Reverse Discovery


I found a real gem for a resource recently just by tracking backwards.  From the Infographics category in my Zite reader, I enjoyed the infographic “Where In the World Is the Internet?“.

I thought I knew.  It’s in one room, reaches over here via wireless, and my phone connects “up there” wherever that is.  Obviously, it was going to be more than that, smart aleck, so I clicked the link expecting to see internet usage from around the world.

where

I wasn’t disappointed.

I spent a great deal of time exploring the infographic.  It really put things into perspective in that the usage by country is giving in terms of percentage of use rather than just sheer numbers.  That’s two completely different stories!

Given recent world events, it would be a great classroom discussion about how the rest of the world gets immediate stories, sees live video, watches recorded video, share images and pictures, etc.  There were some surprising figures to me.  But, I love this stuff.

Now, this is all a preamble to what I really want to talk about.

A good infographic will quote its sources so that you can judge the credibility and accuracy of the data depicted.  That’s crucial for the analysis of any information that you’re accessing on the internet.  In this case, the infographic quoted the website Internet World Stats.  This is interesting – really interesting.

stats

If you like statistics, make sure that you bookmark this resource.

This is a source for those real world type of problems that lend instant answers to the question “Where does anyone use this?”.

Whether you’re doing data analysis, math discussions, drawing charts, or even creating your own infographics, there literally is a world of data here just waiting to be accessed.

Go for it.

 

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 OnlineUniversities.com.  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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Infographics for Careers


I really like infographics.  I keep hearing of people that don’t and yet they keep on appearing.  In my morning reading on Zite, one of the categories that I visit daily is indeed “Infographics”.

I’m amazed at how interesting the creators of them are.

It’s an attractive way to display statistics and potentially big data.  I know that, when teaching Computer Science, problems that were given to students were most motivating when the desired output was graphics oriented.

Today, I ran across two infographics that got me thinking of a use in a Careers classroom – a subject area that’s always a challenge to find engaging and motivating activities.

The first infographic was “Salaries on the Scene at Fashion Week” where the author takes a look at the various salaries in the fashion industry.  Click the link to see the full infographic.

Almost immediately after I enjoyed this infographic, I ran into “What Really Motivates Employees

Taken together, they made for some interesting reading and deeper thought.

Then it occurred to me.  Why wouldn’t activities like this be a genuine research and productive activity in the Careers Classroom?

At the introductory level, you could look at the infographics online and talk about the content.  There’s certainly a great deal of merit to that but I wouldn’t stop there.

One of the things that a good infographic does is cite its resources at the bottom.  Why wouldn’t you take the resource links (find Canadian equivalent ones if possible) and send the students to the links to look at the raw data and have them create their own infographics to summarize and display the results through their lens.  It would be interesting to compare the statistic interpretation through their eyes as opposed to a commercially developed one.

Of course, you’re going to need tools.  You may find right from the get go that students have the skills to dig into Photoshop Elements (licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Education) right away.

For the others, there are wonderful resources on the web.

And away you go!  As indicated above, I love to collect infographics and infographic resources.  They’re all tucked away in my Diigo account.  Help yourself.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, this just screams to be an activity for groups where skills are shared and brainstorming rules.  Pick a career and you’re off to the races.

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