Using graphics and text to present data and information in not a new idea. Infographics, or ‘information graphics’, have been appearing in print, advertising, on tv news shows and more, for a very long time. But it’s only recently that easy to use and free/cheap tools for creating them have become available.
Pictures really can be worth a thousand words. Images quickly grab our attentions. And carefully created representations of data and other information can help us quickly grasp what is being presented and communicate a message more effectively. This topic makes me think back to the dark ages when I was a kid and infographics in newspapers and magazine often caught my eye. They helped me understand stories that were often beyond my reading level and pushed me to read and explore further.
“We are bombarded by slick images every minute of everyday. The aim of an infographic is to parse what might be perceived as an overwhelming amount of information into manageable bites or small nuggets that transform text into memorable images and meaning.” (from Transliteracy Librarian )
The beauty of data visualization: TED Talk by David McCandless
Infographics can be used in so many different ways: for advocacy, creating persuasive arguments, as teaching tools, as learning assessments, for presentation slides, in research presentations and more.
You can use infographics to showcase what is happening in your library and include them in your reports to school administrators, on your blogs and websites, in newsletters, posters and more. Students can create them as part of all sorts of learning projects. And it’s essentional that students understand how the representation (and mis-representation!) of data can help shape opinion. Knowing how how to analyze infographics is a vital information/media literacy skill.
Creating an infographic pulls together many skills:
- Defining an issue & deciding what questions to ask
- Finding reliable information and data
- Analyzing data to come to test arguments
- Creating a story line for the information
- Considering the audience and what they need/want to know
- Making choices about colors, design, and layout.
The Anatomy Of An Infographic: 5 Steps To Create A Powerful Visual is a great introduction to the process of creating a good infographic.
THINGS TO EXPLORE
- Dissecting an Infographic
- Infographics Lie. Here’s How To Spot The B.S.
- Infographics Assessment – part of a Spartan Guides lesson on Infographics. Lots of good teaching resources here.
Articles, Tips, Resources
- What is an Infographic – Creating an infographic, presented as an infographic.
- 10 Traits of Amazingly Awesome Infographics
- David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization – Terrific Ted Talk video
- Using Infographics to Get Your Point Across – 2013 ‘EdWeb Tech Tools for the Classroom’ webinar on infographics
- Teaching with Infographics: Places to Start – an older, but still valuable. series of posts from New York Times Learning Network
- Making Information Beautiful – Take it to the next level and explore some amazing interactive data vizualization tools, complete with great datasets.
- When and how to create an effective infographic – Detailed tips on the process of creating an infographic.
- Infographics as a Creative Assessment – tons of resources from Kathy Schrock
- 10 Fun Tools To Easily Make Your Own Infographics
- 27 Ways To Make This the Best Year Ever! – Great example of an infographic enhanced by using ThinkLink. Created by Jennifer LaGarde.
Collections of Infographics
- NYTimes Learning Network Infographics – collection of teaching ideas based on timely news.
- Cool Infographics – Great blog showing examples of data visualizations and infographics from magazines, newspapers and the web.
- Infographics Pinterest Board by Bernardsville Public Library
- School Library Infographics Pinterest Board by Sherry Philippus
- School Library Infographics Pinterest Board by Peggy Creighton
- Easelly – One of AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning in 2013
- Piktochart – Free and Pro accounts.
- Infogr.am – upload data, create graphs, charts and more. Free and pro acounts
- Visually – Another popular tool.
- How to Create Your Own Infographics – Tips on using Piktochart and Visual.ly
- Over 100 Incredible Infographic Tools and Resources (Categorized)
- Create an infographic!
- Pick a topic – something about your library, something you can use in teaching, an example for a student project
- Gather some data
- Using one of the tools above or other tool of your choice, create an infographic.
- Your Blog Post on Thing 24:
- Embed your infographic or link to it
- Explain what the infographic is about, why you chose to create it.
- Talk about the process.
- Consider how you can use infographics with your students or in your professional practice.
LOG YOUR LESSON: Don’t forget to log your blog post when you’re done! When you finish this lesson by fill out the log form. You’ll need the URL of your first blog post to complete the form.