A Global Killer

Infographics are more than just a visual. They are interesting. Who doesn’t love a good infographic? They have cool pictures and neat statistics, and best of all, they make sense.

“Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends” (from Wikipedia).

Why not use infographics in our teaching? Well…we can…and maybe we should. But they are not as abundant and applicable as one might hope. For this blog post, we were asked to, “Find an infographic that you can use in your teaching, embed it into a blog post, and reflect on how you plan to use it.” Simple enough, right? Well…not really, at least that wasn’t the case for me!

I used the Creative Commons Search for Google Images and Flickr, and there were only a few infographics that were really relevant to what I am currently teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I think there are a TON of great inforgraphics out there, but they aren’t really entirely directed towards being used in the classroom, at least not yet. For example, when I Google Image search just “infographic,” the first images that come up are: “How we pay for things,” “The geosocial universe,” and “Ideal engines.” When I searched for “infographic science,” more of what I was looking for appeared, but it wasn’t directly related to my scientific discipline – “Aussie eyes on Mars,” The 10-B pork scam,” and “Soils.” After a good bit of searching, I did find this infographic:

Some rights reserved: DES Daughter

I REALLY like this infographic. One of the units in my grade 9 integrated science course is cells, so this visual can easily fit into that unit. I think it would best be used as a unit opener to get students thinking about something that has affected or could affect so many of us. A discussion about this infographic could easily make my unit on cells more “real.” I could ask the students questions like:

  • Which piece of information is the most surprising? Why?
  • Why is cancer the leading cause of death worldwide?
  • What do you think is the overall message of this infographic?

Infographics are informative and usually make me think, “Oh, wow! Really? I didn’t know that.” This can be both engaging and thought provoking. This particular infographic could help my students make connections about what their learning to the real world. Students oftentimes wonder, “Why do we have to learn this?” And for our cell unit, this infographic could be my answer.

I have also thought about the possibility of challenging my students to create their own infographic about what we are learning. It would allow them to make their own deeper connections between what we are learning and their world. How have you used infographics in your classroom or in your life? I warmly welcome your comments below 🙂

2 thoughts on “A Global Killer

  1. Pamela, I really enjoyed your blog post for two reasons:

    1. I love your header and the simplicity of the post, it is easy to read and navigate.
    2. I felt completely the same way as you regarding the task being harder than it sounded.

    You are right, there are many infographics out there but really not very many specifically for classrooms. As you said, images do make sense and often the data does make you think “Wow! I didn’t know that” which is quite exciting. Especially when trying to make an impact with the students. I am an art teacher and thought I’d find many amazing infographics for the elements of art and design but there really wasn’t anything out there, well not ones I could attribute. It took me a really long time to find the sources that I did.

    I like your choice of infographic and how you are planning to connect it to your classroom. The idea about them creating their own is excellent too. These videos could help with that process; this one shows basic steps using Canva, link to tinyurl.com and “The Best American Infographics 2013” could be a great introduction video: link to tinyurl.com.

    I was also thinking the same thing myself. Since I didn’t find many infographics I liked specifically for my classroom I actually found other ones I liked and imagined what my students could do with them. Here is a link to my post: link to tinyurl.com Even the visual CV could be adapted. I also really liked the animated infographics this could be a great Science project to demonstrate their learning and push the boundaries with technology. I think when students create their own visuals they will really have to analyze and understand the information for it to be accurate and engaging. Isn’t that what we want in our classes? The fact it was hard to find Creative Commons classroom samples maybe means there is a need for it. These new opportunities are really exciting!

    1. Rebecca, thank you so much for your comment 🙂 I completely agree that there is a definite need for classroom-based infographics. And thank you so much for the great resources that you introduced me to. I think I see a science infographic project in the near future 😉 I will keep you updated on my progress!

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