CPD and Infographics: Quick Tips

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.

 

2. EXPLORE

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.

3. PLAN

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.

4. SHARE

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.

5. CREATE

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.

Happy Learning!

mel lit coach signature

Advertisements

If you want to skip straight to the link (and make me really sad) click here.

Before the real article begins, I must explain my recent absence.  It has been more than a month – so much for my September writing goal- since my fingers danced across the keyboard with the intention of sharing my expertise with you.  I like to think I have expertise.  School has been busy and even though I have been on holidays for more than a week, I have only now been able to clear my head enough to make sense.  The fact that my blog has been bubbling on the back burner for so long is one of the reasons that this particular post is coming to the front of my brain.  I am acknowledging that sometimes the important is set aside for  the urgent  and this can cause some (a lot of) angst.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself what is really important?

Continued Professional Development is a necessity in the life of any professional.  Architects, Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants and Teachers are expected to keep up to date with the latest research in their field and be proficient with new techniques.  I am sure it is not only the teachers who find it difficult to keep up with the reading and the workshops in between the administration, lesson planning, teaching and living.  We have so much information available to us these days that simply accessing all of it is challenging enough.  In addition to attendance at workshops, reading textbooks and planning to teach new content, most of us have a blog or twitter account or some other Social Network to check.  These various resources  offer us seemingly endless material for developing our knowledge and skills.  Anyone would be easily overwhelmed at the prospect of staying on top of the growing mountain of information.

I love that there is so much information available to me and that I can usually find something to help me solve the problem at hand with relative ease.  I can use a basic search engine to get broad results from the internet or I can visit some of the websites on my favourite resource list  for something more focused.  It is great to have it all relatively close at hand.  However, there are times, when I can’t find what I really want.  Sometimes the resources I can locate are long and complicated articles (longer than this!) that would require hours of careful reading to see if there is anything close to helpful.  I don’t have time for that.

One of the greatest text types that has been invented in the last 10 years is the Infographic.  These are relatively short texts that include data that is represented in graphs or tables.  They include symbols and images as well as brief explanations.  Flow charts, pie graphs, bar graphs, percentage lists, graphic organisers, colour coding, different fonts, icons and more easily decoded text features make these texts little gems.  If you need a quick overview of a topic or want to see the crux of an issue, an infographic will do the trick.  Here is an example of an infographic that just might help me make my earlier point.

You can see that I dearly love these fabulous texts and you  can probably imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this archive of Teacher Infographics.

 Click here to check it out!  

The menu at the top of the linked page can lead you to other infographics about education issues and pedagogy.  I saw at least 10 infographics that I wanted to study in more detail within a few minutes of scrolling down.  It doesn’t stop there!  You can submit infographics you have created and tag them so they will turn up in one or more of the categories in the menu.  Most of the infographics on the site link back to a blog or website and cite the sources of the information presented.  You can Pin, Tweet, Share on Facebook and link via various other social media so that you have a reference in our own ‘library’ as well as sharing with colleagues.  I am so excited to have found this resource!!

Please click the link to check it out and share the love with your colleagues by using the social media buttons.  We are all in this together and we need to help each other out.

Have you found a great online resource that you are so excited about you want to shout it from the rooftops?  Please share in the comments and if you write a post on your own blog about a resource, ping back to this page so we can all see it!

Happy Reading!

mel lit coach signature