Making a Beautiful Quote

One of my favourite blogs to read is Quoteflections.  It’s always good for a quote or two (or three or four) on any given day.  I like to use quotes in presentations myself so a resource like this is so helpful.  For today, as an example, the shortest day of the year, we’re inspired by “The Shortest Day“.

I found myself off on a tangent this morning.  On Facebook, one of the people I follow had shared this wisdom “If you want to see a person’s true character watch how they treat animals.” It’s great wisdom; I agree totally; but somehow the quote didn’t seem right.  I did some poking around at QuoteInvestigator to see the origin.  I found this article.  “You Can Easily Judge the Character of a Man by How He Treats Those Who Can Do Nothing for Him“.  While this dog lover appreciated the first quote, this second one was closer to what I had remembered.

A beautiful quote deserves a beautiful presentation.

I decided to use Quozio to dress it up.

Quozio is a slick quick in and out site for just this purpose. It’s just a matter of providing the quote and the person who said it…

and then choose the type of design that you want.

Scroll through the designs until you find the one that you want.  Quozio provides a huge collection of colours and fonts.  Your only challenge will be deciding which one that you’ll use.

You’ll see the obligatory social media sharing buttons or create your own account and save your quotes.  Your quote is just a jpg image so it’s easily saved locally for further use.

If you or your students are looking for the perfect tool for creating memorable quotation designs for presentation, documents, or anywhere that needs a graphic, check out Quozio.



The Deal with Infographics

I must admit that I find the field of infographics fascinating.  In my Zite reader, I’m excited when one of them makes any of the categories that I follow and, to be sure that I get a daily fix, I have the category “infographics” selected.

What impresses me about the whole infographics concept is that one that is well crafted can convey so much information in one document.  Those of us who do presentations regularly will use pie charts or bar charts to identify data or elements of the data.  However, the conventional wisdom has always been to keep one piece of data analysis on a slide to make it readable.

Infographics take that conventional wisdom for a walk by the river and shoves it in.  In fact, infographics puts it all together in one place.  Unlike a pie chart where the experienced designer stands out by exploding a piece, infographics can share just a tonne of information all in one spot.  They’re not intended to be glanced at and moved on.  They are a work of art and data in themselves.  I’d go so far as to say that they’re another contemporary story telling technique.

Here’s one of the infographics that I spent time looking at this morning.  It’s titled “The pros and cons of social media in education” and was blogged by the Edtech Times who credit the authorship to  Meet me under the infographic.

If we take a look at the infographic for its design, we see:

  • four major categories identified; (there are two number threes)
  • some bar charts;
  • graphic organizer showing relationships between items;
  • logos that we all recognize and are immediately drawn to;
  • sources credited for the resources;
  • identifier of the author;
  • a great deal of work with an image editing tool;
  • elements of design – colour, alignment, attractiveness to the viewer.

So let’s step away from the infographic per se, and think about this in the classroom.

A simple way to use the infographic would be as a resource from which to pull answers.  I’d like to think that we could move much deeper with the concept of infographics.  Why not make it the end result of a project?  Consider what the student or groups of students would do in order to be successful.

  • more than trivial use of their graphic tool; (Photoshop Elements, Powerpoint, CorelDRAW!)
  • the need to design the story they wish to tell;
  • research for facts, details, authorities;
  • design element choices – fonts, colours, graphics;
  • respect for copyright and the use of others’ efforts;
  • collaboration and agreement within their group;
  • choose the most appropriate way to display and tell their story;
  • determination of ultimate filetype;
  • critical decisions made about what information goes into the final design.

There is huge potential for this particular activity.  Not only is the process so important, the final product will display so nicely in the student or class blog or wiki.  Where do infographics fit with your curriculum?  If you are doing infographic activities with your class, please share challenges and successes below.

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Yesterday morning, I read this story.  Freepik: your graphic resources search engineThere were two things that caught my eye – “Graphic” and “Free”.  I had to check it out, and from the number of retweets, a great deal of my Twitter followers did as well.

Acid test for me – search for “House”.

