Sunday, March 4, 2012

Creating Infographics in a 1:1 Classroom

Source: iTunes, Reallusion
We use infographics as teaching tools because they hit so many academic sweet spots in critical thinking, graphicacy, data analysis, and interdisciplinary learning. Our students also produce their own graphics, applying visual design to exam reviews, geography studies, or personal hobbies. The hard part as teachers, though, is finding the best tools to make infographics. Many online resources can generate beautiful graphs and charts, but the eye-popping images that really catch our attention are usually made with high-powered, high-learning-curve programs like R or Adobe Illustrator. Now, however, there is an iPad app that can simply and flexibly create professional-looking infographics of almost any kind.

Source: ASIDE, Visualize
Visualize is an app from Reallusion, Inc., that offers a versatile canvas for designing information. Students can choose from a large array of fonts, shapes, call-outs, stickers, post-its, and backgrounds to lay out their graphics. Even better, unlike other apps, users can import images from their photo libraries or from the web. The functionality of the tablet makes sizing and moving each element much easier than on a traditional computer.

In 1:1 iPad environments, students could use Visualize to devise graphics in response to almost any lesson. Even in classrooms with one or two devices, children could collaborate in centers or small groups to fashion high-quality depictions to teach others. Each file can effortlessly be posted on class blogs or shared via email or social media.

Our school has just started experimenting with iPads, and this type of customized art evokes terrific originality in young learners. Also, the shadow effects and image editing yields decidedly polished results. Users familiar with Photoshop layers will quickly recognize similar capabilities here. That may be Visualize's greatest asset, meeting each student's level of comfort and skill to publish beautiful infographics for any level of technical sophistication.

By the way, we've found that a few quick lessons in visual thinking go a long way before sending students off to start designing. This post from Queness, for example, has helpful tips in How To Design Your Own Infographics. Please also check our resources page for more tools to create infographics.

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