Student Infographics

image source: John Allan

What is an infographic?

Infographics are a contemporary means of transmitting information on media platforms. They appear as printed or digital infographic displays at hospitals, airports, shopping malls and more, and deliver complex information in a visually concise format. The first infographics I remember were positioned in the corners of the USA Today newspaper.  They drew my eyes towards them and informed me about trends, recent events or celebrities in many sections of the newspaper.

Student Generated Infographics

Students can be tasked with generating their own infographic utilizing data they have researched or located. Learners then present the infographic to their peers.  This is more engaging than creating a PowerPoint slideshow. Additional outcomes of this activity include:

  • Critical thinking, as students must identify important issues/information of a theme or topic or issue.  Since there is limited space on an infographic, important information must be identified, categorized and summarized into a few key words.
  • Planning, as students must take the critical information and plot out a layout that guides readers through a logical progression.
  • Designing, as learners must consider colour (models, combinations), fonts (font families, weight, size and serifs).
  • Optimizing, as students must consider image types and optimization elements (size, cropping, quality).
  • Researching, as students locate and identify relevant information/data from authentic sources.

Infographics may be used as a capstone artifact of a unit of study.  This may involve a great deal of creativity, discipline and organization on the part of the learners. Ideally, during the unit, students would be formally introduced to infographics.  As the unit progresses, students should be given primers on basics of design including treatment of fonts, colour, layout and images.

There are plenty of YouTube videos available to assist learners in understanding infographic construction.  Instructors would be the best judges on which ones are suitable for their students. To ensure student success, another preparatory activity is suggested.  Students are given a mock infographic creation activity using a simple tool that involves all of the design elements.  This mock activity ensures that the students create an infographic in 20 minutes.  This activity gives them the confidence to create an infographic, leaving them with more mental time and energy to focus on the unit content being condensed and transferred to the infographic.

A variation of this creative activity involves transferring unit content onto an existing infographic template.  My students used Canva infographic templates.  This is a preferred method as it reduces the technical skills and amount of time to create an infographic.

Creating an Infographic

There are several step required to create an infographic as a group project.  These are as follows.

1.            Provide students with a few exemplars

2.            Allow students to step through a ‘How to’ activity to create a generic infographic (see CANVA)

3.            Students select a topic

4.            Students negotiate subtopics

5.            Students summarize topic and subtopics on a word processor

6.            Students select a template

7.            Students insert/paste text into template

8.            Students source, manipulate and insert imagery

9.            Students adjust fonts, background, element positioning

10.          Students share with their peers

11.          Peers comment

12.          Students revise based on comments

Final thought

Language teachers can exploit infographics to share information through participatory learning activities or as an alternate means of sharing information.   If you have used infographics in the past or are planning on using them, please feel free to comment below.

Resources

How to create an infographic step-by-step worksheet https://www.slideshare.net/mrpottz/make-an-infographic-with-canva-142752549

CANVA infographic templates https://www.canva.com/templates/infographics/

Cool infographics http://coolinfographics.com

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