visual

Infographics: Seeing Information in a New Light

Let’s be honest. Data can be both dry and uninteresting. Text representations of data can also be complicated and difficult to understand.  In an attempt to make complex data easier to digest, teachers are using infographics as an effective means of delivery. Information + graphics= infographic, a visual representation of information. Not new to media, infographics are commonly used on news broadcasts as well as in various periodicals. National Geographic employs beautiful inforgraphics that allows the reader a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

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Photo Credit: Retrieved from http://edutech4teachers.edublogs.org/

Infographics can effectively help our students conceptualize information. The visual nature of an infographic allows data to be conveyed quickly and efficiently while appealing to the students sense of creativity and design. Not only geared towards older children, educators can utilize infographics in the early elementary classroom as well. Allowing students to create simple infographics to represent concepts and text data can reach the visual learner while fostering 21st century skills in the classroom.

Integrating infographics can be rewarding for both students and educators alike. In order to be effective, educators must guide students in how to read and determine the main idea of the infographic. Guidance in creating an inforgraphic includes how to utilize creation tools and how to establish a general “flow” that will enable readers to grasp the concept. There are many tools to created infographics, but Glogster is most suited for the k-8 classroom. In the web 2.0 family, Glogster edu allows teachers to establish classes and monitor student work. “Glogs” can easily be shared using a variety of channels. Visual.ly can create more complex infographics for secondary students. Both Glogster and Visual.ly have extensive libraries where educators can browse pre-made infographics for lessons.

The uses of infographics are endless. Visual representations of numbers and statistics have emerged in all content areas. Social Studies teachers have turned migration and population data into visual data. Early elementary teachers assist students in creating visuals of concepts or word problems in math.  Let’s be innovative. Our visual students will benefit from our visual teaching.

For more tools to create infographics in the classroom, check out teachthougt’s 46 Tools to Make Infographics in the Classroom.

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Glogster: A New Spin to Your Traditional Poster Project

 

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Poster projects are a popular activity in the classroom.  Aside from being fun to create, students enjoy displaying knowledge in a visual format. Poster projects foster creative thinking while promoting active engagement in the learning process. Designing posters the old-fashioned way can certainly facilitate learning, but web-based tools such as Glogster bring poster making to a new level.

Glogster Edu is a web-based tool that enables the user to create online, multimedia posters complete with links, video, sound, graphics, and text.  These online posters called “glogs” can be  shared through a wide variety of channels and offers educators a wide variety of monitoring options.  Student accounts are easily managed through an educator dashboard.

Glog tips:

  • Allow students ample time to familiarize themselves with the tool. I have found that simple exploratory time in addition to modeling is most effective.
  • Provide students with samples of glogs using Glogster’s Glogpedia. Discuss the different elements and themes.
  • Discuss with students how to find appropriate media files for their Glogs.
  • Glogster is considered a social networking site. Ensure your district allows for the use of  this tool.
  • Develop a rubric for your Glogster project. Ensure students understand what their expected learning outcome is.

Glogster is ideal to integrate 21st century skills into the curriculum.  In addition to nurturing creativity, creating multimedia posters promotes a wide variety of media literacy skills using a collaborative digital environment.

 

 

 

Starting a Biography Project? Consider Adding a Meme.

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Photo Credit: Drew via flickr

 

Technology tools have brought new elements to biography study. Teachers are now utilizing a variety of presentation tools, online timelines, and talking avatars to enhance biography units. No longer limited to a typed report, biographies have now evolved into multimedia classroom presentations.

An interesting addition to your biography unit is the use of a meme.  Allow students to create a meme with the historical figure and a brief quote.  Using this simple graphic can foster essential presentation skills that go beyond reading from a notecard or word for word from a PowerPoint presentation. Students can become well versed presenters by learning  the importance of being knowledgeable about the topic and using visuals as a supplement to the presentation.

Student created biographies tend to provide us with information such as dates, names of family members, and notable accomplishments. Providing simple facts is an adequate starting point, but allowing them to delve into research from a different angle can provide a  fresh perspective, and reveal meaningful information. Beginning with a powerful quote can also serve as an ideal launching point for deeper questions and discussions.

Here is your quick start guide to implementing memes in your classroom:

Do You Know Your Memes? outlines some simple meme building tips for teachers and students.

Create your memes using simple meme generating sites such as quick meme or imgflip. But educators use caution. Previewing these sites is a must to make certain that cataloged memes are suitable for students.  Ensure students stay in the meme generating section of the website and do not allow students to search for memes using a search engine. Many memes are classroom appropriate and many are not.  As with all classroom technology tools, good supervision is essential.

