According to my favourite guilty pleasure resource, Wikipedia, Information graphics or infographics are “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends… Infographics have evolved in recent years to be for mass communication, and thus are designed with fewer assumptions about the readers’ knowledge base than other types of visualizations.”
Last semester, on a bit of a whim, I assigned creating an infographic as one of the students’ portfolio options. In doing so, I was surprised to find that very few students claimed to know what an infographic was or how to make one. And now, thanks to my latest PIDP course, here I was confronted with my own infographic to create.
At first I was surprised by how many free, online tools there were for creating sleek infographics. Piktochart, Canva, Hubspot, Venngage, and many others all provide rather user friend programs to assist in visually arranging data in a visual way. Once I did a quick bit of research into the topic I wished to present, I got down to business, attempting to diagram in a meaningful way, my selected student engagement technique. And to be honest I loved it! I could have spent hours fiddling with the information blocks, playing with varying fonts, and choosing appropriate images. The process however did make me realize how important it was to not just cut and past text, but how to best express in visual terms, what I wanted the viewer to quickly understand.
Regardless of whether you believe in learning styles, many of the students I work with are practicing artists and are therefore, obviously, visually inclined. Now having experienced the process of creating an infographic for myself, I am impressed by the potential they have for encouraging students to research, and present their ideas in an organized, impactful, and immediate way. Next semester I will be asking students to create infographics depicting the different art periods that we will be covering in class. Because this is a relatively new type of assignment, I am already thinking of ways to create a marking rubric that will guide their efforts.
Educator Ann Elliot recently declared in an Edudemic post on Infographics, “Conveying information in a striking, concise way has never been more important, and infographics are the perfect pedagogical tool with which to do so.” And now that followed the process myself, I couldn’t agree more!