Infographics are easy to make and a fun way to spice up your lessons. In the January professional development workshop, we discussed ways to use infographics in the English language classroom and practiced making our own infographics with an easy-to-use website. I will go over some quick and easy tips from this workshop that you can incorporate into your lessons.
First, what is an infographic? It is much more than just information or a graphic! It is a combination of visuals (pictures, charts, graphs) used to present a lot of information in a succinct and visual manner. An infographic can help a reader better understand statistical results that might otherwise be overwhelming or hard to visualize. We often have our students research topics and synthesize this material through posters or presentations. Why not add infographic to the list of ways you and your students can summarize material?
You can see an example of an inforgraphic that I made to introduce myself at the top of the blog. It took me about 10 minutes to create this. Let’s have a quick brainstorm. Think about this question to yourself: What ways could I use this in my class?
Now let me share a some ideas I had:
- Use this infographic as a handout for grammar or vocabulary practice. If you make a different infographics summarizing a few different people (real or imagined), it could be fun and effective to use this as the context for a pair discussion about appearance, hobbies, or personality. You could put the infographics around the room and have the students discuss who would make good friends, who would make a good couple, who wouldn’t get along, etc. The opportunities abound!
- Use the same teacher-made infographics discussed above as character profiles for short story writing. Better yet, have students create their own infographics for characters they come up with! You could even have your students create infographics for characters from a book or a movie that you are watching or reading in class as an expansion task or homework.
- Use infographics as a getting-to-know-you tool. Have students interview each other and create an infographic for their partner to show to the class. Make one for yourself to use as a model.
- Use infographics as a way for students to create an attractive looking ad for a product they create. I created the infographic below as an example advertisement for a vacation to a place called Club Getaway (This place really exists, by the way. Google it!). The students then used this as a model for creating an infographic advertising their own weekend getaway. Here is my example:
Hopefully at this point we can all agree that infographics can be a lot of fun to use in class. You can make them yourself as practice material or you can have the students create them for projects. The applications are limited only by your imagination! So, now let’s talk logistics.
The website I like to use is a free site called piktochart.com. In order to use the site, you need to create a log in and I would suggest using the site with the browser Google Chrome. With the free version of the site you have access to a limited number of infographic templates and the ability to publish and save infographics. If you would like to download your infographic, you can save it as a jpeg. The site works pretty much like any Microsoft-based office program. It is fairly intuitive and if you are familiar with Word, you will have a working knowledge of how the site works. If you run into any issues, feel free to leave a comment and I will see what I can do to help. The main thing to consider when planning how to use the site is time. If you would like to have your students create the infographic, I would suggest assigning this as homework. However, if you plan on using this as a regular classroom tool, the more familiar your students become with it, the less time it will take for them to create infographics during class time.
And that’s it! Try it out! If you think of a particularly interesting idea, please share it in the comments below. It would be great to hear how other teachers will use or have used this tool to enhance student-learning.