Monday, December 9, 2013

Seven Essentials of Good Infographic Design

Last week I posted a review of Randy Krum's Cool Infographics then followed-up by posting Five Good Online Tools for Creating Infographics. Consider this a second follow-up to my Cool Infographics book review. In his book Randy Krum goes into much more detail on each of these key elements of good infographic design. These are the elements of good design that he outlines in his chapter about designing infographics. You can get a sample chapter of the book here.

1. Be accurate. It seems obvious, but you will find infographics are not accurate. For example, make sure your pie charts add up to 100%.

2. Tell one story really well. An infographic that tries to do too much ends up not telling a story at all.

3. The 5 second rule. Krum shares that most of the page view duration times are 5-10 seconds for infographics featured on his blog. Create infographics that tell a story quickly.

4. Big fonts are not data visualizations. Krum states, "displaying the number in a large font doesn't make it any easier for the audience to understand."

5. Minimize text. Along the lines of #4 above. This is another tip that seems obvious, yet we see text-heavy infographics all over the web.

6. Eliminate chart legends. If the viewer needs a legend, your infographic's story might not be as clear as it should be.

7. Pick a good topic. Some topics are not as suitable for infographic display as others.

Disclosure: I received a free press copy of the Cool Infographics book. 

Classmint - Create Flashcards with Annotated Images

Classmint is a free online flashcard service. Like other services similar to it, Classmint can be used to create and share sets of flashcards. A couple of aspects of Classmint make it different from some other flashcard services. First, Classmint will read your flashcards to you. Second, in addition to supporting the use of images in your flashcard, Classmint allows you to annotate those images on your flashcards. Learn more about Classmint in the video below.

Applications for Education
As I've said for years, I've never assigned the task of creating flashcards to high school students, yet they just seem to show up with them. Services like Classmint could be useful to students who like to use flashcards as a method of reviewing before a test. The option for including annotated images will be helpful to students studying for exams courses like anatomy and physiology.

Disclosure: Classmint is a financial supporter of Free Technology for Teachers. 

#MyZeitgeist 2013 - PBS News Hour Competition for Teens

PBS News Hour and Meograph are hosting a year-in-review competition for teenage students. The contest asks students to create their 2013 Zeitgeists. Students will use Meograph to combine videos, images, sounds, and maps to tell the story of the year. The winning entry will be featured on the PBS News Hour website, be featured on the YouTube Education website, and will the creator of the winning entry will receive a Nexus 7 tablet.

PBS New Hour offers a complete project outline for teachers and students. Unfortunately, to use Meograph for this competition students will have to sign-in with a Twitter, Facebook, or Google account. That will be a limiting factor for some students.

Applications for Education
If the requirement to use Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to enter this competition is a deterrent to you, you can still use the My Zeitgeist concept to have your students review 2013.

Scrible Releases a New Chrome Extension to Help Students Organize Their Research

Scrible is a free service offering a nice set of tools for highlighting, annotating, and bookmarking webpages. Recently, Scrible released a new Chrome extension that includes tools for highlighting, creating sticky notes, and altering the font on any webpage that you save in your Scrible account. Scrible also offers an option for formatting bibliographies while you bookmark. And to help you organize your favorite parts of articles Scrible allows you to compile your article clippings into one package.

The Scrible Chrome extension notifies you when you’re on a webpage you previously annotated. The Chrome extension will prompt you to load your previous annotations when you visit a page you've previously saved. To help you keep your most research fresh in your mind, Scrible's Chrome extension automatically loads your most recent annotations while you browse the Web.

Applications for Education
Tools like Scrible are excellent for students to use when they're conducting online research. The benefit of using a tool like Scrible is that students can take notes on their bookmarks and bookmark only the parts of a website that they need to reference in their reports. Saving bookmarks in this manner saves time when you go back to visit a site because you'll immediately see what it was that promoted you to bookmark it in the first place.

Students can get a free Scrible account that has double the storage capacity of the standard free account.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Week In Review - The Most Popular Posts

Morrison is tired of desk duty.
Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters where my four-pawed assistants (Max and Morrison) are itching to get outside and play in the cold winter air. Before we go play, I have this week's week in review for you.

This week I started a new session of How To Use Google Drive In School and a new session of Blogging for Teachers and School Leaders. A big thank you to everyone that is participating in these courses. We had a great start this week and I'm looking forward to more great questions in our next meeting.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Few Tools That Make It Easy To Analyze Your Writing
2. Five Good Online Tools for Creating Infographics
3. A Quick Tip for Shooting Better Video With Mobile Phones and Tablets
4. CCSS-Aligned Rubrics for Project Based Learning
5. A Simple Trick to Save You and Your Students Lots of Classroom Time
6. Teaching With ChronoZoom - A Timeline of Almost Everything
7. Video - How to Use Google Books for Research

Would you like to have me visit your school this year?
Click here to learn more about my professional development services.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
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MathDisk provides a great platform for creating interactive math lessons.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is organizing two iPad summits this school year.
Our World's Story is your one-stop online social studies portal for all World, European and United States History courses.

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