For as long as there have been teachers, some form of classroom graphics have been used to assist student learning. But, as we have become more and more a visual society, graphics – Infographics to be precise — are increasingly being used to highlight knowledge in ways that bolster understanding and retention. Infographics are a concise, straight forward and visually digestible way of conveying information. Data visualization also enables us to spot trends, understand relationships between variables and put that information in perspective, as discussed by David McCandless in this Ted Talk.
Whether you want to create your own infographics to assist you in teaching or have students create their own in support of a lesson topic, there are tons of free references and tools available online. As this New York Times post points out: “Not only do charts, graphs and maps show up on standardized tests of all kinds, but whiteboard technology has made the graphic depiction of information that much more useful and ubiquitous in classrooms.” The visual presentation of information is a critical tool for most businesses as well.
For a look at the fundamental steps for creating infographics, check out this one-page primer. From skeletal sketches and sequential presentation, to sizing graphics for emphasis and data accuracy, it provides a simple framework for executing infographics. It also provides suggestions on how to incorporate infographics into lessons and explores a number of ways students might make them.
Next, get your feet wet and generate ideas by exploring hundreds of infographics at the Infographic Archive which houses great examples in nearly every category you can imagine. There are great examples too on this Pinterest site.
Now you’re ready to create your own infographics. There are a variety of free, web-based tools for creating outstanding infographics. Probably the best two sources are easel.ly and piktochart. Both allow you to create stunning graphics using dozens and dozens of easy-to-use templates.
Infographics and data visualization have come a long way from the USAToday daily graphic we’re familiar with to become effective methods for teaching, learning and understanding. And now the tools to make them are freely available.
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