Writing is a process. Ask most published writers and they will tell your about their methods to writing and revising. I have yet to meet a writer who sits down at their computer and is able to write an entire book, poem, article, screenplay – whatever, in one shot. Writing requires planning, research, writing, revising, rereading, and then writing some more. Staring at a blank page for many can be daunting, especially students. The challenge to take one’s notes and turn them into a written piece that expresses their ideas. Some might go immediately into generating their story and thinking. Outlines are useful writing tools in the prewriting stage.
Infographics are another tool that can help students brainstorm or represent the information they have gathered. An infographic is a visual image that is used to represent data or information. When students create an infographic they have to synthesize the information they curated and make meaning for others in a visually appealing way. Using tech tools like Canva, Piktochart, or even Google Drawing, students design an infographic that visually communicates the main idea their research. Whereas Google Drawing, students are starting with a blank page, Canva and Piktochart have templates students can choose from to add data and graphs to personalize with their research and information. Having students visually represent their data in an infographic requires students to choose words and images purposefully in order to communicate an idea, prove their thinking, and possibly persuade their viewers.
Like an outline, an infographic strips down content to the main idea and supporting details. Creating infographics, students are required to evaluate, analyze and synthesize their research and present their information is a way that stands out and is easy to read. Looking at different examples of infographics and the ways that information is presented, color, format, structure, and the balance between image and text are elements for students to keep in mind when creating their own infographic.
Students are tapping into the Common Core Standards when creating their own infographic because they are “Translating quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7). Additionally, students are “Making strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations” (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 ).
Before students create their own infographic, it is helpful to look at examples of data visualization to determine the best way to present their own data and research. Similar to different writing formats, students might be consider whether they will present and write about a compare and contrast, cause and effect, to inform or persuade. In addition to Knowledge Constructors, students are also Empowered Learners (ISTE Standards for Students 1C), when creating infographics because they are using technology to demonstrate their learning.