I Created My First Infographic – and It Tanked!

      My reading and writing class has been enjoying the foray into technology; they went from doubters to believers very quickly. Even those pecking at their keyboards with two fingers, circling as they look for the g, are on board. They are game for anything now; I want to keep them like that.

     Many of my students are illustrators and computer animators; the majority of the class consists of visual learners. I include as many images in my classroom teaching as I can and make my online class offering colourful for visual engagement with mind maps, but all those sketchbooks I see posted on Twitter fill me with envious rage – why can’t I do THAT?

     And then I attended Kim Burrell’s TESL WW’s workshop on infographics, and realized that I don’t have to be creative – I can create an infographic  and make it look like I’m artistic. Armed with ideas and my tongue sticking out the side of my mouth like Ralphie writing about his Red Ryder carbine-action 200 shot range air rifle, I set myself to the task, using my lesson on paraphrasing to construct my first-ever infographic. Excitedly, for 90 minutes, I clicked, dragged, resized, repositioned, uploaded, searched, until I was happy with my colours, layout, information, and cute little paraphrasing activity at the bottom.

     Is it wrong to say I was proud of myself? 

     I saved my infographic as a photo and uploaded it to my online class offering, promising my students that the next day’s lesson would be a wonderful experience.

     Black and white photocopies of solid text would have been more visually appealing. Apologies to my class, who gamely tried to work with me on my “fantastic” creation. Even with their dedicated effort to please me, it didn’t work at all. It wasn’t legible, the colours made text disappear, and enlarging the infographic morphed it into a pixellated smudge.

     What I should have done:

  • Been less ambitious
  • Asked myself what I hoped to achieve with my infographic (Hint: it shouldn’t have been “Impress myself”)
  • Used a simple colour palette with higher contrast
  • Ensured my finished product in its final size would be legibile as an image
  • Listened more carefully to Kim’s workshop and gone with “less is more.”

     Next time, I’ll know better. 



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