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How to teach your students infographics

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Infographics have become a staple in our business and social media world. Page through a Forbes magazine and you’ll find a number of colorful poster-like images illustrating statistics and data to help represent the article’s message. Scroll through your Linkedin home feed and find posts of articles with titles declaring Infographic. As the education field moves forward in the 21st Century, K-12 schools are now finding ways to incorporate technology that better suit students for the real world. With the advent of the Common Core Standards in most of our fifty states, preparing college and career ready students is at the forefront of curriculum design.

Data visualization developed as a means to read material quickly and easily. As technology continues to advance, information is overwhelmingly vast, making readers quick to discard a text and move to the next piece. Infographics allow for an ease of information retrieval by quickly displaying a large amount of data in an easy-to-read format, rich of images , statistics, and symbols.

When incorporating infographics in the classroom, the educator’s role is simply to break down the real-world material in order to build a foundation for the student at his or her level.

Here are some helpful steps to incorporate infographics in the classroom:

1. Determine a real-world, inquiry- based research topic, such as natural disasters or bullying.
2. Show students a side-by-side image of an infographic and a text article on the same topic and ask students to determine the differences.
3. Find a business or media article that describes the purpose of an infographic, how they’re used in the real world, and the effective way of creating visual data.
4. Show three examples of infographics and have students critique the elements of each based on the information they learned from the article.
5. Create a planner template for students to map out their research information to be used in the infographic: statistics, images, symbols, color scheme.
6. Find one free Web 2.0 infographic creator that is easy to use/ learn: Easelly, Infogram, or Piktochart.
7. Create an example using the chosen tool and record the steps for instruction. (Use the Help link if you're not familiar with the program.)
8. Walk students through the creation process by examining the tool bars and various options.
9. Now students are ready to create their own infographic!

The business world provides a mecca of educational tools for the secondary school. Reading through the news each day, subscribing to a technology blog, and speaking with the school technology coordinator/ library media specialist will allow for developing creative ways to incorporate technology and writing lessons that build a foundation to prepare students as competitive, global citizens.

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