Infographics & Data Visualisation

I’ve had some great conversations with teachers over the last little while about visualising & displaying data as a form of visual communication, and we’ve always ended up looking at infographics.  These are absolutely everywhere in the world now, so it’s timely to teach kids to interpret and create them.  Here’s a cracking example:

Also, here’s a list that I’ve accumulated in my bookmarks collection as they’ve popped up on my radar.  I find them shared by interesting people I follow on Twitter, and on a couple of data-focussed forums on Reddit, namely r/infographics, and r/dataisbeautiful.

When it comes to formatting your own or getting the kids to think about it, the underlying skills come down to some principles of design, and of course working with data.  Wolfram Alpha is a brilliant resource for searchable data.  It calls itself “the computational knowledge engine” – basically a search engine for all things quantifiable.  For graphic design, these posters are worth their weight in gold.  They were made by Keri-Lee Beasley from UWCSEA in Singapore.

To get this rolling in the classroom, I’d begin by maintaining focus on data & design, and getting the kids to make one out of poster card.  Give them 3 sheets so they have a limited (read: classy) colour palette to work from, and keep that focus on structure & thinking.  Once they’ve done something they’re really proud of, then I’d crack out the digital tools.  Piktochart is absolute gold.  You can get pretty much everything you need done with a free account, or upgrade (currently $15/year with a .edu email address) to have unlimited access to all the design elements, templates and features.  As I said though, the ceiling on the free account is pretty high.

For simplicity’s sake though, Canva looks like it’s got it where it counts.  The web version and the iPad app seem to be almost identical in the way they work, and they tie together with a free account to sign in to.  This means (in theory – can anyone back this up?) that you should be able to work on the same stuff regardless of which screen the kids pick up.

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