Creating Infographics as Teaching Tools
Update: Easel.ly has now released an iPad version of its product: Go to the App in iTunes
Infographics have been used for centuries to help present data and information in interesting and striking ways, from early diagrams of the rotation of the sun to casualty statistics from the Crimean war in an effort to improve hospital conditions. With the proliferation of the internet and accessible graphic-creating software, infographics have become popular for presenting information on any number of topics in ways that can be shared online. – Scroll down to see the one we created for the liturgical year!
Infographics are especially helpful as educational tools. The ability to display data and information visually and spatially targets a variety of learning styles and may aid in the retention of material. Here are several types of infographics and how they might be used in an academic or church setting (Types and descriptions come from easel.ly).
- List – Supports a claim or argument through a list of steps
- The Fruits of the Spirit
- Claims of a particular doctrine or creed
- Comparative – Compares two things to highlight differences and similarities.
- Compare two different gospel accounts of the same story
- Highlight the causes and differences between the Eastern and Western churches during the Great Schism
- Flowchart – Gives specialized answers to questions through the readers choices
- Depict Robert’s Rules of Order or church policy to determine course of action during a meeting or situation
- The ordination process
- Visual Article – Makes a long text article more visual
- Information about a new project or goal or policy
- Retelling of a Biblical story
- Map – showcase data based on location
- information for local and global mission projects
- historical information about the growth and movement of the church
- Data Visualization – Share information through charts and graphs
- Church annual reports and financial information
- Statistics about the composition of the Bible
- Timeline – Tells a story through a chronological flow
- Show the overarching plot of one of the gospels
- Show development phases of a new project.
- Depict the various movements and figures in the Reformation.
While graphics software like Photoshop will give you the most flexibility to create your own infographics, they are expensive and have a steep learning curve. We’ve been using a free (with pro options) online service called Easelly to make our infographics. Easelly already has tons of templates to use and customize for your own data. When you’re finished, you can print out the graphic as a poster, put it on your website, and share it online.
Here’s one the IRC staff made that’s a timeline of the liturgical year. Notice how the size of the circles corresponds to the length of the period of time.