Friday, May 8, 2015

Adventures with Infographics

I enjoy creating visual representations. I also obsess over the finished product. The project becomes more of a production for me. Though I enjoy it, it becomes very time-consuming. There comes a point when I just take a deep breath and hit the "share" button.

That said, I found information on the topic of technology coaching and quickly realized that it is not a data-rich subject. I was not going to be able to throw statistics on the screen and write little blurbs that tied the information together. I found a template in Canva that really shouted to me. I like information linear, succinct, and tied up in a quick recap. With some adjustments, the design I chose worked for me.

My infographic working title was "Why hire a technology coach?" which evolved into "Why teachers need a technology coach." The concept of technology (instructional) coaching fascinates me. Much of the literature about integrating technology into classrooms is not encouraging. Many studies show that, once the newness wears off, little improvement in learning takes place. In many instances, the actual device and its functions have been the focus. In order for technology integration to be meaningful, teachers need to be trained to focus on the student outcomes.

I sent my design to a technology teacher (Tina) and an artist (Carl) who each gave me points to look at, both design and content. I also looked at Josh's infographic and saw the link to his works cited. I did not want to add a second page and Canva has font size parameters, so this eased my struggle to fit everything in.

"ISTE Standards: Coaching" was a gold mine of information. I was previously unaware of the varied responsibilites of a good tech coach. A coach will help set goals, lay a strong foundation, provide professional development, give individual feedback, troubleshoot, support teachers, look at data... At first glance it seemed like a tech coach would be indispensible. But why?

The ISTE Conference White Paper, "Technology, Coaching, and Community," really filled in that gaps. The authors cited studies, and the studies had some data behind them. Coaching is one feature of an effective professional development program. PD is critical for teacher growth and system change. I was able to use some of the works cited in this artice to find more anecdotes and information.

Finally, I found a statistic in an article sponsored by Amplify that related to my overall infographic: The WHY. School systems are adding technology as quickly as finances allow, and they are starved for good teacher training. A technology coach would fill the need. The article included an amazing infographic:

Tips for teachers: To make an infographic with lots of data, choose a topic with lots of data. As an infographic novice, I chose a template on an app where I had previously created an account. If I had had a lot of time to play, I would have created something from scratch, but templates are really handy and can be adjusted. 
When first using infographics in the classroom, I would recommend teacher-created infographics or "authentic" (found) infographics for practice with data interpretation. Some infographics are more like reading a comic book than a short story. Personally, I would not assign students an infographic creation project unless (1) the class had worked on interpretation of infographics, (2) there was available data for the project, and (3) there was a very specific rubric for student expectations. Even with high school students, I would specify the number of "numbers" that should appear in the piece.

I was musing that I may create an infographic for my year-end library report. Considering the many hours I spent designing and re-thinking this project, I may just type up a word document.
I was so excited about my classmates' infographics, I decided to try Pictochart. Here is the same information in another format: . I will post it on the G+ forum in a separate post.

1 comment:

  1. Your work shows perseverance in digging deep for the information you were seeking as well as helpful guidance for others