Why Infographics

Infographics have quickly emerged in the last few years as a unique way to organize and present information visually.  Infographics differ from a traditional poster in that they typically include statistical information, data or research through a visual medium.  Information is conveyed through a combination of color, size and shape.  For example, population statistics are typically represented as small stick figures, where a larger population would either have s larger stick figure or more stick figures as compared to a smaller population.  Graphs, percentages, as well as engaging visuals are used in infographics to make complex ideas quickly and easily understood by the viewer.

Creating infographics helps students to develop analytical and critical-thinking skills. They prompt students to decipher meaning, purpose, and information. They also provide creative possibilities for differentiated learning and expression. Moreover, successful infographic creation needs a wide range of skills: researching, drawing, writing, computing, storyboarding, and designing.

Today there exist a whole range of free and easy to use online infographic creation tools to provide creative opportunities for students to express their knowledge, research, understanding and perspective.

Infographic Creation Tools

Below are some specific tools for the creation of online comics.

Note: When choosing a tool consider its functionality and publishing possibilities:

  • Easy-to-use tools typically feature drag-and-drop interface
  • Can images be imported?
  • Can you create original art or do you choose from a library of images?
  • Can the infographic be published elsewhere with an embed code?

Infogr.am – Create both infographics and oniline charts from a number of templates pre-created by Infogr.am.  While creating and customizing a selected template, users can insert charts, maps, text, pictures and even video.  Infographics and be saved online in the Infogr.am account and later published and shared online.  Accounts are required to create and save content on the Infogr.am site.  Accounts can be created with an existing email address or can be tied to either Facebook or Twitter.

Picktochart – Select from a series of templates that are pre-created by Picktochart and begin to create an inforgraphic with Picktochart’s drag and drop interface.  Drag from a library of stock images or upload images saved on a computer. Infographic projects can be saved to a Picktochart account online and can be edited online.  Infographics can be downloaded as image files from the site or they can be published to the web and shared online with a link or an embed code.  Accounts are required to create infographics with Picktochart and can be created with an existing email.

Easel.ly – Work from a crisp drag and drop interface to create an infographic with Easel.ly.  Select images to include on the infographic from a library of choices, or upload an image saved on a computer.  Infographics can be saved in one’s Easel.ly account and can be updated and edited online.  Once complete, infographics can be shared online with a link or embed code.

Canva is a simple, drag-and-drop, design software that’s completely online and free to use. Students can make images, infographics, posters, and more!  Canva’s infographic maker makes it easy to create stunning infographics by proving a suite of professionally designed templates.

Video Introduction on Infographic Creation

Infogr.am Video Tutorial

Picktochart Video Tutorial

Visual.ly Video Introduction

infographics from easel.ly on Vimeo.

How to Integrate Infographics

Infographics can be integrated in history and social studies classes in a variety of ways:

  • Create an infographic based on statistical data associated with a war, battle or conflict.
  • Create an infographic to present data associated with a technological change.
  • Create a virtual tour of a country or region with an infographic.
  • Create an infographic as a substitute for a timeline.
  • Transform a Primary Source Document into an infographic by extracting data from word choice, frequency and importance.
  • Create a ‘What If’ infographic about an era or event.
  • Jigsaw a larger unit of study into smaller sections and have groups create infographics to teach their section to the class.
  • Encourage otherwise reluctant writers to express themselves through infographics.

Here are a few additional resources on integrating infographics:

New York Times Learning Network – Teaching with Infographics: Places to Start

New York Times Learning Network – Data Visualized: More on Teaching with Infographics

New York Times Learning Network – Teaching with Infographics: A Student Project Model