Above Image: Infographic comparing the germination of two types of tomato seeds
What is it?
The Infographic Creator learning strategy introduces students to a method of presenting data, as well as other information, from an inquiry in a visually interesting, graphic format called an infographic.
Why use it?
- To support the development of student visual literacy skills
- To enable students to become familiar with different ways of visualizing data
- To assist students with understanding techniques for displaying data so that it is visually interesting for the reader
- To help students learn the ‘rules of thumb’ for creating effective infographics
How do I use it?
- Begin by assessing students’ familiarity with infographics (short for “information graphic”). Students have probably seen examples of these types of graphics in everyday life (e.g., online, in magazines, in ads, etc.), but may not be aware that these images are called infographics.
- Explain/review that an infographic uses visuals supported by text to represent information and/or data. Infographics are an effective and creative way to convey a large amount of information and data quickly through the use of visuals such as graphs, charts, diagrams, time lines, maps, images, icons, etc. What infographics do NOT have is a lot of text. Much of what would normally be text is REPLACED by imagery such as illustrations and icons.
- Begin by showing the students an image of an infographic which follows the guidelines below. It can be on any topic (just search for a given topic and use the word “infographic” in the search). Below are some good examples:
- Display the infographic on a projection screen or have students view on a computer/tablet screen. Note: Infographics can be unusually long or wide, so you may need to pan around the screen or scroll down as students view the infographic.
- Divide students into small groups and provide each with a paper copy of the Infographic Rubric (PRINTED ON BOTH SIDES). Review the rubric criteria with the students. Explain that a good infographic:
- Has an interesting title which describes the main topic
- Uses data visualization formats that are appropriate for type of information being presented (e.g., a map for locations, a pie chart for percentages, etc.)
- Uses images and text which effectively communicate the topic
- Uses a limited number of colours which are visually pleasing and enhance the readability of the infographic
- Has a layout which is not too cluttered and leads the eye to all information
- Is readable (text isn’t too small or in a hard-to-read font)
- Includes a list of sources for the data
- Repeat the activity this time using an infographic that would NOT score well on the rubric and have students use the rubric on the back side of the page to assess the infographic. To find a good sample infographic, type “worst infographics” into a search engine. Below are two examples:
- Now that students have seen both a good and bad example, they can work on creating their own infographics using the guidelines on the rubric for the Tomatosphere™ Investigation. An exemplar of a Tomatosphere™ Investigation infographic can be found in the Tools and Templates section below. Students should plan how they will represent the inquiry process as well as the results of the investigation. It is best to do this in the form of rough notes and drawings before going online. They should also be encouraged to watch any video tutorials offered by the infographic design web program you choose to use.
Tips for success
- If you are not familiar with infographics, take some time to review the websites in the reference list. Included are websites that provide tips for creating good infographics as well as for avoiding common mistakes.
- Preview and try out the different infographic programs and find one that you like.
- Encourage students to look at multiple examples of ‘good’ infographics for inspiration.
- Students should be familiar with various data display options and their uses such as pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, flow charts, etc. (see 33 Ways to Visualize Ideas)
- Teach/review design elements such as complementary colours, fonts, and use of space.
- Students can create infographics either by hand on paper or using an online program. See the References and Additional Resources section below for some free online infographic creation programs.
- The rubric can be differentiated according to grade level, topic and assessment focus (E.g., science, language arts, visual arts, etc.).
Tomatosphere™ Infographic Exemplar
References and Additional Resources
Tips for creating quality infographics
- Crash Course in Infographics (Accessed July 4, 2017). This pdf download from easel.ly is a crash course on infographics. It includes checklists, step-by-step instructions as well as tips and best practices for creating infographics.
- Infographic of Infographics (Accessed July 4, 2017). This image, from Infographic List, is an infographic about Infographics. This website has many examples of infographics that could be used as examples for this learning strategy.
- Types of Graphs (Accessed July 4, 2017). This website has explanations and examples for many types of graphs and when/how they should be used.
- 33 ways to visualize ideas (Accessed July 4, 2017). This image, from FundersandFounders.com, is an infographic about the “33 ways to visualize ideas.” This would be a good handout for students.
- Top Tips from Experts on What Makes a Great Infographic (Accessed July 4, 2017). This blog post from easel.ly (an online infographic program) has tips from experts on what makes a great infographic.
- 12 Infographic Tips That You Wish You Knew Years Ago (Accessed July 4, 2017). This blog post from Kissmetrics (a blog about analytics, marketing and testing) has tips for making a good quality infographic.
- Bad Infographics: 11 Mistakes You Never Want to Make (Accessed July 4, 2017). This blog post from visme.co (an online infographic program) lists 11 common infographic mistakes.
Infographics in the Classroom
Free Infographic design programs
The following simple online infographic programs include free layouts, graphics and photographs as well as help in the form of tutorials. Note: these programs also include elements which are NOT free, so warn students not to choose these features.