Tag Archives: Infographic

Five Questions Teachers Should Ask Themselves When Integrating Technology into the Classroom

The following five questions are those I try to take into consideration each time I integrate technology into my lesson plans.  A little hint:  The answer to each question should be yes!5 Tech Questions for Teachers

1.  Do I have a purpose larger than using technology for the sake of using technology?

This question is a biggie.  Technology should not be used simply in order to check off a box or fulfill a requirement.  When integrating technology into a lesson plan, your end goal should not change.  Unless, perhaps, you are a technology teacher, the technology is not the goal.  Technology is a means.  Learning is still your end.  Another way you can ask this question would be:  Does this technology either lead students to critical thinking, help students demonstrate knowledge, or make the learning and working process more efficient?

2.  Have I tried this technology myself?

Please, please let the answer be yes!  You always want to do a test run before introducing students to a new technology.  If possible, try the tool out both from the perspective of the instructor and the students.  Sometimes I like to gather one or two of my teaching peers to act as my “students” before introducing the tool to actual students.

3. Am I willing to have things not go as planned?

It is important that your answer be “yes” here.  Even if you have answered all of the other questions in the affirmative, nothing will guarantee that things will go as planned in the classroom.  Do you have a back up plan?  Do you know how to achieve your goals in a similar but different fashion, if need be?  Is it okay if this takes longer than expected?

4.  Is the input worth the outcome?

Technology is usually pretty great at streamlining a process and making us more efficient.  Some technologies, however, can do really incredible things at the cost of incredible amounts of time or resources.  Make sure you are considering your true learning outcome when deciding if the work and resources required behind the technology is the best way to go about achieving your end.

5. Will this technology respect the security of my students?

The web is a great way to expose students to the wider world around them.  When you test out a new tool, try to ensure that the students, themselves, are not over-exposed.  Use pseudonyms when possible, make sure any location features are deactivated,  and, when using images, do not use pictures of the students, or blur faces if needed.

Side Note:  A few weeks ago I wrote about making my own infographics like the one above.  If this presentation style intrigues you, be sure to check it out!

One More Side Note:  You are welcome to save the infographic for your own use, but please keep the creative commons license below in mind and credit TeacherNextDoor (with a link when possible).  Thank you!

My Latest Tech Tool Experiment: Piktochart and the Value of Infographics

When time allows, and sometimes even when it doesn’t, I like trying out new technology tools for the classroom.  I am the type of technology user I have deemed the tech-experimenter.  I learn through trial-and-error; I work backwards, forwards, and backwards again; I push all the buttons (only occasionally to the dismay of our tech department).

Recently, at the NCTE National Convention back in November, I heard Penny Kittle speak on the importance of adding infographics into our students’ critical reading repertoire, and perhaps even their writing repertoire.  In response, I decided to try my hand at infographic creation and made it the focus of my next tech-experiment.

Romeo and Juliet Characters InfographicAfter looking around at my options, I selected Piktochart as my tool and Romeo and Juliet characters as my subject.  Piktochart has a great drag-and-drop format, plenty of examples, and a great pre-loaded library of templates, backgrounds, fonts, graphics, etc.  It took me about thirty-forty minutes to make the infographic to my left, but I’m sure I will become a little quicker and creative with repeated use.

Next came integrating the graphic into our lesson.  I did not spend forty minutes creating the image just to have them file it away in their notebooks for future reference.  It was a great chance to practice some close reading of a visual.  Inspired by Kittle’s talk, we asked ourselves the following about the infographic:

Why do the following matter:

  1. Color choice (consider backgrounds, text, and graphics)?
  2. Icon/image selection and placement?
  3. Order in which information is presented and arranged?

These questions can be applied to just about any infographic and really help students engage with this unique form of presenting information.  Can you think of any other general questions you might add to my list?  Eventually, I would like students to be able to create their own infographics.  Perhaps in conjunction with a research project?

Also, feel free to save and use my graphic if it suits your needs, but please do not claim it as your own (See Creative Commons note in footer).  Thanks!

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