S’More Tech Summer Camp, Day 14 (Infographics)

Hi campers!

I hope you liked our movie yesterday. I think that our speaker did a superb job of explaining WHY we need to teach infographics to our students.

I recently read this article (written for college students) about how to design infographics.These tips convinced me that an infographic could be an excellent final product for student research.

Here is the article, called 10 Tips for Designing Infographics.

And here are the reasons why I think his tips make sense for our students. I would definitely use these tips to instruct my students!

1. Be Concise. What is the main idea? This is a concept we are teaching our students all the time, right? Don’t get lost on a rabbit trail. Find the main idea and focus on it. How does everything else support the main idea? An infographic must concentrate on one main idea to be cohesive.

2. Be visual. How do images persuade us? Students will have to think about which images to use. Have you ever assigned students to make a Powerpoint, only to have them spend 55 minutes of the hour choosing their background design? Students are already captivated by images; we can help students understand the influence of those visuals.

3. Be smarter. The data and explanation must be built into the infographic. That means that students can’t just create a random, pretty design. They must show the data supporting the picture.

4. Be transparent. Cite your sources. Can I get an “amen?” Librarians have been preaching this for decades. Now we see that citing our sources will be necessary after we graduate. Hmmm….if  you see an infographic for which the designer doesn’t cite his sources, what could you infer?

5. Be different. I think our students will shine here. They should be able, after mastering the basics, to think outside the box and create an image that will communicate their data very creatively. Why confine them to a Powerpoint presentation or research paper?

6. Be accurate. Here’s another chance for us to remind students that the graphic must be an accurate portrayal of the data.  It’s not a picture drawn from thin air.

7. Be attractive. Have some excellent examples (like the ones in this “10 Tips” article) for your students to view. Talk about what makes those graphics attractive. Are we more likely to be convinced by a chart that looks good?

8. Be varied. As I said in point 5, I think you should instruct students in the basics first: pie chart, bar graph, and line graph. After they understand those basics, help them to brainstorm other visuals that could be used to represent their data. Maps? Pictures? Timelines?

9. Be gracious. Another reminder to cite your sources! Give credit to yourself as the designer, and to the sources of your pictures and information.

10. Be creative. This is where you will need to help your students, providing them with the tools they need to showcase both their knowledge and their creativity.

What did you learn from this article? Paste the link to this article, and a few notes about it into your camp scrapbook. You’ll want to remember this when you get ready to start an infographic project next year!

p.s. — A big thanks to Randy Krum for an excellent article that you can find here: http://digitalnewsgathering.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/10-tips-for-designing-infographics/

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