More than digitized posters
What Infographics Are
Easel.ly, www.easel.ly, is a site that offers ready-made templates and a host of editing tools. There is a short, easy video tutorial that helps those new to the site easily acclimate to the options within each template. Three popular templates with teachers are: (1) the Nerds vs. Geeks for comparing and contrasting, (2) the Walkway as a way to show a progression and/or the outline of events, and (3) the USA Map to provide specific information regarding specific location. Any of the templates are customizable, allowing the user to change the graphics, the icons, and the text. Easel.ly also allows the user to upload personal images to use in existing templates. Once the infographic is saved, it can be downloaded as a pdf or shared through a link or a group share.
Easel.ly example provided by Dawn Mitchell
Infogram, https://infogr.am/education, is a great tool for creating any kind of infographic, but teachers especially like it for the eye catching data displays. The displays include a variety of templates for charts and graphs. This makes it a great tool to use in math and science as it allows teachers to integrate reading, writing, and 21st century digital literacy skills into their content curriculum. This site is especially useful for displaying statistics, collecting and presenting data, and showing growth over time.
Piktochart, http://piktochart.com/ is another excellent infographic tool and one that is very user friendly for students. Piktochart provides users with four different design options, infographic, report, banner, and presentation. The assortment of formatting options allows students to clearly align the layout with the purpose. The banner option has been used as a thinking map or graphic organizer for students to create content-specific notes. It can also be a way of outlining a presentation. The presentation possibility allows students to embed videos and is a great tool to integrate multiple genres such as commercials, public service announcements, oral reports, skits, and songs into the project. The report format has been utilized for research projects that provide options for including data in the form of charts and graphs. The report option now allows users to link surveys through the Survey Monkey site, encouraging students to collect and share data. Of course the infographic option is a go-to format because it provides users with fairly simple templates that include both text and graphics. Piktochart also allows the user to upload personal images, videos, charts, and maps. Teachers can save the infographic as a jpg, png, or pdf. Additionally, teachers can create a copy of the infographic and can upload the image onto another web 2.0 site such as a class blog or wiki.
War Horse - Book Report Project
5th Grade Student Example
Blue Ridge Region - Group SC History Project
3rd Grade Template Example
Smore, www.smore.com, is an easy-to-use site that provides the necessary components for a user to build an infographic. Images, text, and links to other sites can be embedded into the infographic. In order to add an image, the user scrolls to the bottom of the page, clicks on the “picture” tile and drags it to wherever the image will go. Students can share the links to their Smore infographics through email, Twitter, or class websites. Once the infographic is shared, viewers can leave comments. In addition to the variety of tools that students can use, Smore offers analytics. After publishing the flyer, the user has access to information such as: how many views the infographic has received, the locations of those hits, how many outgoing links were visited, and the average time people spent viewing the infographic.
After becoming familiar with infographics, teachers can give students the same opportunity. An All about Us assignment gives students a chance to learn the technology of the infographic while learning about one another. Teachers can put students in pairs or small groups of three. Students can interview each other and can then create an infographic with the information. After students feel comfortable with the technology, the assignments can focus more on content.
Several of the infographic websites give educators a free option that allows them to create a limited number of infographics for each account. Google allows users to take an existing gmail account and add +1, +2, and +3 in order to create unlimited accounts for students to use for web 2.0 sites. It is helpful to create a list, inclusive of email addresses, usernames, and passwords to keep track of the login information. This helps alleviate the issue of only being allowed to create a limited number of infographics for free. Check out this link for specific directions for using this tip.
Infographics can be used as an instructional tool in early childhood all the way through post-secondary classrooms. Utilizing vivid graphics to both attract the reader’s attention and to serve as an additional meaning-making tool, infographics are a powerful instructional strategy to quickly and efficiently provide information to our students.
Lindsay Yearta, PhD
Assistant Professor at Winthrop University
Counseling, Leadership, and Educational Studies
Richard W. Riley College of Education
Twitter handle: @lyearta
Dawn Mitchell, M.Ed and NBCT
Spartanburg School District Six
Adjunct Instructor in the Education Department,
Partnership Coordinator and Teacher Consultant,
Spartanburg Writing Project at USC Upstate
Twitter handle: @dawnjmitchell
Melissa Wells, M.Ed and PhD candidate at USC
Arcadia Elementary School
Spartanburg School District Six
Adjunct Instructor at USC Upstate
Twitter handle: @mswells01