Use and design for students and teachers
What is an infographic?
The purposes of infographics are as follows:
- to inform,
- to persuade, or
- to entertain.
What does an infographic look like?
Why use infographics?
Students as consumers
At its simplest, an infographic is, as its name indicates, a blending of information and graphics. Information – frequently in the form of data – is blended concisely with visuals to convey information in a compact, succinct, easy-to-comprehend manner. But as simple as infographics appear, the creator and reader need to ponder the purpose of the infographic. Is it simply to inform, or is it to persuade or even entertain?
Infographics are demanding but they are also typically more accessible to readers. They appeal to visual learners more than a visual text, and they draw out highlights that might otherwise be obscured in a printed text. But even though information is presented in a more straightforward manner, the reader must analyze, assess, and interpret the data and make connections. Research into behavioral science and learning styles serve to confirm the adage: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Students as creators
Student-generated infographics require, among other things,
- economy of language
- higher order thinking skills - application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
- familiarity with visual literacy and skills
- the generation of products that demonstrate learning
- planning and organization of information
- communication skills
- applying information, technology, and media to learning
- knowledge of ethics
Infographics and visual literacy in state & national standards
- Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards Framework for Learners - meeting competencies as students Think, Create, and Share.
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards - Students - especially 3a-3d
- Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
- Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
- Here is a document showing connections between CCSS for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects and NGSS.
How to create an infographic / Elements to evaluate
Consider the following tips when designing an infographic:
- Be concise.
- Cite your sources.
- Be accurate with information and with the scale of visuals.
- Make it attractive.
- Be creative.
- Know your audience and your purpose.
- Balance data and graphics.
- Organize the information effectively; tell a story - incorporate a beginning, middle, and end.
- Show cause and effect.
- Compare and contrast.
For additional suggestions to creating the perfect infographic, check out these recommendations from author and designer Randy Krum, from Rebecca Greenfield of The Wire, and Nathan Yau at FlowingData.
This rubric, created by Kathy Schrock, identifies the primary components of an infographic and provides the basis for evaluating one.
Once you have all your information and ideas ready to go, check out elements of good design, according to Robert Ladd of the UNC Health Sciences Library:
- Make sure the purpose of your infographic is clear and that all information is relevant and essential.
- Information and images should be balanced and content uncluttered.
- Be consistent with fonts and colors, and watch out for intense colors or too many colors.
- Visual/graphic elements need to complement and reinforce information, not detract or distract.
Tools for creating infographs
Click on the links below to visit the sites. All sites require registration but can be used at no charge.
Canva - Both an app and a website, Canva offers many templates to suit a variety of needs. It is a great tool for middle and high school students - so much so that it was named one of the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning in 2016 for content creation.
Easel.ly - This easy-to-learn site allows you to select from a variety of templates and manipulate and duplicate the elements/icons. Easel.ly was honored by AASL as a 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning award winner.
Piktochart - Piktochart offers many templates from which to choose. Site can be used for free, but educational accounts are available for more extensive use. Infographics are easy to share. Piktochart was selected as one of AALS's 2016 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning for media sharing.
Infogr.am - If you are looking to visualize your data with a chart, this site offers more than 30 chart types.
You might also consider:
Wordle - Create word clouds with Wordle. It can pick out the most frequently used words in a text passage and size words according to frequency.
Tagxedo - The best feature of Tagxedo is its ability to create shapes (which include hearts, stars, various animals, and even letters or words) with words.
Smore - Also a 2013 AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning award recipient, this site is infographic-ish. In fact, the page you're looking at right now was created in Smore! Technically for flyers and newsletters, you can include images and text, as well as audio and video.
Google Draw - One of the many apps from Google, Draw can be used for timelines or any sort of infographic. Embed hyperlinks, images, tables, and charts. Drawings can be saved as PDFs, JPEGs, and PNGs.