The Future of Infographics for Education
Today’s students are wired from birth, and by the time they reach school age, they’re accustomed to colorful, graphic, entertaining presentations. Enter the infographic. There might be several ways that infographics will play a stronger role in education in the next decade and beyond:
To explain complicated concepts: We’ve all struggled through something in school. Whether it’s the circulatory system of a frog or the causes of Middle East tension, an infinite number of topics can just be tough to understand.
Infographics could be the answer. Maybe you can improve upon the frog diagrams in a biology book with an interactive graphic that more clearly explains the topic. Maybe the social studies book publisher will pick up your timeline of major events in the Middle East.
To fill in gaps left by cash-strapped school districts: Say a teacher is saddled with a textbook from 1985. By creating an up-to-date infographic on her topic or finding one online, a teacher can bring her students the most relevant information.
And even if schools are still using textbooks, expect more and more schools to switch over to online course materials. Those, too, will certainly become a forum for infographic presentation.
To help teach technology skills: From kindergarten through college, students are using technology more frequently. Even very young students are sharing iPads and working on smart boards, interactive boards that allow teachers to show video, access the Internet, and entice students to participate.
These are a great match for infographics. Teachers could show the very latest infographics, perhaps even interacting with the material with the push of a button or the click of a mouse.
To encourage student creativity: Students may also be asked to create their own infographics. The younger generation is swamped by data, and learning how to carefully mine it and synthesize it into a coherent message is a valuable life skill. Do-it-yourself websites like those discussed elsewhere in the book make it easy for teachers to assign infographic projects to their students.
To aid in online learning: Online learning is likely to become even hotter, with cyber charter schools and “massive open online courses” continuing to gain popularity. When students are learning online, they are primed to take advantage of the visual appeal and quick impact of a good infographic.