 

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Motivate with Web 2.0

Media Sharing

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and und understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.

3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world context.

​​​​​Smore allows students to design and create professional online flyers by choosing from an array of templates. With Smore, users can embed links, audio, video, pictures and texts into flyers and newsletters and share them instantly.

Easel.ly allows users to quickly create infographics and share visual ideas online. With an expansive library of elements and visual objects, students can personalize infographics of all kinds.

Tip: Infographics are visual representations of data. Information +graphics=Infographic. For a more in depth description of infographics and how to use them in the classroom, watch this Prezi .

Digital Storytelling

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning.

4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

Inklewriter​ is an ideal digital writing tool for writing interactive stories. Inklewriter allows students to develop multiple endings and even touches upon game development. This tool is geared towards the middle school classroom.

My histro​ provides a venue for stories displayed on maps. Users can watch and read thousands of timelines or create an interactive timeline complete with text, video, and pictures. Ideal for collaborative projects, students can easily share their work using a variety of formats. Grades 4-8

Flipsnack ​is an easy to use application used to covert PDF files into a flip book. Upload your PDF file, customize the book, and share.  The online flipbooks are designed to resemble regular print books. Final products are shareable using email or can be embedded.  Grades k-8

Manage and Organize

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful.

2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.

​​Biblionasium​ allows students to set up virtual bookshelf and keep track of what they have read, what they like, and what they plan to read. Students will enjoy connecting with friends to share and recommend their favorite books. Grades 4-8

Litpick​ provides free electronic books to students in grades 4-12. Students take on the role of a book critic, reading books, and developing and posting reviews anonymously.

Padlet is an easy to use virtual bulletin board. Using the idea of a blank piece of paper, you can put whatever you want on your wall by dragging and dropping documents and images from your desktop, embedding links and videos, or simply typing notes on your page. When you are finished posting things to your wall, you will be able to collaborate with others using a unique URL as well as through a variety of social networks.  Grades 4-8

Social Networking and Communications

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.

4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

​With the importance of formative assessments, Socrative​ is an ideal tool to assess students using a variety of different formats. By transforming multiple student devices into response systems, Socrative engages students in real time educational activities while providing immediate feedback. Results can be viewed online in a Google spreadsheet or received via email as an excel file. Grades 1-8.

​Blogging has taken on a new level of collaboration with Quadblogging. Quadblogging connects students with other schools to blog with a purpose. Over the last 12 months 100,000 students have been involved with blogging exchanges from 40 countries. Grades 3-8

Marqueed ​is an easy to use, collaborative, web based program for annotating images. Simply drag and drop images from the web or add them from your computer. Multiple students can annotate an image. Grades 3-8

Tip: Analyze a historical photograph to deepen students’ thinking about an historical event or period. Upload a poem for students to discuss or analyze photos relating to science.

Curriculum and Collaboration

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within a learning community.

3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.

4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.

​​19 pencils is an online platform for locating and sharing educational resources, assignments, and quizzes. With the use of a quality search engine, teachers can explore the 19pencils library for resources specific to their students’ needs. Teachers can also create and add their own content and customize assessments to target specific learning goals. A helpful feature for younger students is the display of each resource as a thumbnail image rather than just the URL. This is a great tool for blended learning and the flipped classroom. Grades k-8.

Icivics was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to help young people of all ages learn about branches of governments, separation of powers, media influences on government, the budget, and the Constitution. In addition to games and web quests, icivics provides lesson plans with supporting resources for teachers. Grades 3-8

This is a favorite for all grade levels! Youngzine is a child focused website that provides articles, images, and videos about world news, science and technology, society and arts, movies, and books.  Students are encouraged to respond to the content and may submit articles, short stories and book reviews. Content is frequently updated and reviewed by Youngzine’s editors. Grades k-8

Content Resources

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information

2.4.4 Develop directions for future investigations.

3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.

Seriously Amazing is a website created by the Smithsonian and it geared towards sparking the spirit of inquiry. Students can explore the diversity of the animal kingdom, natural landscapes, technology, artistic expression, world cultures, space, and history. Grades 3-12

Science NetLinks is a website connecting k-12 teachers, students, and families to STEM resources produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This site includes lesson plans, interactives, and reviewed internet resources. The databases are searchable by grade level, themes, and content area. An afterschool connection collection offers hand on experiments, student activity sheets, online resources, and teacher resources. Grades k-8

Another favorite, TedEd​ allows educators to create and share lessons built around You Tube videos. The embedded lesson creator allows users to find video content, select a video or lesson to be customized, and flip a video by adding questions, notes and content. Grades k-8