Happy March! I hope you didn’t get stuck in the past with the passing of daylight savings time because we have some great ideas shared with us for this month’s article that will help your students’ learning spring forward. This month the focus is on creating infographics and posters. I’m not talking about the posters of famous athletes hanging in your kids’ room or the infographics comparing basketball teams in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament (don’t get me wrong, those are cool too). I’m talking about resources that are a slam dunk in the classroom and will help make your crowd students go wild about learning.
What options are out there?
“Both are intuitive and have built-in templates for different types of media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter posts; fliers, posters, cards.”
For short graphic videos, Bakkegard stated that she uses Animoto.
“Students can link a series of images, add text and music – even record their voices – for short ‘advertisements’ that can enhance any learning concept or unit.”
Jerry Schneider, Instructional Technology Coach at Fargo North High School and Ben Franklin Middle School, promotes a couple infographic sites. One of those being Piktochart which he’s used for 5 years. Piktochart is a web-based infographic application which allows users without intensive experience as graphic designers to easily create infographics and visuals using themed templates. Venngage is his other go-to choice and, in his eyes, is a stronger option for charts and graphics versus Piktochart with is better used for artistic infographics.
“Both Piktochart and Venngage are quite easy to use; the interface is usually drag and drop text, shapes, icons, charts, etc. from the sidebar.”
How are they being used?
Bakkegard identified various ideas and examples for using her recommended tools:
- In Canva, you could have students do a character sketch using multiple images to support their analysis. This type of activity could be adapted for characters (such as the Ophelia example below), as well as historical figures, or even academic concepts. Students may find pictures or memes and use thought bubbles or text to summarize the main takeaways from chapters read for homework or topics discussed in previous classes. Other classroom activities may include gallery walks, book talks, or even speed dating discussions. A link to a meme template created by Alice Keeler can be found here.
- Animoto can be used in a variety of different ways, but Bakkegard recommended experimenting with it to create book/history reports. She willingly shared a report on the book “Harriet the Spy” that you can view here. Alternatively, Animoto can also be used as a way to create explainer videos for concepts or procedures. An example for science would be having students explain the function of a cell using pictures, text, and animations.
Schneider shared how a Fargo North High School English class asked students to create three infographic blocks connected to their research paper on whether or not the American Dream is possible for all people. Another example of an infographic is something Schneider created himself using Piktochart to communicate results from a library survey done with students (shown below).
What changes have you seen?
“These options support authentic opportunities for students to create the same types of media they encounter daily, from memes to advertisements, building naturally off of our ongoing conversations about media literacy…The visual format forces them to think symbolically about the subject and represent their thinking with images supported by specific text” says Bakkegard.
She added that students who view themselves as “bad” writers, don’t see activities like these as writing tasks. These different visual communication avenues provide the writing experience without the weight of having to actually write.
Schneider commented on the underutilization of infographics saying,
“I don’t think that infographics [are] being used nearly to their full extent. They certainly can be used for so many things in so many classes.”
He noted the usefulness of infographics as supplementary documentation for communicating main points of research papers as opposed to creating formal presentations. Increasing the awareness of these tools to more educators across multiple content areas will hopefully encourage them to try something different to create engaging visual communication, but also for practicing the skills of synthesis and summarizing information.
SHARE your Story with Us!
This article is part of a larger article series focused on Digital Skills for 21st Century teachers discovered through an Infographic from EducatorsTechnology.com. Below is the schedule of digital skills that will be addressed each month. If you, or someone you know, is using technology effectively to engage in any of these skills, we want to connect with you and share your story! Email me at Chris.Thompson@k12.nd.us with the subject line “Digital Skills” and I will reach out and discuss how we can incorporate your learnings, best practices, tips and/or tricks into a future article!
- April: Create digital portfolios
- May: Create Professional Learning Networks, connect, discover new content, and grow professionally.