Early in 2015, Creative Freedom discussed the subject of infographics, with Adam Parrish focusing on how useful static infographics can be to a site. Adam wrote: “Graphics may be processed quicker, but it’s harder to communicate abstract concepts with only an image. It’s too open to interpretation, which is why people spend so long talking about paintings at museums. Using a combination of text and images, infographics are able to create visual messages that are reinforced in both directions to maximise potential engagement and fact retention.”
Now, for children at school, the infographic can be the most effective tool in making complex information relatable and less daunting. With its healthy balance of imagery and text, kids can learn everything from history to science a lot quicker than with traditional textbooks. On the subject of visual imagery specifically in the classroom, Haig Kouyoumdjian Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today: “A large body of research indicates that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. The research outcomes on visual learning make complete sense when you consider that our brain is mainly an image processor (much of our sensory cortex is devoted to vision), not a word processor. In fact, the part of the brain used to process words is quite small in comparison to the part that processes visual images. Words are abstract and rather difficult for the brain to retain, whereas visuals are concrete and, as such, more easily remembered.” However, as we have noted previously, incorporating text with images has been, by far, the most effective way to process information, especially for children where it has been long understood they have a great dislike of vagueness.
Many schools today are galvanising the power of infographics, incorporating them into lesson plans and, in some cases, getting students to create them themselves. The latter helps children feel a lot more engaged with the subject, as they are using and increasing their informational, visual and technology literacies. Creative Educator has put together a task for students aged 11 to 13. To create the infographic themselves, the students need to incorporate research, data collection, design and other crucial elements. This task gives children first hand experience in understanding that illustration is more than just decoration, but moreover it stimulates the senses far more than just giving them the task of data collection and research alone.
More and more we are understanding the power of infographics for children in early learning and upwards, as Allison McCartney puts it in her article How To Turn Infographics into Effective Learning Tools: “More than anything, basing a lesson plan around a graphic or using one as an integral part of classroom learning can lead students through a process of guided discovery and set them up for success”. In a collaboration between author Simon Rogers and illustrator Peter Grundy, the pair published several books of infographics aimed at young children, the first two being ‘Infographics: Human Body’ and ‘Infographics: Animal Kingdom’ published in 2014. Grundy, who has been working in the field of infographics since the 70’s said this was his first move into producing infographics for children, explaining to The Guardian: “we teach ourselves to see, my belief is that we are engaged by pictures long before we learn to read and by the time we get to school our visual language is very advanced. So I feel I can be most experimental with a younger audience.”
We are all drawn to something that’s creative, no matter what our age. Children in particularly find the novelty and colourful approach to infographics the most appealing; stimulating their understanding of a subject, and most importantly helping them see the value of a subject.
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