Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Enter the Infographic
We see them everywhere, infographics.  They are a tool that uses visual design, text, and research (we hope) to organize ideas, sell something, teach something, basically communicate.  They blend words and pictures. Remember picture books?  Remember Powerpoint, Excel graphs? Infographics (and tools like them) are a digital, online iteration of this kind of communication. 

I like them.  I like the challenge of trying to "write" in a new environment, one that employs all my 21st Century skills, such as they are. I like the opportunity to communicate and stimulate with colors and shapes. 

It's fun. But as cool as they look, their deliberate simplicity is deceptive. Have you tried to create one?  I have.  I've tried hard.  I'd rather write an essay. 

When I first started playing with infographics, the tools were complicated and clunky - unless you were prepared to pay for the next level up. The next level up was, of course, where all the "front-page" templates were. Templates make things much easier. They make your work look on the screen how it looks in your mind. I was not prepared to give up.  I kind of let the whole infographic universe stew for a while. While it was stewing, new tools came along, techniques became more defined . . . I found ways for this to make sense in a classroom with students at any level. 

So NOW, I am ready to do a class on infographics in the fall.  I've dabbled a bit as part of my research and learning process.  You may have caught the SOL Training I did last spring on Infographics or the workshop session I did at Eighth Floor Open World this summer.  They were fun, and I have learned a little more about the technology and technique each time.  

More and more I come across someone who writes well about this medium.  For example, this post in Edutopia,  Inventing Infographics: Visual LIteracy Meets Written Content.  I come across insights and application like these and I get excited to teach my students something new, something more relevant. 

Come play with me this fall!  We'll play with colors and pictures and words and create things that are remarkably sophisticated!

Just sharin'
Lee Anne

1 comment:

Evan said...

Picture worth more than 1000 words. That is not just a usual saying. Its true, I honor your opinion!