This week’s focus on infographics came at the right time for me, as I have recently introduced the idea to my Year 3 classes.
A summary of our lessons
We started by discussing the word infographic and then by looking at some examples. I chose examples about Creative Commons because we have been talking a lot about our responsibility when using images and other digital content. I thought it would be a nice way to reinforce learning about Creative Commons.
I have included a few of the infographics I used as examples, and as you can see, they get progressively more dense and include more information. As the students became more familiar with the concept and more comfortable with the idea of infographics, I wanted to make the infographics more difficult.
The first infographic we looked at:
We also looked at:
This infographic was created by Berlin based artist, Martin Missfeldt. Check out his website.
The most “information dense” infographic we read:
Time to play
After reading a number of infographics and becoming more familiar with the concept, we decided it was time to play! I introduced the students to easel.ly, placed them in pairs, and let them play with the tool to see what they could learn. They quickly figured out how to use it and remembered to search for Creative Commons images. However, I noticed that the students were going straight to design and creation, without first considering the data and information they wanted to include. I let them do this for awhile, as I figured they were learning how to use the tool and how to create something new. The next time I ask students to create an infographic, I’m going to use a Presentation Zen strategy by having the students plan their infographic offline, on paper. Hopefully, this will give them the chance to think more deeply about the information and the data they want to represent, without getting caught up in the design and creation straightaway.
Learning to represent data and information in an infographic
When we came back for our next lesson, I started by asking the students to consider what data and information they wanted to represent in their infographic. We talked about the process they went through when they were playing and what they learned in the process. We then decided to create an infographic as a class so that we could concentrate on the data and information we wanted to include. We chose to compare the cost of life in Japan and Australia. (note: We chose this topic because the class has two new students from Japan who came up with the idea of comparing the cost of living in the two countries.)
Our first (as yet unfinished!) attempt at an infographic:
It took us two 30 minute lessons to get this far in creating our infographic! We had discussions about everything, from the data and information, the design and the colors, to finding the right Creative Commons image (using advanced Google search).
Thinking about design and appeal
In our final lesson before the term holiday (the third week of September), I focused on the idea of design by showing the students this infographic:
I chose this infographic because I knew the content would appeal to the kids and because I like the design. I like the use of color, font and the combination of words and numbers. Once the students had a good read of the infographic, I asked them how we could change ours to improve the design and the appeal of our infographic. They worked in pairs and made comments on sticky notes which they placed on a copy of our infographic. The ideas were endless-from changing the font size and color, the background color, the pictures to the layout. The students were hard on themselves but came up with a huge number of ways to improve their infographic.
The next step
Andrew Crawford shared Daniel Zeevi’s post “What makes a good infographic”, which will serve as a starting point for our discussion when we return in Term 4. From here, I expect more lively discussion about what we need to do to improve our infographic. I plan to have the students revisit their sticky notes and if possible, add more new ideas for improvements.