites (Twitter, YouTube, etc).
- Its really neat to see a summary of all of your information and
  they are very eye-catching!
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/what-about-me/what-about-me.html

using infographics in education, infographics in the classroom, educational infographics


Easel.ly Infographics
- Everyone loves infographics and easel.ly gives users the options to create their own!
  The drag and drop option is really easy to use but because it is still in beta-form
  and there are not a lot of provided options. Luckily, users have the option to upload
  their own images which allows for full customization!
http://www.easel.ly/


Larry Ferlazzo's "The Best Resources for Creating Infographics" List
- Again, Larry Ferlazzo comes to the rescue and compiled a list of great
  resources for creating your own infographics! This list features almost 100 links
  to resources and most feature multiple resources!



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     How do you use infographics in your classroom?

3 comments:

  1. OOOH! Thanks for all these things to check out. I agree that these could be great for summative projects AND engaging for reluctant readers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The biggest infographics directory: http://infographicsdirectory.blogspot.com/

    Submit and promote your infographics for free!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Also kids can use creately like diagram software to create infographic online. that way they can learn and have fun at the same time.

    ReplyDelete