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Infographics – tools and student projects

March 19, 2012

I know that many readers are interested in this topic because Infographics in the classroom is one of the most popular articles on this blog. Well, here’s a new resource for you: Over 100 Incredible Infographic Tools and Resources. The list is a bit overwhelming, but at least it’s categorized.

Infographics are becoming more and more common. Jane Krauss had a great article recently in Learning and Leading with Technology, “Infographics: More Than Words Can Say” (Notre Dame folks can access it here). It may look a bit to cute for some higher ed faculty, but the content is excellent. Krauss starts by relating infographics to K-12 learning standards, and then talks about how to introduce the topic as a class project. Here are a few ways to incorporate this kind of imagery into course activity:

  • Ask students to find infographics that relate to course content
  • Assign a complex infographic as a “reading” assignment
  • Present an infographic and ask students to de-construct it
  • Conceptualize an infographic on a course topic
  • Create an original infographic as a group project

Class projects going on right now

Mark Szymanski’s Education 537 class at Pacific University is in the middle of a project on infographics. The students need to find an infographic and tell how they would use it in teaching. At Western Washington, Tim Pilgrim’s Journalism 309 students will be creating a basic infographic. And at Rutgers, Jonathan Bass’ Information Design class will be using Adobe InDesign to create an “Infographic Essay.” Have any of you used infographics in a class as a consumer or as a producer?

Caveat lector

The proliferation of infographics is not entirely a good thing. People are very susceptible to the power of visual metaphors. The history of propaganda posters tells us that it is not hard for misguided or misinformed people to create deceptive images. A pretty picture can also make the results of flawed research look very compelling.

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