Now I See!
Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment
…even if you don’t think visually
These pages began as support for a presentation at ISTE 2012 in San Diego
By Louise Maine and Candace Hackett Shively
Now I See! Visual and Analytical Routes to Literacy through Infographics
Resources and Tools • Student Examples • What Students Say
What would you do if someone asked you to generate an infographic to illustrate and explain a major concept that you teach? Quick!
- Search for one online and (with relief) cite your source.
- Look for data to include and a logical way of explaining it, but with no clue where to start visually?
- Make a word cloud?
- Ask yourself how your mind “pictures” the central concept?
- Open Photoshop and start right in
Now imagine how confused a student must feel when simply told to “make an infographic.”
Infographics are an excellent tool for students to understand and connect vocabulary, data, and other information. The public media are using infographics more and more to appeal to today’s visual audience and to wedge large quantities of information into small, interactive spaces. Recently, infographics have become a popular assignment for student research projects to “show what they know.” For students, creating an infographic can connect classroom concepts to real world data and examples that they research or collect in labs.
So how do you start using infographics with students who approach information very differently: some “see” the information by drawing mental pictures while others “see” as data/information/words. Think of your teaching colleagues. Who would draw a map or diagram and who would make a list or spreadsheet? What would you do?
Before you launch into using infographics, take some time to analyze your own approach and to plan so that all your students will be successful in creating infographics to scaffold understanding while offering you, the teacher, a formative assessment “window” into their ongoing grasp of concepts and vocabulary. Whether you use infographics as summative projects or formative scaffold, your students need background and resources to make infographics well.
These pages are intended for grades six and up, but many of the strategies are adaptable for younger students, especially to begin building experience with creating infographics.
One Class Story shares the experience of a yearlong class journey into infographics so you can from their wisdom and mistakes.
Tips and Thoughts includes practical tips from teachers who have used student infographic projects in the classroom. Learn from their experience!
Resources and Tools provides extensive reference sites, some handy quick-start tools, a sample rubric, and classroom-ready slides for a step by step start with infographics.
Student Examples shares student-made infographics from a ninth grade biology class.
What Students Say lets you listen in on student reflections and advice on using infographics to learn and show understanding.