Infographics

by Ivan Cash

“Information graphics, or infographics, are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge.  These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly…”

 The Visual Teaching Alliance contends that 65% of the population are visual learners.  We have all used “visual aids” and, while I love this new term,  I have never classified the diagrams that I use in my teaching as infographics.  I was first under the impression that infographics were visual representations of numerical data only.  According to this Wikipedia definition, infographics represent more than numbers – if it is a visual representation of information, then it is considered an infographic.  You can spend a happy hour or more at visual.ly perusing the multitude of examples posted there.  I became very intrigued with the cleverness of many of these and the interesting information conveyed captured my attention.

Randall Munroe graduated from CNU and worked in robotics for NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia before he began creating online comics.  One of his creations is a captivating infographic that represents the daily activity of different online communities.  You can clearly see changes overtime in the two graphics.  These are great examples of how clever and informative infographics can be.

by Randall Munroe

by Randall Munroe

For this week’s CoETAIL blog, we were ask to find an infographic that we could use in our teaching.  As a middle school 6th grade teacher of language arts and social studies in an integrated block-schedule program, I was quickly able to find several through a simple Google search.

We are currently teaching a refugee unit which focuses on the push/pull factors that displace people from their homes all over the world.  The following infographic was created by  The Guardian using data compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  The graphic gives information about the top origin refugee countries in the world, as well as the top asylum countries.  Information regarding internally displaced refugees is included as well as a graph showing the percentages of those refugees who were forcibly removed from their home countries.  Certainly, this could provide the foundation for activities that allow students to interpret the graphic, draw conclusions, and make connections to their current knowledge and uderstandings regarding refugees

Illustration by Paul Scruton for The Guardian

560 Ragan.com and Linkedin users were polled and the information was compiled into this “Most Annoying Writing Mistakes” infographic.  Currently in our program, we have a daily grammar component that consists of short exercises in proofreading, parts of speech, sentence structure, and word study.  All of the mistakes that are included in this infographic are covered in our Daily Language Review program.  This is great “ammunition” to use with kids and an effective anchor chart for Writer’s Workshop as they complete the various compositions that are required in our units of study.

Ragan.com

The last infographic that I include here is one that could be used in our advisory program.  I am fortunate to work in an environment which encourages respect and tolerance and we rarely have incidences in which students make poor choices regarding the treatment of others.  Still, occasionally an incidence arises and most cases will never be reported.  Our advisory program focuses on these types of student issues and this infographic, by Buckfire and Buckfire, could serve as a springboard for discussions about this important topic.  The statistics are sobering and effectively make an impression.

by Buckfire and Buckfire

As one of the 65% of the population who is a visual learner, an effective infographic has a lot to offer me as a teacher and as a learner.  The colorful designs and clever images help me to remember things that I would forget if I’d just been given the opportunity to read about it.  As with any media, students need the skills to digest the information that is presented to them.  Infographics in the classroom can be powerful tools in helping our students improve their visual literacy.

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About Jamie

I am currently a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at The American School in Japan.
This entry was posted in COETAIL, Media Literacy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Infographics

  1. Three fantastic infographics shared here, thanks Jamie! I think the one on grammar mistakes is my favorite (but I do love the others as well). I like it especially because it demonstrates that students are not the only ones who make those kind of mistakes. I could imagine that one up on your wall all year, used as a reference whenever needed. We have the social media map up in our IT office 🙂

  2. 81jpayne says:

    Hi Jamie

    I really like those two infographics of online communities.

    It’s quite amazing how Facebook is represented in the first infographic, especially when compared to the second.

    MySpace too. It’s amazing how massive MySpace was back in 2007, as represented in the first infographic. But now, it’s just a minor player.

    Incredible how quickly things can change in a relatively short period of time.

    Nice post!

    • Jamie says:

      ThanksJamie,

      We have those posters up in our TRC. It is interesting to see the changes over time. Makes me wonder what area FB will have in another 5 years…

      Thanks for reading the post,
      JR

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