Infographics are usually read quickly with relative ease. They are multi-modal texts that include references to other material (such as research studies, text books, teachers) while summarizing a topic or key issue.
Whenever you see an infographic that is relevant to your CPD goals (or it catches your eye as something you might want to explore in the future), use your online/ social media tools to share or save it (I like to Pin it). Once a week, devote 30 minutes to reviewing the infographics you have saved and use them as a stepping stone to build your knowledge or skills. Here are some easy ways to use all the “info” that you now have in graphic form.
1. COLLATE & COMPARE
Choose a topic and collate all the saved info you have on the topic. Either print or create a PDF you now have a ready reference (fact sheet) about a topic that you can easily share or simply keep for yourself. You could leave this tip here, but it will also help to compare the infographics. Decide how each one is related to the others. Does one give you broad headings while another gives data? Are these useful? What is the key message that these graphics tell you? How is the message presented in each one? How are you positioned? Do all of the sources agree? I like to use coloured pens, sticky notes and highlighters to do this step but you might prefer to create a new summary (on a note taking application) or draw a flow chart. Collate the saved infographics and your notes as an extended fact sheet. You might decide that you only want to keep 3 of the 6 infographics that you collected in the first place. These pins show how one topic can be represented in different ways.
Choose one graphic and explore the issue/s more deeply. Use the references at the bottom to do some further reading, Google the headings or use image search to find related articles online. Save these together with the image that got you started. This pin gave me food for thought and prompted me to move beyond what I thought I knew about ADHD.
Choose one graphic to study and create a simple goal/ plan to implement in your teaching tomorrow (next week). Example: Vocabulary Strategies Do this-Not that! has ten great things you could start doing in your classroom immediately to improve your vocabulary instruction. You could choose one of them and implement it in your classroom three times (this will give it a real chance to work). Share this with your Professional Learning Network (PLN) and ask for their feedback or suggestions.
Share one infographic with your PLN to spark a discussion. Choose something that will give you opportunities to learn from them. Example: Marzano’s 9 Effective Instructional Strategies provides an outline of these strategies, but you and your colleagues could all share a specific classroom activity that utilises one or more of the strategies.
Choose one or several infographics to be the foundation for a blog series or display in your classroom. Use the infographics you have as mentor texts. Create your own infographic about the topic you are currently teaching. Ask your students to help you create an infographic that summarizes the current unit of study. Here are some examples of infographics created for the classroom
Does anyone else feel like an infographic is just a poster?! I think that too sometimes. Infographics tend to be online tools rather than a print text and they usually include multiple graphic forms such as symbols and graphs, a paragraph of text as well as a flow chart. Call it what you will, the infographic is a new and dynamic text and as teachers we can use these as tools to enhance learning for our students and ourselves.