Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easy Infographics and Charts

Infographics seem to be the hottest way to communicate information on the web nowadays. Using an infographic can be a great way to present information in a format that is more appealing and memorable than just using text-based documents. Students and teachers can use infographics as discussion starters or tools to evaluate complex information and relationships. The web magazine and news site Good.is uses infographics to present information and enhance articles on their web site. Good.is even has a section that is dedicated to presenting the infographics that are used on their web site.

What if you want to create your own infographics or charts to present information to students? Or even better, what if you want students to create infographics or charts to synthesize information and demonstrate their evaluation of data and content? In the past, students and teachers have been limited to using markers and paper, or a spreadsheet application, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheet, to create posters or charts to display information visually. The activity of using these traditional tools often takes extra class time and can become a barrier to students' learning, because the focus of learning shifts from the evaluation of information to the activity of creating the chart or poster itself. Infogr.am is aiming to change this.

Infogr.am is a new web site that allows users to easily create charts and will soon expand to include creating visually appealing infographics. Using Infogr.am to create charts requires three things, a device connected to the Internet, a Facebook or Twitter account for log in access, and data. The data-entry interface is easy to use and the generation of charts is automatic.  Infogr.am charts can be embedded into web sites, making it easy for students and teachers to share charts and data visualizations.

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