RM Winter 2016 FLIP

easy video tutorial that helps those new to the site easily acclimate to the options within each template. Three popular templates with teachers are: (1) the Nerds vs. Geeks for comparing and contrasting, (2) the Walkway as a way to show a progression and/or the outline of events, and (3) the USA Map to provide information regarding specific location. Any of the templates are customizable, allowing the user to change the graphics, the icons, and the text. Easel. ly also allows the user to upload personal images to use in existing templates. Once the infographic is saved, it can be downloaded as a pdf or shared through a link or a group share. Infogram , https://infogr.am/education, is a great tool for creating any kind of infographic, but teachers especially like it for the eye catching data displays. The displays include a variety of templates for charts and graphs. This makes it a great tool to use in math and science as it allows teachers to integrate reading, writing, and 21st century digital literacy skills into their content curriculum. This site is especially useful for displaying statistics, collecting and presenting data, and showing growth over time. Piktochart , http://piktochart.com/ is another excellent infographic tool and one that is very user friendly for students. Piktochart provides users with four different design options, infographic, report, banner, and presentation. The assortment of formatting options allows students to clearly align the layout with the purpose. The banner option has been used as a thinking map or graphic organizer for students to create content-specific notes. It can also be a way of outlining a presentation. The presentation possibility allows students to embed videos and is a great tool to integrate multiple genres such as commercials, public service announcements, oral reports, skits, and songs into the project. The report format has been utilized for research projects that provide options for including data in the form of charts and graphs. The report option now allows users to link surveys through the Survey Monkey site, encouraging students to collect and share data. Of course the infographic option is a go-to format because it provides users with fairly simple templates that include both text and graphics. Piktochart also allows the user to upload personal images, videos, charts, and maps. Teachers can save the infographic as a jpg, png, or pdf. Additionally, teachers can create a copy of the infographic and can upload the image onto another web 2.0 site such as a class blog or wiki. Smore , www.smore.com, is an easy-to-use site that provides the necessary components for a user to build an infographic. Images, text, and links to other sites can be embedded into the infographic. In order to add an image, the user scrolls to the bottom of the page, clicks on the “picture” tile and drags it to wherever the image will go. Students can share the links to their Smore infographics through email, Twitter, or class websites. Once the infographic is shared, viewers can leave comments. In addition to the variety of tools that students can use, Smore offers analytics. After publishing the flyer, the user has access to information such as the number of views the infographic has received, the locations of those views, how many outgoing links were visited, and the average time people spent viewing the infographic.

Helpful Tips In order to help students become familiar and comfortable with infographics, teachers can assign an All about Us task. An All about Us assignment gives students a chance to learn the technology of the infographic while learning about one another and building a sense of community. Teachers can put students in pairs or small groups of three. Students can interview one another and can then create an infographic with the information. Interview questions might include: Where were you born? Howmany people are in your family? What do you want to be when you grow up? Why? What do you like to read? Why? While working on this assignment, students will gain an understanding of how to use the various design elements. For example, they will learn how to change the background, add text, and insert images and photographs. When students have completed the infographics, the teacher can display one at a time on the smartboard and can allow group members to introduce one another. The teacher can also have a Student of the Week and can include the link to that student’s infographic in the class newsletter or on the class website. Once students feel comfortable with the technology, the assignments can focus more on content. Several of the infographic websites give educators a free option that allows them to create a limited number of infographics for each account. Google allows users to take an existing gmail account and add +1, +2, and +3 in order to create unlimited accounts for students to use for web 2.0 sites. It is helpful to create a list, inclusive of email addresses, usernames, and passwords to keep track of the login information. This helps alleviate the issue of only being allowed to create a limited number of infographics for free. Final Thoughts Infographics can be used as an instructional tool in early childhood all the way through post-secondary classrooms. Utilizing vivid graphics to both attract the reader’s attention and to serve as an additional meaning-making tool, infographics are a powerful instructional strategy to quickly and efficiently provide information to students. With primary students in grades kindergarten through second, infographics can be used in several ways. The infographic can serve as an activating strategy to pique interest and tap into students’ existing funds of knowledge on a specific topic. It can also be used as a visual aid to enhance understanding of a topic of study. The infographic can be a developmentally appropriate way to provide content in a blended learning environment so that students can “read” both the graphics and the text. In grades three through twelve, infographics can be instructional tools for content delivery. However, they are much more powerful when used as an authentic tool to help students create meaning. Students can construct infographics as visual

Reading Matters Technology Matters

| 68 | Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org


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