Being a keen follower of twitter I was very pleased to spot a couple of tweets by @ictevangelist about using infographics and in class.
I had toyed with using Adobe publisher for creating infographics and written about it in an earlier post, and if you want a vast variety of tools and colours and complete control over the layout, then that is the program for you. It is, however, a very technical program and it does take time to produce results. Unless you have a class with very strong design skills using a program of this nature is probably a step too far.
I enjoy pottering around with tech and trying new programs but I did find Illustrator tricky to get going and it took a long time, great if you have the time, but probably not ideal for a lesson.
I have a Y9 group who I see twice a fortnight, as a result, I do additional tasks with them that support the main teacher. The unit we are doing at the moment is Blood Brothers, building up to an exam later in the year. As it is the start of a new term, I am in the position that the main teacher hasn’t seen the group yet, and I am not covering the text with them, so I needed to think of something linked to the text for the two lessons I have with them this week. The obvious choice was some background research into some of the key elements of the play.
However, the prospect of watching a group copy and paste chunks from wikipedia or some other site, was not what I was looking for. To create a really effective piece of research, I wanted the group to select material carefully and think of ways to present the information in a more interesting way. That is where infographics seemed to fit the bill.
Having read about it on @ictevangelist’s blog, I decided to give Piktochart a go. I was a little concerned as there is sometimes a difference between what I can access as a teacher and what the students can. To cover this eventuality, I gave the group a choice of programs. The topics the students were to look at were: the 1960s – 1980s, Liverpool and Skelmersdale and the theme of fate. I showed the group several examples of infographics from the site 40coolinfographics to give the class a chance to see what they could look like. I then showed them the Piktochart site via the whiteboard and showed them an example I had made that morning. I showed them where the tools were and how to access them, and also how to move items and change colours, then they were off on the task.I hadn’t been aware that there was a limit of 1 image that could be uploaded, but that is really a bonus as it means they have to select their image carefully.
The vast majority of the group decided to try Piktochart, the remainder chose to make a Prezi instead. There was much more focus on the program than on copying chunks of text and some of the pieces in progress are looking pretty good. The group complete their work and printed it out to stick into their English books with their main teacher.
Definitely a real win, they class enjoyed using the program and it was very simple for them to use with minimal support.