Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Day Infographics Came Into My Life

Teach your students to read, comprehend , synthesize and create infographics. See the infographic about infographics below.

I remember when I saw my first infographic, it took my breath away! I wasn't sure if it was a really cool poster, or an well designed advert; I nearly put it up on my wall anyway.  I learnt a lot about my favourite superhero that day and fell in love with a new and booming literacy form. 
The funny thing about synchronicity is that once you are captivated by something wonderful, you see it everywhere. Every newspaper, magazine, and website seemed to be using infographics to sell, inform, and entertain in the most beautiful ways.  Being a really visual person I loved that I could read the main ideas through art, plus the text was usually short and to the point, my kind of reading! 

Right there I knew this was important, I was drawn to them, they seemed pervasive in both business and media. I knew this was a literary form that my students had to learn about.  Not only did I know they would love it and be totally engaged in these inspiring and creative multimedia texts, but they would be learning some deep critical thinking skills along the way, and I could think of 50 different ways teaching infographics that would align to “THE STANDARDS”. 

On that day an idea was born in me, and I knew I’d needed to do lots of research and planning to make it happen.  At the time another great teacher and mentor of mine also became fascinated, and together we started the brainstorm process of what teaching infographics would look like in schools. A different approach was needed to the business world design professionals.  After many months of letting ideas stew, collecting good examples and doing extensive research, I eventually put all my ideas together in a teachers guide and a unit plan of lessons on how to teach infographics.  I believe this topic is too important and way too much fun not to share. I encourage you to give it a go with your class. Be prepared to be teaching across the curriculum: reading strategies, writing styles, advertising, visual arts, statistics and much more. Soon after you’ll find your students making infographics on every subject they can and thinking in ways you always dreamed of.

Below is my infographic “The Tree of Infographics”, a breakdown of the elements and components of an infographic.  I hope this will help show you the depth of potential learning you can get from teaching your students to better understand, analyse and create infographics. They are a new literacy media that cannot be ignored.

Why use infographics with your students?
Make connections more obvious.
Tell a story.
Explain something.
Persuade your audience.
Help students make sense of huge amount of information.
Learn to infer layers of information.
It is a popular media form used in business, news and marketing.
Use it to develop critical thinking skills.
Make data more interesting to all learners.
Develop a deeper understanding of complex relationships and ideas.
Information is easily accessible to all readers.
Common Core emphasizes:
 “Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.”

Have you used infographics to introduce or teach a topic before?  
Or have you taught your students about infographics and how they can use them?  
If so please share your experiences in the comments, or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are intersted in viewing my “Teaching Infographics” pack, please visit my store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mindcraft-Learning

Infographic Tree Infographic

* Please feel free to copy, share, link to, or embed this infographic.