As a kid, I grew up on a steady diet of posters. Posters were the go-to product at the end of units of work or when presenting data. Right up to and including university we were making posters (that’s showing my age). I loved making posters – choosing colors, what to go where, layout, styles, fonts etc. I didn’t realise at the time, I was being exposed to and learning essential design principles. To this day, I love to use visuals to organize my thinking by sketching, creating flowcharts etc. While posters are out of fashion these days, as there are many way cooler ways to display information, there are still many of the same metacognitive skills to apply. Out with posters, in with Infographics. Infographics are being used for many purposes including:
They have many educational uses as students can consume infographics (read, intepret, and discuss) or create their own.
Currently in class, we are just starting a new unit (Sharing the Planet) which focuses on biomes of the world and their threats. We are using mangroves as a case study as it is a big local issue where I am currently located (Mumbai, India). To learn about global threats through mangroves we use sources such as:
But I’d like to include an additional source of information as a result of the focus of this week’s course. In this unit the purpose of including an infographic would be to learn more about our subject area and to focus on the key skills of <how to read and interpret> an infographic. I found an infographic that supports our learning objectives at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health website.
At the same time, we would be inquiring into ‘How this text compares to our other sources of information’ through these key concepts:
- What makes an infographic an infographic? Form
- How does it work? Function
- Why is it like this? Causation
What I’m really trying to do is set up a foundation for future units when students could have an opportunity to create an infographic. A lot of groundwork is already laid. They would already know what infographics are like and when is it best to use it as opposed to other forms of text.
When thinking about infographics I immediately thought of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano who has written a lot of blog posts about the use of infographics as well as creating infographics herself for a variety of purposes for example this infographic on copyright. She has some fantastic resources to help teachers use infographics in the classroom.
When I was ready to push publish on this blog post, I came across one last article that I could have done without reading at this point in time. But once read, I can’t hit the undo button in my brain. Essentially, it is discussing the difference between an infographic and digital posters. It’s possible that there are many digial posters disguised as infographics if you were to get technical on some of the features or even the purpose of an infographic. So, I am going to have to rethink some of my work.
- Am I using an infographic or a digital poster?
- Are students creating an infographic or digital poster?
- Does it matter?
I’m interested in your thoughts. For now, I’ve got a plan and I’ll implement and reflect and modify for next time. Teaching is like that. You make decisions based on what you know at that point in time, and it is likely that you’ll acquire more information and experience and change. If I think back 15 years ago when I started teaching, there are many things I cringe at (think tri-fold brochure – really popular back then).
Well… “The times they are a-changin’ ” – says Bob Dylan… constantly…