RM Winter 2016 FLIP

specifically D-Day, teachers could discuss an infographic such as this one, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/d-day/ infographics/d-day-by-the-numbers , done by The History Channel. When learning about persuasive writing, teachers could have students analyze the“Plant the Plate”infographic, http://www. ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/images/fa/plant- the-plate/Plant-the-Plate-Infographic-full.jpg. This could help develop students’critical literacy skills as they learn to recognize some of the techniques that authors use to persuade readers. Many teachers encourage their students to become experts in a variety of topical areas in which individual students express an interest. This interest can take the formof an“expert project.” With the expert project, students can conduct research and present their learning to their classmates. Historically, these presentations have taken the formof Powerpoints, colorful posters, and reports. Having students present their expert projects with an infographic means that they can still share their information with classmates, using a smart board, but can also present their learning to a much wider audience. Furthermore, students can imbed links to videos and informational websites, increasing their classmates’access to information. Many students are visual learners and as more students gain access to technology in the classroom, infographics can be used as a place to keep a record of learning as the unit progresses. Unlike notes taken with traditional paper and pencil, notes taken on an infographic can include links to other sources of information, images that represent knowledge, and space for comments fromother learners. Learning is social in nature (Vygotsky, 1978) and when students use this digital tool, note-taking can become less of an isolated activity. Infographics can also be a genre study in which students focus on infographics as real-world, authentic written products. First, students can study the specifics of the genre such as text features, the layout, and the conciseness of the craft. Then, after getting in collaborative groups, students could create their own infographics on self-selected or content-related topics. Finally, infographics can be used as assessments. They are authentic ways to determine what the students have learned in a given unit of study. After completing the infographic, the student could email the link to the teacher. Then, students could easily share their learning with a wider audience by posting the link to a blog or website. When students know that their work is going to be shared with an authentic audience, their sense of responsibility for learning is greater (Stover, Yearta, & Sease, 2014). Teachers, when they are ready to begin using infographics in the classroom, have a variety of sites to choose from. The following section offers a review of several student- friendly infographic websites. While the list is by nomeans exhaustive, it provides a place for teachers to begin. Infographic Sites Easel.ly , www.easel.ly, is a site that offers ready-made templates and a host of editing tools. There is a short,

principles. New literacies allow for ample revision, communication, collaboration, feedback, and encourage a “sharing of resources” (Knobel & Lankshear, 2014, p. 98). Specifically, digital tools can better enable teachers to provide students with authentic literacy practices (Mills & Levido, 2011). Therefore, when thinking about new literacies, it is important to consider how the tools can be used to enhance communication and collaboration. Clearly, it is imperative that classroom teachers become fully versed in these technologies so that the new tools can be integrated into the curriculum. One digital platform that teachers can utilize in the classroom is infographics. Infographics, or information graphics, are fairly new in the world of education but have been used by newspapers and magazines for some time (Toth, 2013). Fowler (2015) found that “asking students to create infographics provides a vehicle for teaching them how to filter information, communicate through visual aids, and develop creative presentations using technology” (p. 44). While Abilock andWilliams (2014) found that many classroom infographics are simply digital posters, below we suggest several ways to utilize infographics to promote creativity, collaboration, and comprehension. Infographics in the Classroom Building opportunities for students to be creative, collaborate with one another, and increase comprehension is important and is highlighted in the new English Language Arts standards, recently published by the state of South Carolina. Specifically, students in South Carolina are expected to be able to “interact with others to explore ideas and concepts, communicate meaning, and develop logical interpretations through collaborative conversations; build upon the ideas of others to clearly express one’s own views while respecting diverse perspectives” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2015, p. 32). Students should also be able to “construct knowledge, applying disciplinary concepts and tools, to build deeper understanding of the world through exploration, collaboration, and analysis” (South Carolina Department of Education, 2015, p. 37). Before students create their own infographics, we suggest they review examples of previously created infographics. Then, lead students in a discussion as to what makes an infographic effective (Fowler, 2015). Effective infographics most likely include visuals, accurate information, and sources. They will be simple to read and navigate. The purpose of having students discuss and practice reading infographics, or electronic texts, is that electronic texts are different than traditional texts and often require that students utilize more than one processing mode in order to comprehend the information (Anstey & Bull, 2006). Electronic texts can be continuously revised, shared with an authentic audience, multimodal, and do not follow a linear, step-by-step progression (Karchmer-Klein, 2013). Once students are familiar with the layout and purpose of infographics, the uses in the classroom are seemingly endless. Read below for ideas on integrating this digital tool with the curriculum. Infographics can be used as a teaching tool or a presentation tool, an authentic alternative to Powerpoints or flipcharts. For example, when learning about World War II,

Reading Matters Technology Matters

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