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Thursday, April 3, 2014

7 Online Tools for Creating Charts & Diagrams

Through the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page I recently received a request for some suggested online chart creation tools.


Lucidchart is an easy tool to use to create flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams.


Lucidchart offers Google Drive integration through a Chrome web app. If your school uses Google Apps for Education, you can add Lucidchart to your domain. Both of these options make it easy for students to save and share their work online. Lucidchart charges business customers, but makes all of their tools free for teachers and students.

Google Fusion Tables is a neat spreadsheet application that makes it easy to create visualizations of data sets. Fusion Tables can also be used to create visualizations of data set comparisons. At its most basic level Fusion Tables can be used to visualize existing data sets with one click. At a deeper level, Fusion Tables can be used to compare your own data sets and create visualizations of those comparisons. The types of visualizations available include tables, maps, charts, and graphs. As a Social Studies teacher, I really like the map visualization options.

Hohli Online Charts Builder is a nice tool for creating a variety of charts for online display. Using the Hohli Online Charts Builder you can create bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, Venn diagrams, scatter plots, and radar charts. To use create your chart first select the type and size of display that you desire. Then fill in the corresponding form with the information that you want displayed. Your chart will be generated as you enter information so that you can see how each piece of information influences the chart. When you're satisfied with your chart just click on it to save it to your computer or to grab the embed code to use on your blog or website.

Infogr.am is an online tool for creating interactive charts and graphs to use in interactive infographics. There are four basic chart types that you can create on Infogr.am; bar, pie, line, and matrix. Each chart type can be edited to use any spreadsheet information that you want to upload to your Infogr.am account. The information in that spreadsheet will be displayed in your customized chart. When you place your cursor over your completed chart the spreadsheet information will appear in small pop-up window. Your Infogr.am charts can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.

Better World Flux is a free data visualization development tool that was created for the World Bank's Apps for Development Challenge. The purpose of the challenge was to encourage app developers to create products that could be used to highlight the development data hosted by the World BankBetter World Flux allows users to create animated visualizations of development data. To use Better World Flux (no registration required) all you have to do is select a data set from the menu provided and select a country or countries from the menu provided. From there Better World Flux creates an animated data visualization for you. The visualization will change as the years on the timeline at the bottom of the visualization change. This way users can see growth and recession of a statistic over time.

Gapminder is a great tool for creating data visualizations. Gapminder gives users the ability to create graphs of hundreds of demographic and economic indicators. I like Gapminder because it provides a good way for visual learners to see data sets in a context that is significantly different from standard data sets. Gapminder has a page for educators on which they can find thematic animations, graphs, quizzes, model lessons, and a PDF guide to using Gapminder. For teachers working in schools with slow Internet connections or very strict filtering, Gapminder has a desktop application that you can download and install for Mac or Windows computers.

Haiku Deck's web application is a great tool for designing visually-appealing slideshows. The latest update to the Haiku Deck web app includes support for charts and graphs. Now in your Haiku Deck slides you can create bar graphs, pie charts, and stat charts. You can adjust the values in bar graphs by clicking and dragging each column. Pie charts are made by typing percentages. Stat charts are simply captioned columns of statistics.

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