Back to school: Teacher Talks about Using Infographics in the Classroom [video]

This post is part of our guide to using infographics in education. For more information, check out the guide here.

So, school has started.

Have you finalized your curriculum? Are you ready for your students? What tricks do you have to keep them motivated?

We’ve been thinking of ways of supporting teachers. We love them, and they are the most passionate and affectionate community by far.

We know that trying to incorporate infographics in the classroom can be difficult. So we looked for success stories to share with you.

As a part of our Back To School campaign, we invite Donna Troka, to share her story on how she used Piktochart in her Directed Reading class to visualize data from their community partner – the Lifeline Animal Project.

Donna kindly agreed to make a video talking about her Piktochart experience. Here it is along with examples of her student’s projects mentioned in the video. We’ve also transcribed the interview so you can read it if you’re stuck on low bandwidth.

Donna’s Piktochart experience

Interview with Donna Troka – Transcript

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Hi I am Donna Troka. I teach American Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies; and I am also the Associate director at the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence here at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where did you use your infographics and for what purpose?

(I used it in) a class this spring which was a directive reading, a continuation of a course I taught in the Fall about the connections between humans and dogs. We had a community partner that we worked with – Lifeline Animal Project – and I was really interested in finding ways to take some data that they had gathered about taking over some local county shelters (Fulton and DeKalb County) and making it more accessible to a general public. And so I talked to some students in my class to see if that was of interest to them, showed them some infographics from other shelters and they said they definitely wanted to do it.

How was your experience using the technology and what do you think of your students’ experience using it?

Overall I think it was pretty good. Of course they understood it more quickly than I did because these are technologies that they used their entire lives. And once they got started – I mean they are smart students, they are Seniors and they are kind of go-getters – that helped as well. But in general, both with the use of the videos and familiarizing themselves with Piktochart just over the semester, they were able to really produce some high quality infographics.

What are the results you achieved using Piktochart?

So my students created two infographics. One really focused on looking at the data since Lifeline has taken over at Fulton County Animal Shelter and tried to really tell them about the impact that they had. The other [group] worked on sort of visualizing Lifeline’s philosophy, how they connect animals to people, people to communities. So it really outlines the programs and then talks a little bit about the impact that those programs have.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for other teachers using Piktochart?

Yeah, definitely, I would say if you are going to use Piktochart, first of all, talk to your students about data visualization. Give them a little bit of a theoretical background so they understand what it means to take data and make it visually appealing. I think it’s really important they talk about being concise and really getting your point across in as small space as you can.

I think secondly, I would have students to practice the technology. I’m going to do this in the Fall again and I’m going to have students work on it at the beginning of the semester on something that is really low stakes before they do this kind of higher stakes assignment working with our community partner.

And then lastly, I would say develop a grading rubric so that students would understand what you are looking for and how they can achieve the best grade that is possible.

So why did you use Piktochart?

I talked to a colleague here at Emory in Emory Center for Digital scholarship (his name is Elan Pike) and I told him I wanted to do infographics and he said I should try Piktochart.

So I took a look at it, it seemed pretty easy to use and I like that it had “How-to videos” if you got stuck – and my students could use those videos. And then I also like that they had templates. I felt like that was a good way to get my students started and not be too intimidated by the technology.

What do you think of Donna’s experience? Is it something you could adopt in your own classroom? Share your experience with us! Tag us on Twitter (@Piktochart) or Google+ (+Piktochart)!

Donna is PhD, Associate Director in the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE) and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA). She uses Piktochart.

Lifeline Animal Project infographics made by Donna’s students

We’ll end this post with the infographics created by Donna’s students. Click to enlarge!

This post is part of our guide to using infographics in education. For more information, check out the guide here.

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