RM Winter 2016 FLIP

Infographics: More than Digitized Posters

Lindsay Yearta, Winthrop University Dawn Mitchell, Spartanburg School District Six

multitude of interested parties. Additionally, the finished product served as authentic evidence of their learning and Ms. Billings was able to assess their understanding of the novel, War Horse . The above vignette provides a sense of how“literacy practices shape our world” (Wilber, 2012, p. 406). With new digital tools becoming available on a regular basis, it is important to focus on more than an exciting new tool (Wilber, 2012). In fact, teachers can use digital tools to provide students with varied opportunities to make their thinking visible and communicate with others (Yearta & Stover, 2015). Students now have the opportunity to use digital tools to create infographics and can share their thinking and learning with wide, varied, authentic audiences. In this article, we provide a brief literature review, discuss ways to use infographics in the classroom, list popular student-friendly infographic sites, and offer hints to help readers get started with infographics today. Preparing Students with New Tools

Abstract —Teachers in grades K-12 can utilize infographics to integrate content and literacy. In fact, with infographics, students can create real-world digital projects and can share their learning with authentic audiences. With the use of digital tools, students can collaborate with peers within and beyond the classroom. Student- friendly infographic sites include Easel.ly, Infogram, Piktochart, and Smore. Infographics can be used as interactive presentation tools, inclusive records of student thinking, and authentic assessments. Ms. Billings (all names are pseudonyms) was fairly content with her literacy instruction. In fact, any visitor to Ms. Billings’ classroom during her literacy block would note students deeply engaged in a variety of tasks. Students might be reading in the library corner, working on composing a reading response in their journals, or even engaged in a book discussion about a previously read text. While she felt certain that her students were learning

Reading Matters Technology Matters

and their comprehension was deepening, Ms. Billings wanted to provide her students with additional opportunities to collaborate with one another during this time as well as a chance to utilize digital tools. Since Ms. Billings wanted to integrate technology, she analyzed the structure of her book clubs and decided that the culminating project would be a good place to begin. At the time, students were preparing to begin historical fiction book clubs. After they had made their selections and been placed in groups, Ms. Billings told the students about their book club project. Instead of the usual poster or oral presentation, the students were going to create infographics. They were going to be able to share their infographics with parents, classmates, and even students in other schools. With the integration of technology, Ms. Billings’ book clubs became even more robust and exciting. Students continued to read and hold great discussions and now they could also be seen clustered around laptops, making decisions about the layout, graphics, and links as they worked on designing infographics for their culminating products. DaShawn and Hannah, students in Mrs. Billings’ class, created their infographic on the historical fiction novel, War Horse (see Figure 1). DaShawn and Hannah were able to compose a real-world digital product to share their thinking and learning with a

According to the International Literacy Association, formerly the International Reading Association, students need access to and experience with the new literacies of 21st century technologies (2009). Teachers are certainly using technology in the classroom, yet there continues to be much room for growth in the area of technology and literacy instruction (Karchmer-Klein, 2013). Students should have multiple, varied opportunities to engage in and become familiar with new literacies. These new literacies are different from traditional literacies in two significant dimensions, in terms of technology and ethos (Knobel & Lankshear, 2014). Technology, the first dimension, refers to tools such as Skype, GoogleDocs, Voki, Mixed Ink, VoiceThread and apps such as Educreations, Popplet, and Puppet Pals. It is important to note that there is a constant deluge of new technologies, and the sites and apps that are used today may be outdated tomorrow (Leu, Zawilinski, Forzani, & Timbrell, 2015). Therefore, the focus should not only be on understanding the specific technologies, but also on learning the skills and thinking processes of new literacies (Leu et al., 2015).

The second dimension is ethos. Ethos is a way of thinking about a topic, or the guiding

Figure 1: Screenshot of DaShawn and Hannah’s War Horse Infographic

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