Friday, October 12, 2012

Infographics for the Art Challenged

I've been interested in infographics for a couple years now.  The best ones do a fantastic job organizing complex ideas, sharing information through a mix of visuals and text.  In fact they provide a unique opportunity to study (or practice!) the relationship between text and image for conveying ideas.

Infographics are an excellent alternative to research papers when teachers want students to practice the skills of research, organiziation and analysis without taking the time to write (or grade!) a full-blown essay.

I've never had students do them, though, because they always required a) artistic ability or b)  hard-core Adobe Illustrator skills.

No longer.  Some new(ish) online apps make it easy (technologically) to create your own infographics.,, and  Piktochart  all combine drag-and-drop icons with a variety of templates, or you can start from scratch to create your own.

As someone severely art-challenged (as many of my students, who have laughed themselves silly over my stick figures, will tell you), I especially appreciate the opportunity these apps provide for students to think in visual terms.    I, for example, find it pretty hard to think visually (and create the infographics), because I spent most of my school years avoiding art class!  Now students can practice their visual literacy without needing the accompanying artistic ability.

I also think I'll use them to do my annual report.  I know we're supposed to provide the multi-page novelette documenting our successful program, but my administrators turn white whenever they see it, and I'm not even sure they actually read it. Plus it takes me HOURS.  This may be a way to convey the same information in a more concise, easy-to-grasp format.

Kathy Schrock put together a great  collection of resources for teaching these.  Now I just need to talk a teacher into letting me co-teach with them on an infographics assignment!

UPDATE:  I talked one of the science teachers into doing an infographics assignment on population! Whoo-hoo!  Now I need to create the handouts.  I'll post them here, of course, when they're done. Obviously, they need to be an infographic!  

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