Thursday, July 18, 2013

Easel.ly - Infographics Made Easily!

Infographics are a tool I have been using for a few years now in my classroom.  I've written about infographics before here.  I usually use an infographic to present information or to have students use the infographic to gather and obtain facts and data.

Here is an example of an infographic we use in our Health unit on the Circulatory System.

Facts About Blood

Notice how infographics present information with a lot of icons, images, and color.  That is what makes the infographic visually pleasing and draws the reader into the content.  My students also enjoy the fact that the information is presented in small sections or chunks.

To find infographics to use in this way, I usually do a Google image search like this one.

While attending ISTE13, I learned about a site called Easel.ly.  This site is in BETA.  Easel.ly lets a person easily create their own infographic.  I haven't had my 5th graders create their own infographics yet, but after playing with Easel.ly, I believe that this is the tool that would make this possible. 

Here is how we would do it.  First, students would have a topic to study and gather information on.  For my example we could use the National Geographic for Kids website.  Let's imagine that as a class we read a story in our reading series that took place in Australia and that we are using this story to expand and work on conducting short research projects that build knowledge. To do this  students chose to create an infographic on the kangaroo.  
The National Geographic site presents information in an age appropriate way with a reading level that my students can be successful with.  The information is also very factual.

After taking notes and gathering important facts and information, students would then go to the Easel.ly site and choose a template that works with their information. They can then begin putting their facts into the infographic.  They have the option to delete any element on the existing infographic and can even import their own images or icons.

Watch this video introducing Easel.ly.  

Easel.ly does require a user account and password.  The sharing options include to view in a browser, download the image, share a link, or copy the embed code (which cannot be resized and is not conducive to a blog or website). I have sent feedback to Easel.ly to convey that a resizable image would be preferred.

So, back to the kangaroo project.  Students would take the information about the kangaroo and organize it into the infographic using a visual for every piece of information.  There are plenty of objects and shapes to choose from.  Students could also import copyright free images from Flicker.

Click here to see my sample infographic.   Click on the infographic to zoom in.

Here is the downloaded image, but I'm not real impressed with the image quality.



Making infographics would require students to work through the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.  
They would need to analyze and synthesize the information in order to use it in a graphic way.  Students would also need to consider combining ideas to create blocks of information.  I love this kind of higher level thinking.  It is also important to point out that students creating their own infographics is another example of the SAMR Model where the technology is moving from enhancement to redefinition.

Easel.ly is simple enough for elementary students, but is also a great tool for middle or high school students.  I highly recommend giving Easel.ly a try and using infographics with your students.

3 comments:

Janet Halls said...

Your blog and information on Easel.ly are truly inspirational to this student of technology for Teaching English as a Second Language! Thank you for sharing your experiences and ideas. I hope to try this out soon!

Aaron Beaudette said...

Nice work Deb - you seem to care a great deal about your students. It's the most important job in the world!

Do you know if I can embed clickable url in easelly for posting on FB and on my bolg for so that if they want to, they can just click to go to my site?

Deb Norton said...

Hi Aaron. Yes Easel.ly does have the option to post a link to any of the infographics you create, which makes it very easy to share.