Monday, February 27, 2012

Introducing Infographics - Make It About Them

Source: ASIDE, 2012
Yes, infographics make excellent tools to use in the classroom to help students understand complex information in a graphically appealing way, and yes, it would be great to have them create their own to reflect what they are learning. So, where do you start if you want to introduce infographics, and how do you explain what they are to your students? Perhaps a tougher question is: what can you use to design them that would help explain how images and data come together to portray information visually? Simple, have students make a graphic about themselves using IONZ.

On the IONZ website, make sure the students click the British flag in the top right corner for the English version. From there, it’s easy. Each student fills in the name field (first name only is fine) and then clicks the forward arrow. The student selects items to create a customized visualization based on key categories, including gender, means of transportation, favorite food and animal, number of e-mail accounts, way of messaging, use of social networking, and hours spent online and sleeping.
Source: IONZ

All categories must have an answer to complete the infographic. In some cases, we did have students who did not use any social networking websites. In those cases, we asked them to choose one to continue. This website makes it amusing to pick selections by having each of the small icons move as the mouse rolls over them. It also provides the percentage of that choice immediately before moving onto the next item. Kids will definitely have fun with it.

Source: ASIDE, 2012
At the end of the selection process, when the personal infographic is finished, IONZ provides a few options for customization, such as the background color, page orientation, and highlight color for the individual’s choices. Students can import a picture as part of the personalization and add a small typed message to appear just below their name as well. Lastly, it can be saved as a JPEG to use later.

Use the results of the completed visualizations to make comparisons. Students can compare their individual results with other classmates or with users who participate on IONZ. In addition, a host of math lessons based on percentages, averages, and ratios could be derived from this data. The bottom line is, once students understand how to look at themselves as an infographic, they can look at others to decode what they see.

For further information on designing your own visualizations, please check the infographics and resources pages on this blog.

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