The results come displayed, first with results from Shutterstock, sponsored results, and then a collection of “free results”.  The thumbnails click through to the full sized image.  You’ll want to be careful here and check the results to ensure that the copyright places them into the public domain or some sort of licensing which will need to be referenced in your use of the image.

What I like, in particular, is the ability to tell Freepik just what type of image that you want – obviously, there are times and places for vector images.  It’s a great lesson for those students who like to stretch out jpg images to fit the target area!

An option that’s worth the time to explore with students is colour filtering.  You’ll notice above that I’ve selected green.  To that end, Freepik has filtered its results to show images that have a high saturation of green in them.  How often have you seen students grab the first image that comes along only to have a primarily purple image into a theme that’s primarily green?  Little touches like this lend to teachable moments and, hopefully, better results whether it be desktop publishing or a presentation or …

Freepik is definitely a resource to bookmark and add to your suite of online tools.  If you have a portal that takes students to useful websites, you’ll want to add this resource to the list.  Like most things, you do need to do a bit more than provide a link.  Use the functionality of the site to talk about copyright, file types, colour saturations, resizing, etc.

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Infographic Yourself

Update:  Please try the link on a computer and not an Apple iDevice.  It uses Flash to generate the infographic.  Thanks @buttercuphll for pointing out the frustration.

On Fridays, I like to focus on one of a couple of things.  Either it’s about Ontario Educators or something graphical.  This week, it’s graphical but I would encourage Ontario Educators (and anyone else who is reading this) to check this out.  It’s an online application that will create an infographic all about you!  …. according to their questions.

The application is located here.  Unless you’re multi-lingual, you’ll probably want to click on the little British flag in the top right corner of the screen.  Doing so will change the language of interaction to English although doing the survey in Portuguese can be a bit fun too.

The questions are pretty graphical no matter what language you choose.  Just answer the questions … gender … pet … travel, etc. and then sit back to have the program collect the data to form your infographic.  Your content will be merged with everyone else who has used the application.  So, drum roll, here I am…

So, how did you stack up?  I know that from curiosity, you’ve created your own!  Make sure that you customize it and save a copy for yourself.

I like the customization and the colours.  It shows just how quickly and easily data can be turned into information and there are some deep reflections that can be made when you look at the data.  This would be an interesting activity to do with students or anywhere that you need to start a discussion about the results.  How do you stack up against the over 100,000 others that have contributed to the collection of data?

Like many infographics, when you peel back all of the design, this is really an exercise in data and histograms.  It’s just a fun little activity.  If you try it and are transparent enough to share your results, please let us know where we can find it.

Love & Hate on Twitter

In my Twitter stream last night, I saw a message from the Guy Kawasaki Alltop stream that talked about an infographic about Love & Hate on Twitter.  I’m a sucker for a good infographic so clicked through and saw the image.

It’s a long infographic and so it took some time to read through and totally understand what was in the design.  I had this bizarre feeling that I’d seen this before.  It’s not too bizarre because I’ll spend time reading these things and I know that I’ll revisit some of them.  Then, I hit the bottom of the infographic and saw Copyright @ 2011 Neoformix.  My head snapped up just a bit.  Neoformix is Jeff Clark.  Jeff is a former student of mine and Neoformix is an outlet for his graphic and programming creativity when he’s not out running.

I flipped over to the Neoformix website to confirm and, yep, that’s him.  But, there’s more.

I think that most people like a good infographic.  But, if you’ve ever tried to create one yourself or assign it to students, it is not a trivial task to undertake.  I think that most people just assume that you open Photoshop and then go to it.  And, for the most part, that may be right.  However, for this infographic, Jeff has created a blog entry describing how he created it.  I was impressed when he started off indicating that he collected the data for “love” and “hate” from over a couple of years.  Talk about dedication to the project.

As you read the post, and I hope that you do, Jeff provides a nice insight to the developer side of these things.  It’s great reading.  I know that @pmcash was going to explore doing this as an activity in Computer Science this year.  After all, many infographics are a new spin on working with histograms, a standard task in programming.

So, please take a moment to read Jeff’s post and if you’re having students create infographics, bookmark it for later reference.  It’s a keeper.

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