9 Infographic Tools For Data Visualization in the Classroom

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Information overload is a common complaint from young people, especially now that knowledge is easier to access and share over online networks. Being able to summarize, condense and visualize information meaningfully is an important skill for any student. Infographics have become a hugely popular tool for data visualization, and can now be created by both educators and students using online tools.

If you’re hoping to incorporate infographics into your lessons, or to encourage your students to learn to communicate information visually, we’ve come to the rescue! These ten web-based and iOS apps will help you integrate infographics into a host of different lessons.

Piktochart

This online application features a host of “themes,” or templates, for users to choose from and an intuitive menu that allows for easy use.  Infographics created in this app can be downloaded as JPEGs or PNGs, making them versatile for inclusion anywhere that images can be used. The only potential downfall of this app is its slow saving and almost overwhelming number of options.

Easel.ly

This infographic creation app is very similar to Piktochart, though it features more themes (or vhemes, in Easel.ly speak) to choose from. The creation and editing process is fairly intuitive, making it an easy app for students who are unfamiliar with infographics in general. Unlike Piktochart, this app doesn’t currently have an option for exporting from the app, perhaps because it is in beta testing online. This may not matter for students who plan to use a project and computer for support during an oral presentation.

Infogr.am

Unlike other infographic creation apps, Infogr.am offers templates for all types of charts, including word clouds, tree maps, and other options for qualitative rather than quantitative data. The free version doesn’t offer a lot of variety in available template options, but the various types of infographic options allow for easier integration of visuals into classes such as humanities.

Vizualize.me

Vizualize.me is a unique infographic app that allows users to create a visual resume. While perhaps not particularly focused on content students will be learning in class, Vizualize.me could be quite helpful in business classes or in teaching students about the engaging and unique ways infographics are being used in the business world. Student-created visual resumes could make beautiful additions to personal webpages as well.

Many Eyes

Created by IBM, this app focuses on teaching the art of choosing the right infographic for the particular data set. While definitely not as user friendly or intuitive as the other infographic apps available, one thing that Many Eyes does is offer other users’ data sets to visitors. If you’re looking for information to mine for a lesson, Many Eyes has many options and could be used to teach what types of data work well for infographics and what types do not.

Dipity

Dipity is a unique and fun way to visually track online trends. Each visual takes the form of a timeline, good for applying knowledge about linear infographics, and provides interesting ways of examining internet content.  This app would be great for media classes or for aggregating information focused on a particular online topic.

Tagxedo

Tagxedo creates word clouds from speeches, letters, or other pieces of writing, offering a really engaging way to examine rhetoric and other stylistic elements. This app offers the opportunity for humanities classes to visually express information.

Infotacular

This app utilizes cloud storage to create a gallery of images that can be used as a portfolio. Businesses love this app for trade shows and presentations, but the same principle can work beautifully for students working on a long research project. Creating a portfolio of infographic images (created in another infographic creation app) will allow those students to present information without worrying about having to open multiple browser tabs, and many visuals will facilitate the clear communication of a student’s point.

Grafio Lite

Grafio allows users to create diagrams, graphs, and other designs by drawing directly on their iOS device. Never fear—those “primitive” shapes are straightened and perfected, or you can use the library of shapes provided by the app. It also has some very cool features: images from your photo album can be added as shapes and audio notes can be recorded and attached to shapes that you create. Grafio offers a user-friendly way for students to create unique graphs and diagrams, perhaps for inclusion in other infographics.

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