By Leah Peterson
I recently attended a workshop by Arielle Winchester on creating infographics and it got me thinking about how infographics could be used as a classroom activity. Generally speaking, infographics are visual representations of data, but they can be used with a wide range of information types. Previously we did a post on creating timelines, which can also be done as infographics. Some other ways to use infographics are flow charts, instructional steps, and comparisons. Creating the infographics online gives students the opportunity to experiment with different ways to display the information by simply dragging in different elements. But beware, this can become time consuming, so you’ll want to try this out on your own before introducing it in your classroom.
There are many different possible uses, approaches, and websites for infographics. This lesson is using easel.ly to create a comparison infographic. Easel.ly struck me as one of the simplest sites to use, but it also has more limitations than some of the other sites. If you’re using more detailed data you might want to experiment with Piktochart.com which is a more comprehensive site.
- To get started with easel.ly, all you do is open the site and click on “Start Fresh”. There’s a short video on the home page (less than two minutes) that you can watch that will give you an overview of the site. You don’t need to register to use the program, but you will need to do so in order to save your work.
- Show some examples of comparison infographics to demonstrate what you will be doing, such as this straightforward comparison of two products, or this one comparing two athletes. You can google image search “comparison infographics” to get many more examples.
- Infographics need to start with some data or information to be presented. This activity will be easier if you have a clear goal for the lesson related to the subject matter you are studying. Have students pick what they will be comparing related to what you are working on, or assign them their topics. You may want to discuss as a class what might work well as an infographic and what might be less effective. You could also phrase the comparison as a question “Which is better this or that?” or “Should I do this or that?” This might be a good activity to do in pairs so that students can help each other come up with ideas.
- Click on “Vhemes” and drag the “Nerds vs. Geeks” infographic into your work space. Alternately, you can click “Clear” to start with a blank canvas, though it may be less intimidating to replace text and images than to start from scratch.
- Click on elements to select them, then double click to edit. You can delete selected items by clicking on the trash can or add new images by clicking on “Objects”, selecting the appropriate category then dragging the image onto your page. You can then resize the image by selecting it and dragging the corners. Add new text boxes by clicking on “text” and dragging the text type onto your document.
- Once you have your content entered you can beautify your design by changing background colors, arranging images, and tweaking sizes.
On a different note, some teachers have used infographics to create teaching aids. Here’s a fun one of 10 misunderstood words that is also an example of a comparison infographic. And here is another that helps teach about adjectives.
Have you used infographics in your classroom either as a teaching aid or a class activity? Tell us about it in the comments!
Leah Peterson is the Assistant Director of the EdTech Center and manages E-Learning PD, a collection of online courses that provide opportunities for adult education professionals to explore topics that they are facing in their programs, exchange ideas with one another, and get feedback from experts in the field. She also coordinates the IDEAL Consortium, and is the co-founder and editor for the Tech Tips blog. Leah is the Communication Coordinator for World Education/U.S. and supports the NELRC publication, The Change Agent. Leah is currently working toward her M.Ed in E-Learning and Instructional Design at Northeastern University.