In an era of information overload, we have become ‘grazers’ of content, skimming digital channels for nuggets of information. People consume information on the web differently than traditional media. More than ever, it is importable for individuals and organisations to be able to present ideas in a manner that can be quickly consumed, understood and remembered. Infographics have emerged as one of the most popular and shareable forms of (social) content.
Infographics have gone viral and it’s practically impossible to ignore them.
Working in a multi-disciplinary environment has taught me that communication is key. I found that people have little interest in making an effort to understand a concept that is alien to them, unless you somehow describe it visually, whether t is through an infogaphic, an interactive map or a chart. Visual representations allow you to communicate the ‘essence’ of your concept/idea quickly and clearly.
I don’t teach full time any more, but I tend to do guest lectures here and there and every time I have to prepare my learning material, I always end up getting distracted by searching for some new magic (free) tool that will help me create infographics for my students.
I have put together a list of my favourite tools to help if you want to explore new ways to visualise data and concepts for your students/project collaborators
Creates infographics and interactive online charts.I have used this to death (FREE)
By far my favourite. Prepare to get creative and distracted (FREE)
This is probably the easiest tool to use for infographic virgins! It offers a set of visual themes that you can drag and drop on your canvas and start editing to create your visual idea. (FREE)
This is a new discovery for me, you can try it for free but I additional functionality comes with a cost. It is easy to use so perhaps this could be one that your students could use?
Interactive Maps Tools
It is a tool that allows you to create interactive visualisation with your own data. (FREE)
This tool is a ‘fact tank’ that promotes a fact based world view. It can be used in the classroom to show animated statistics and there are some resources specifically created for teachers. (FREE)
Diagram and timeline tools
Create an interactive, visually engaging timeline in chronological order. Fairly easy to use, web-based tool that I spent hours on creating a timeline for the history of learning environments, for one of my lectures (FREE)
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Addictive. (FREE)
My latest obsession. Padlet is an online interactive wall where you can put anything on it. It is simple but it can be so powerful and useful for collaborative work. Great tool for your students to use for group assignments (FREE)
Hohli is an online charts generator that allows you to quickly create bar graphs, pie charts, line charts, venn diagrams, scatter plots and even radar graphs online (FREE)
This is my favourite tool for inputting data and visualising it. They offer a inforagrphics and data visualisation gallery to browse so you can get inspiration. (FREE)
amCharts Visual Editor
This editor allows you to use amCharts as a web service. This means that all you need to do is to configure the chart and paste the generated HTML code to your HTML page.Nevertheless, I have to admit that this is the one I use the least-purely because it reminds me of Excel (FREE)
Google Chart Tools
If you want to make data more comprehensible, then this is the tool for you. It allows to embed graphs and images (FREE)