I have only been assigning infographics for about a year, but I am in love and here is why you should teach with infographics too. First, a quick explanation for how I got here. I first assigned infographics for my professional writing students, because I thought it would be a useful form for them to learn and I wanted a digital presentation format for our group learning document assignment. The infographic assignment fit the bill perfectly and did so much more. I now use infographics in my other classes as an alternative to traditional presentation tools (down with Powerpoint!) and I strongly encourage you to think about infographics in your classroom for these three reasons.
Infographics must be visually appealing
For my professional writing students the infographic assignment reinforces the idea that documents must be visually appealing as well as functional. It requires students to think about color, images, and layout as well as text. However, this same attention to the visual appeal can be a tremendous way for all students to spend time learning and reinforcing content. It takes very little time to slap together a Powerpoint, but an infographic requires a lot of time considering the content to make the most optimal choices. Not only will the final product support visual learning, so will the creation of the infographic.
Infographics force careful word crafting
One of the challenges my professional writing students often face is that this is their first class where they are expected to write tight. The majority of my students are English majors with a lot of experience writing for literature or creative writing classes. They have practically been paid by the word up to this point and now I’m asking them to carefully select their language and to cut extraneous words, sentences, paragraphs, you get the idea. The infographic is an important part of this process because there is no room in a successful infographic for one extra word (hyperbole alert). While this is an extra challenge for my professional writing students, let’s be honest. Is there a writer who cannot use some practice with careful word craft?
Infographics require attention to rhetorical context
One of the primary lessons I always strive to instill in my writing students is how rhetorical context drives every part of the writing task. Understanding your audience and what they need are so essential to successful writing and yet this is often a big struggle for most students. An infographic really challenges the creator to consider the audience and purpose as they make their choices.
Using infographics in all my classes, from professional writing to developmental writing, has proven tremendously useful to reinforce important lessons about writing, editing, and rhetorical context. Do you use infographics in your classes?