Combining Visuals and Text to Present Informational Text – Creating Infographics
What is an infographic? The image below is part of an infographic titled What Infographics Are.
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But first, a look at the Common Core State Standards that are addressed in this DT&T.
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading - Grades 6 - 12
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.‡

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing - Grades 6 - 12
Production and Distribution of Writing
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

College and Career Readiness Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects - Grades 6 -12
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

What is an Infographic? A more detailed explanation.

1. It's a visual explanation that helps you more easily understand, find or do something.

2. It's visual, and when necessary, integrates words and pictures in a fluid, dynamic way.

3. It stands alone and is completely self-explanatory.

4. It reveals information that was formerly hidden or submerged.

5. It makes possible faster, more consistent understanding.

6. It's universally understandable.
(http://communicationnation.blogspot.com/2007/04/what-is-infographic.html)

Infographics, Explained by Lego
A visual of an infographic with few words...keep it simple!

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This infographic may be found at Visual.ly.

Why Use Infographics in our Classrooms?
Infographics are all around us, and if you go back you will find that infographics have been used for centuries. (Really? Yup. Check out either http://piktochart.com/whyinfographics/ (see first image from Piktochart below) or if you want to see a more detailed explanation in text http://visual.ly/history-of-infographics).
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“People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. In this context, words include written and spoken text, and pictures include static graphic images, animation and video. That using both words and pictures is more effective than words alone should not be surprising in light of what we know about how the brain processes information. Research tells us that the use of both words and pictures lets the brain process more information in working memory (Sweller, 2005)”(http://s4.brainpop.com/new_common_images/files/76/76426_BrainPOP_White_Paper-20090426.pdf, retrieved July 18, 2012).

Steps to Take
This information is based on the material found in Kathy Schrock’s video Infographics as a Creative Assessment (listed in the resource section) as well as my experience working with students.


1. Choose the tool you will use (we will be using Easel.ly today). To see a video on how to use Easel.ly check out this YouTube video.



2. Do your students understand what makes up an infographic? You might want to have your students investigate different types of infographics/visuals. Have them “dissect” an infographic, to see if they can determine the question the infographic was trying to answer, the veracity of the information, the type of infographic, etc. This could be done in small groups.

3. Conduct research – remind students of what they need to do when they conduct research.
  • What question are they going to answer (knowing it may change as they do research)?
  • What are keywords to help them find the answers?
  • What information sources will they use?
  • How will they evaluate the information they find?
  • How will they cite their sources?

4. Students should sketch out how they would like their infographic to look. Please note, if they are using an online tool they should have a sense of what the tool allows them to do. Without this knowledge they may find themselves frustrated by the process of sketching out and learning that their sketch does not fit the tool.

5. Gather and create assets (as in charts, tables, etc.). Will students be creating their own pictures, graphs, etc. or using material from other sources? Creating an infographic is a great way to have students use online tools (or Excel) to create charts and table. If they are going to take information from websites (rather than creating their own) do they know how to site it? It is possible for them to find information that is Creative Commons material and do they know how to site Creative Commons materials?

6. Talk about design. According to Kathy Schrock research shows the best color combination is light yellow on blue. Layout includes not only color but font (how many fonts are too many fonts), and layout, how to you best present the information. The tool you select may limit the possible layouts.

7. Come up with an organization model. Kathy Schrock uses a model called LATCH.
Location –organized by location
Alphabet –organized by letter
Time –organized by time/date
Category – organized by category
Hierarchy – organized by hierarchy
One key rule – Keep it simple!

Resources:

http://spyrestudios.com/the-anatomy-of-an-infographic-5-steps-to-create-a-powerful-visual/
The Anatomy of an Infographic

http://visual.ly/8-steps-create-infographic
An infographic that suggests 8 steps to take to create an infographic

http://piktochart.com/whyinfographics/
A Visual Representation on Why Infographics (Exploring the evolution of information consumption and Piktochart's reason for being).

http://theasideblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/info-graphicacy-saving-visually-self.html
Info-graphicacy: Saving Visually Self-Destructive Students
If 39% to 65% of our students are not visual learners how do we use infographics (and other visual aides) and also address the needs of these students? This article explores this issue and discusses graphicacy, “the literacy of decoding and encoding pictures.”
A wide range of resources are also included in this post.

http://www.quiteuseful.net/2012/06/29/5-great-ways-to-use-infographics-in-the-classroom/
5 Great Ways to Use Infographics in the Classroom suggests
* finding infographics online and sharing with students
* having students create timelines (and provides a lesson she does with her students)
* visualizing an essay (with an example)
* infographics as an How To Guide (with a link to a great resource to help students learn how to research
* as an assessment tool (linking to Kathy Shrock’s Guide on Infographics as a Creative Assessment).

http://vimeo.com/25328216#
A short video on why to use Infographics as a Creative Assessment by Kathy Schrock.

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/07/picture-is-worth-1000-gigabytes.html
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Gigabytes: Creating Infographics with Middle School Students – published in FreeTech4Teachers by Michele Haiken, this post shares her experience in her classroom and provides links to many additional sources for information.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2011/12/a-deeply-flawed-infographic-mo.php
A Deeply Flawed Infographic

http://d97cooltools.blogspot.com/2012/07/i-created-interactive-learning.html
Avatar Adventures: An Interactive Learning Opportunity

"An interactive learning experience designed to provide students and teachers with opportunities to focus on digital citizenship while engaging in constructive play" that is designed using ThingLink.

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